You've got a party bus/limo/driver for the wedding party and a vintage Rolls Royce ready for a photo-op worthy getaway, but have you thought about how your guests will get to and from the day's events? Some wedding venues are easy—especially if your ceremony and reception is at one location with ample on-site parking, or you're getting married in a destination that has plenty of options for taxis or car services readily available. But if your venue is remote, you don't have space for everyone to park, or you're planning a destination wedding where guests won't likely be driving, it's up to the two of you to help make sure your guests can get there—or at least give them the option of a wedding shuttle service. Concerned about the costs and logistics about providing transportation for your wedding guests? Our experts are here to help you create a master plan.
When Is It Necessary to Provide Transportation?
Don't write off transportation for your guests before you've really considered it—especially if you're having a destination wedding. Asking your guests to pay for transportation to get to your ceremony and reception site (and back to the hotel again later) is a lot to ask when you consider the expense of travel and accommodations that they've already covered on their own. If your wedding is at a location where taxis, car services, or other public transportation simply isn't available (or isn't reliable), transportation can cause extra headaches—especially for guests who might not be familiar with the area—and may result in late arrivals. And don’t forget to think about parking. If designated parking isn't available at your venue or is limited (or expensive), that’s going to be a burden for your guests. In any of these instances, it’s worthwhile to look into booking a shuttle service for your wedding guests to give them a transportation option that ensures everyone arrives on time without issue—and will also help everyone to get home safe.
How Should We Handle the Logistics?
If you have a room block at one or more hotels in the area, make these the pick-up and drop-off points for your wedding guest shuttle—which could be as large as a full-size bus, a minibus, a 16-passenger van or larger SUV that could make multiple trips, depending on what you think you'll need. Handing out welcome bags? Make sure to include a printed copy of the schedule. And don’t forget to tell guests when shuttles will be available to depart from the reception, too. If you have guests who are older or who have hired babysitters for the evening, they’ll appreciate knowing when they’ll be able to head home, as needed. For guests who choose to stay at other hotels, let them know if they can drive on their own, or if they should park at the shuttle pick-up locations to join the rest of your guests for the ride.
Once you’ve finalized the transportation schedule, be sure to pass along the information to your guests: Add the details to your wedding website, letting guests know from where and when the shuttles will depart, and ask the concierge at the hotel to post a sign in the lobby, as well.
Customize the Experience
So the wedding guest shuttle is booked—but let's not forget, this isn't some airport transfer to pick up your rental car! Keep the energy high and set the tone for the celebrations to come with a few little surprises for your guests, which could include everything from a curated wedding day playlist (double-check with your shuttle company whether you'd be able to have the driver stream a digital playlist or if you should burn it onto a CD) to bottled water, sodas, and snacks. If your shuttle or bus company allows it, you could even have a cooler of beers, cans of rosé, or thermoses filled with your signature cocktail as options for guests to sip.
What If We Can’t Afford a Shuttle?
If a wedding guest shuttle service simply isn’t in your budget, it’s still important to consider how your guests will get to and from your wedding. Provide driving directions and estimated drive times, as well as information about local taxi services and car services, too. (One tip: If you and your significant other already use apps like Uber or Lyft, there should be a promo code in your account that would give your wedding guests who are new users a discounted or free first ride). And when it comes to parking, let your guests know if self parking or valet parking is available at the venue or nearby and exactly what it entails, in terms of costs. Check with your venue as you may be able to negotiate a discounted rate for valet services—or build the cost into your overall wedding budget, so your guests can use valet parking for free. Is space limited? Encourage car-pooling among friends and family members. To make sure your guests all get home safe, consider putting out a sign with local taxi company numbers on the bar and near the exit so its easy for any guests who have had one too many glasses of champagne to call for a ride.