Photo: Trent Bailey Photography
No wedding is immune from a little transportation (unless, of course, you've gone the destination wedding route and have all of your guests holed up at a cozy tropical getaway), and offering a ride to your guests is becoming more and more common. But when does a much-appreciated gesture turn into way too much time driving around? Our experts let you know when time in the car starts to cut into time at your wedding — and how to avoid it.
Booking shuttles to help your guests get from the hotel to your wedding and back isn't just a nice thought, it's a great way to ensure that they feel free to enjoy themselves and make sure everyone gets home safely. And if you're having the ceremony and reception in two different venues, it helps avoid the hassle of parking, driving, then parking again. If you're celebrating at a single venue, but it's remote or doesn't have much parking, guests may be spending 45 minutes in transit each way, but they'll be happy to hop in a shuttle to avoid confusing directions and limited (or unavailable) parking situations.
An important thing to remember when you're arranging any sort of transportation is timing. Let's say you've got 250 guests and have booked three 38-passenger shuttles to take them from their hotel to the ceremony, the ceremony to the reception, and then home at the end of the night. Those three buses will need to make at least 7 trips to pick everyone up, which turns a quick 10-minute drive from one venue to the next into almost an hour wait for the guests on the last bus. If the travel time is unavoidable, be sure to start the shuttles long enough before the ceremony to get all the guests there, and schedule at least an hour and a half for cocktails so all of your guests arrive before the reception. Consider having the wedding party take the last shuttle after you've taken photos at your ceremony venue.
But what if your guests are staying in hotels downtown, your ceremony is 20 minutes away at your family church, and the reception is at the country club two towns over? You're asking your guests to spend a lot of time in the car. Before you sign any contracts, do the drive yourself. If it feels like you've schlepped halfway across the county, you might want to look into either closer hotels, a venue that can host both your ceremony and your reception, or a reception venue that's not quite so far. After all, guests are gathering to celebrate with you, not to try to snag the seat next to you on the bus!