Traveling In Style: Transportation

Unless we perfect transporter technology very soon, how everyone is going to get around on the day of the wedding should cross your mind at some point.  At the very least, you need to consider how you and your spouse-to-be will get around.  Some people drive their own vehicles, some rent a car, some rent a full-blown limo.  There’s no one right way to do it, so it really is your call.  Consider your style, your budget, and who all you need to be responsible for.

There are 3 transportation segments to consider:

  1. Getting to the ceremony
  2. Leaving the ceremony/getting to the reception
  3. Leaving the reception

If your ceremony and reception are in the same place, you only have to worry about 2!  Isn’t that exciting?  I’m going to continue this post under the assumption that they’re in different places (since that’s our case), so there will be parts of this that you can ignore if you fall into that special group.

There are a multitude of ways to transport everyone where they need to be, and there’s varying levels of “everyone”.  Some couples take it upon themselves to provide transportation to the guests, where as some will only make plans for just themselves.  Providing your guests some help is greatly appreciated, but is definitely in no way required.  If you have the budget, go for it.  Otherwise, no one is going to talk ill of you behind your back over it.

The thing to keep in mind is that each decision directly affects the others, so it all turns into this interconnecting web of vehicles and rides.  Your first concern should be you, the couple.  It’s kind of hard to have a wedding without the main attraction.  Beyond that, the order you should take care of people in is:

  1. Adult members of the bridal party
  2. Child members of the bridal party (I separate them out because their parents are ultimately responsible for them, and it’s not like you’d arrange for one of your bridesmaids to play babysitter unless it’s family and they are actually playing babysitter)
  3. Your parents
  4. Rest of your guests

I should point out that if you reach a point where you’d be arranging transportation for child members of the bridal party, you need to plan on including their parents.  You should not separate them.  By child I mean someone in a flower girl or ring bearer type role.  If they’re a teenager and old enough to be a junior bridesmaid or groomsmen, they should be old enough to be included with the rest of the bridal party.

Your Guests

This is at the bottom of the list as most guests recognize that they will be responsible for getting themselves where they should be.  If you have the funds (or some hotels even offer it for free if you get a certain number of rooms booked), it is a nice gesture to provide a shuttle between the hotel and the reception venue.  This allows guests the option of being able to really take advantage of your bar package, so it’s a good option if you’re a party type of crowd.  If you happen to have the funds to be able to provide transportation to the ceremony too, more power to you.  If you have to choose one or the other, go for the reception.  Just remember that in either case, you need to provide transportation both ways.  It does no good if your guests either are left abandoned at the venue or have to abandon their vehicles at the venue.  If it’s not in your budget to provide transportation anywhere (which is totally fine), put out a sign with the phone numbers for some local (and reputable) cab companies.

Your Parents

Your parents shouldn’t really be traveling with your bridal party for the most part, partially because of the different places they need to be at different times, and partly just because it’s usually an incredibly different crowd.  Most couple’s parents usually take care of themselves, but it’s not uncommon for them to be chauffeured around.  If you’re looking for an option to get them to the ceremony, leave the ceremony/go to the reception, or home at the end of the night, a pretty usual option is to rent a town car.  Most limo rental companies have an option for short-term or one-way transportation in a smaller vehicle.  Again, not necessary or expected, and not even all that common, but if you want to set something up for your parents go for it.

Your Bridal Party

Since the bridal party is such a big part of your day, if you have the funds, it is definitely recommended you provide some transportation for them, even for a part of the day.  It is relatively common for the bride and groom to expect the BP members to get themselves to the ceremony and get themselves home from the reception, but to provide transportation such as a limo for the in between.  At the very least, talk to all of your members to make sure they have a plan.  Suggest some of them carpool, and put them in touch with each other if necessary.  Make sure everyone knows where they should be when, and that they have a plan for getting everywhere.

If you have children in the bridal party, you need to include their parents in the conversation.  Do not separate children from their parents!  If the kids only need to make it to the ceremony and the reception (where they should be seated with their parents or at a table with other kids), it is perfectly fine to expect the parents take care of getting their kids there, even if you’re providing transportation for the other bridal party members.  If you would like to provide a ride to your child attendants, you must also accommodate the parents (so as to not violate the “don’t separate them” rule).  The parents may opt to drive separately, or they may even opt to keep their kids with them and drive separately, and that is their choice, but you need to at least make it an option.

If you are taking pictures between the ceremony and reception at a secondary location (i.e. not at your ceremony or reception venues) and expect your bridal party to be a part of them, you really should try to either rent a limo or organize a carpool to make sure everyone ends up at each place.  Of course, you are more than welcome to provide them transportation even if they aren’t going to be a part of your pictures.

Yourselves

Obviously not much else is going to happen throughout the day if you guys aren’t around!  Your first order of business (nevermind the fact that even though it should be first I definitely wrote it last) is to figure out where the two of you need to be, when you need to be there, where you’ll be coming from, and how the heck you’re going to pull it off.  This is where the widest range of ride options exists.  You can drive yourselves, ride with your parents, ride with your bridal party, rent a car, borrow a car, get a limo, ride a horse, literally anything.  Remember to not only look at each part of the day, but keep in mind what you think you  might do with your bridal party and parents.  Some people opt to ride with their parents or their bridal party, some will go by themselves.  Some couples want to be alone between the ceremony and reception, and others arrange for a limo and want to make it a party with everyone.

Personally

I am getting ready with my bridesmaids, and Tim is getting ready with his groomsmen.  Before we go do hair and makeup, we’re adventuring to the reception venue to drop off one of our cars (and the groomsmen are doing the same) so we have the right number of seats to get home at the end of the night.  We’re carpooling with our respective sides of the bridal party, and our parents are driving themselves, to the ceremony.  After the ceremony we’ve rented a party bus for ourselves, our bridesmaids and groomsmen, and their dates.  At the end of the night, we’re going to pile into the cars we left and our parents’ vehicles to be taken downtown, since that’s where we’re all staying.  We were originally thinking we might offer a shuttle to the guests between the hotels and the reception venue, but the logistics were ridiculous…

Are you doing anything special for yourselves or anyone else as far as transportation goes?  I’d love to hear about it!

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Posted on March 29, 2012, in Budget, Ceremony, Misc. Topics (Wedding), Reception, Wedding Planning Isn't For Sissies and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Why did you have to remind me of the logistical nightmare awaiting? I have no idea even where anyone is going to get ready, though I’m pretty sure I’m going to end up putting on my dress in a hay loft (hey, it’s a nice hay loft). At least getting home shouldn’t be too big of a deal, since we’re just going back to my parents’ house (we decided we really don’t need a hotel room for the night). Of course, figuring out how to get us back there without someone ending up with a DUI may be a little tricky.

  2. Whew…. at least we fall into the special category as our reception is in the same place as the ceremony. We realized early on that we would not have enough money to rent a shuttle to bring guests to the wedding but we were also really worried about guests driving back from the venue because it is up this tiny road. So we decided that we’re not having much alcohol at the wedding (enough for the toast obviously) so that people can get down the road safely and then we will have alcohol at the hotel after the reception. We still need to figure out how to get the bridal party there. Cobalt will be staying with one of his groomsmen the night before the wedding but I will be at home. Perhaps we can just carpool – all the groomsmen in 1 car and all the bridesmaids in another since, like you guys, I’m getting ready with my girls and Cobalt’s getting ready with his guys…. I love that you guys got a party bus for you and your bridal party and their dates. I think that will be really special for everyone! 😀

    • Lucky! I wish we could have had it all in the same place, that would have been ideal.

      I never would have thought of doing a party bus before, but a friend who got married a while ago had one for all of us, and it was kind of a blast. Bonus: no sliding in and out like in a limo!

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