Wedding Transportation 101

How are you and your guests going to travel from point A to point B on your big day? This guide has the 411 on wedding transportation.

By Emily Forrest

Wedding Transportation 101
Photo by Summerour Studio

The First Look ✨

You’ve taken your engagement photos, hired a wedding planner, and booked your dream ceremony and reception venue. Everything is starting to come together. However, there’s one looming topic you need to tackle: wedding transportation. How are you and your guests going to travel from point A to point B on your big day?

The logistics of wedding transportation can get a little complicated. Luckily, with the right plan, you can make sure it all goes smoothly.

To help you tackle this tricky part of wedding planning, we’ll break down the following topics below:

Wedding Transportation Etiquette

Before you book a fleet of limousines for everyone on your guest list, you should know what’s expected of you. You (and your budget) will be happy to learn that you’re not expected to arrange transportation for all of your guests. However, you may want to organize rides for some guests, like those flying in from out of town.

What About Your Bridal Party and Family?

With that being said, many couples choose to arrange transportation for their inner circle, including their:

  • Bridal party
  • Parents
  • Grandparents

Booking a professional car service or limousine for these special guests can help you get them to your wedding venue on time. Arranging their transportation will also make them feel like VIPs on your big day.

Even if you don’t book cars for your inner circle, you should create a transportation plan for you and your soon-to-be spouse at the very least. By locking down transportation ahead of time, you’ll have one less thing to worry about on the day of your wedding.

Types of Wedding Transportation

There are many wedding transportation options you can choose from, depending on your budget and preferences. Each one has benefits and drawbacks:

  • Personal Vehicles: The most common way guests get to a wedding is by driving themselves. It’s perfectly acceptable to expect your guests to use this option. It’s affordable, reliable, and doesn’t require much planning on your part.

Just keep in mind that your venue may have a hard time accommodating a large influx of cars. Guests who drive themselves may also face the predicament of being unable to drive after indulging in a few drinks throughout the night.

  • Uber, Lyft, and Taxis: Rideshare apps and taxi services are both convenient modes of wedding transportation. They solve the problem of parking accommodations, as well as provide a safe alternative for those who choose to drink at your wedding. Best of all, they’re much more affordable than a chartered car or shuttle service.

The viability of these transportation options depends on the cell service and driver availability in your area though. If your venue doesn’t have reliable cell service, you may not be able to order an Uber or call a taxi. And if these driving services are limited in your city or in high demand on your wedding day, it may be hard to get a ride when you need one.

  • Hotel Shuttle Services: If you’ve booked a hotel room block for your out-of-town guests, find out if your hotel offers a complimentary shuttle service.

  • Chartered Wedding Transportation: Chartered transportation companies can set you up with a professional driver and a vehicle of your choosing, whether you want a car, limousine, shuttle, or party bus. Most importantly, these companies are well-versed in working with wedding parties—they pride themselves on providing exceptional service (which can be hit or miss with taxi and rideshare drivers).

However, this professionalism comes at a cost—chartered transportation can be quite pricey. You’ll also have to adhere to the constraints of your car company’s contract. For example, some car companies require you to book them for a minimum of three hours, even if you only need one or two hours of service.

But if your budget allows for it, a professional driving service may be a great option for you and your bridal party. Not only will you get to enjoy the luxury of a wedding limo or party bus on your special day, but you can also rest easy knowing that you won’t need to wait around for a Lyft, Uber, or taxi to show up on time.

  • An Epic Getaway Car: Lastly, you and your future spouse may want to book a unique form of transportation for your grand exit. Some creative getaway options include a:

  • Sports car

  • Antique car
  • Horse-drawn carriage
  • Trolley
  • Golf cart
  • Vintage truck
  • Vespa
  • Pedicab
  • Rowboat
  • Duffy boat
  • Sailboat
  • Limousine
  • Helicopter

By choosing a getaway vehicle that suits your wedding theme and decorating it accordingly, you’ll leave your guests with a wedding finale they’ll never forget.

How to Choose the Right Type of Transportation for Your Wedding

As you can see, there’s a host of wedding transportation options you can choose from. So, which one is right for your wedding? You can narrow down your list of transportation options by considering these factors:

#1 Your Wedding Venue

Wedding transportation is all about getting from point A to point B safely, efficiently, and on time. Thus, point B (your wedding venue) has a notable impact on which transportation options you can choose from.

As you consider your transportation options, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does Your Wedding Venue Require Transportation? If point A and point B are the same place, you’re in luck! Arranging transportation may be unnecessary. For example, maybe you’re hosting your wedding ceremony and reception at the same hotel that you and your out-of-town guests are staying in.
  • Is Your Ceremony and Reception at the Same Venue? Even if your wedding takes place elsewhere, your transportation requirements will be much simpler if your ceremony and reception are at the same place. You can cut out that midday trip altogether.

If your wedding features two different unique wedding venues, you may want to arrange a shuttle service to make things easier on your guests, especially if the venues are more than 30 minutes apart from one another.

Taxis, Ubers, and Lyfts can get very costly at these distances—you probably don’t want to put that financial burden on your guests.

  • Does Your Venue Have Ample Parking? If parking is limited at your venue, a large portion of your guest list may need to get dropped off and picked back up. In this case, you should let them know ahead of time to arrange a taxi, order a rideshare car, or carpool with other guests. You can also provide a shuttle service for them.

Even if your venue has an abundance of parking, it may be located far away from your ceremony or reception site. If so, find out if your venue can offer a valet service for guests who aren’t up for a long walk.

  • Does Your Venue Allow for Overnight Parking? Due to the celebratory nature of weddings, many of your guests may indulge in Champagne and cocktails as they dance the night away. In turn, they may need to leave their cars at your venue overnight. Find out if your venue allows this.

Along the same lines, it’s important to have safe transportation options readily available for anyone who can’t drive themselves home, whether that’s a shuttle service, another guest they can carpool with, or a rideshare or taxi service. The last thing you want is a tragic accident happening on your wedding day.

  • Does Your Venue Have Reliable Cell Phone Service? While rideshare services allow you to order safe transportation in a flash, they require cell service. If your venue doesn’t have great reception, you should let your guests know beforehand. This way, they come up with alternative transportation arrangements in advance.

  • Is Your Venue in a Remote Location? If your venue is hard to find or located in the middle of nowhere, you may want to provide transportation for your guests. In turn, you won’t need to worry about them getting lost, losing cell service, and missing out on the festivities.

  • When it comes to wedding transportation, there are a lot of venue-related questions to consider. Chances are, your guests will be curious about this information, too. At Zola, we make it easy to share all of your transportation details with your guests. You can feature them on your wedding website or share them in a beautiful enclosure card.

#2 Your Guests

Next, your guest list plays a notable role in the type of wedding transportation you’ll require. Review your guest list and ask yourself:

  • Are a Large Number of Wedding Guests Flying In? If you have a lot of loved ones flying in to attend your wedding, they probably won’t have cars. Since they’re making the trek to celebrate your love, you may want to return the favor and cover transportation for them, whether that means arranging a hotel shuttle or connecting them with local guests they can carpool with.

Another great option you can offer your guests is a rideshare discount. Uber and Lyft often allow you to give your guests a special event discount code.

On the flip side, if most of your wedding guests live nearby, know the area well, and have their own cars, you can let them figure out transportation on their own—guilt-free.

  • Will Most of Your Guests Stay Until the End of the Night? Many of your guests may want to enjoy the festivities until the final hours. Other guests may head home after all of the major reception events, such as the first dance, dinner, and cake-cutting.

If your guests are handling their own transportation, they can leave whenever they want. However, if you’re providing the rides home, you may need to have a shuttle or car service waiting on standby throughout the night.

  • How Many Guests Do You Expect? The larger your wedding guest list is, the harder and costlier it can be to provide transportation for everyone.

One way to mitigate your transportation burden is to have your guests indicate on their RSVP if they need their transportation covered. This way, you’ll know exactly how many people you need to arrange rides for. It may be a much smaller number than you thought.

At Zola, our wedding website builder makes collecting RSVP responses a breeze. Your guests can submit directly through your wedding website, including everything from transportation preferences to plus-one details, meal choices, and dietary restrictions. Zola will automatically track these responses through the wedding guest list planner, so you can reference them throughout the wedding planning process.

#3 Your Budget

Finally, you need to factor in your budget.

In a perfect world, you can rent out a luxury party bus for all of your guests with an en-route DJ and endless buckets of Veuve Clicquot. However, most couples’ budgets don’t have room for that.

In 2019, the average cost of wedding transportation was $800. The total cost for your wedding transportation will depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • The Type of Transportation Services You Use: As we mentioned before, relying on personal vehicles, rideshare services, and taxis is the cheapest option.

If you decide to use a professional driving service, pricing varies from company to company. It’s important to review each company’s wedding transportation package closely. Keep in mind that some companies advertise low hourly rates, only to tag on a ton of service fees and gas fees after the fact.

You can estimate the final cost of a professional driving service by reviewing their contract and paying close attention to the:

  • Number of vehicles provided
  • Amount of time you have access to these vehicles
  • Service, gas, and overtime fees
  • Deposit amount
  • Gratuity amount
  • Cancellation and refund policies

  • The Number of Guests You’re Transporting: If you can get away with providing transportation for just you and your wedding party, your budget will thank you.

  • Travel Time and Distance: If your venues are far apart from each other or the hotel you’ve booked, transportation costs can add up quickly. You’ll have to pay for more time, miles, and gas than you would if you have a shorter drive.

  • The Season: During the peak wedding seasons of summer and fall, many wedding services cost more. Wedding transportation is no exception, especially if you try to book last minute.

How to Save Money on Wedding Transportation

When it comes to your wedding budget, transportation is one of the easiest places to cut costs.

To save money on transportation, you can:

  • Let your guests arrange their own rides (from carpooling, to ridesharing, to driving themselves, they’ll have plenty of options).

  • Find out if any of your family members or friends would be willing to volunteer as designated drivers. You may be able to put together a fleet of drivers at no cost.

  • Book any professional wedding transportation services well in advance. Consider using the same company for your bachelor and bachelorette party and rehearsal dinner transportation. By bundling these packages together, you may be able to get a better deal on them.

Tips and Tricks for a Seamless Wedding Transportation Experience

Here are some final tips and tricks to ensure your wedding transportation goes smoothly on your special day:

#1 Organize Your Transportation in Advance

Limousines, town cars, party buses, and shuttles book up quickly, especially during peak wedding season. School graduation and prom season may also increase the demand for these services.

To make sure you get the type of vehicle you want, research and book your transportation sooner than later—at least three to six months before your wedding date.

If you want to use a special form of transportation, like a trolley or a horse-drawn carriage, you may need to book even earlier.

#2 Pad Travel Time

Many things can set back your transportation schedule, including:

  • Unexpected traffic
  • Bad weather
  • Your mom forgetting her phone at the hotel

To prevent these mishaps from stressing you out on your big day, make sure to pad your travel time by at least 20 to 30 minutes.

#3 Choose Spacious Vehicles

Most of your guests will be wearing their finest attire, which can take up more space than casual clothes. The last thing your guests want is to be squished together in a small vehicle.

To prevent this from happening, choose vehicles that offer some breathing room. You may even want to leave a few seats open. This will allow your guests to travel comfortably and in style.

#4 Create a Shuttle Call Sheet

If you hire a shuttle service on your wedding day, give your driver a call sheet with the names of guests who will be riding along, complete with their pick-up and drop-off addresses. This will ensure no one gets left behind.

#5 Don’t Forget Your Photographer

If you want some dazzling paparazzi shots as you journey to the altar, make sure to reserve a seat for your photographer.

#6 Don’t Forget About Gifts and Decorations

Are your guests bringing gifts to the wedding venue? Do you have to break down any decorations and bring them home at the end of the night? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, make sure you choose some type of getaway transportation that can fit everything you need to bring with you, along with your and your spouse’s overnight bags.

#7 Include Transportation Details on Your Wedding Website

Whether or not you’re arranging transportation for your guests, you should let them know exactly what to expect. You can use your wedding website to communicate the:

  • Transportation plan
  • Pick-up and drop-off locations
  • Pick-up and drop-off times
  • Parking information
  • Rideshare discount codes (if you have any)

At Zola, you can design a stunning wedding website in a few easy steps. All you have to do is choose a template, upload your photos, and add content. Best of all, our beautiful website themes have wedding invitations, save the dates, and enclosure cards to match. As a result, you can share a cohesive suite of wedding materials that set the tone for your big day.

Zola: Transporting You to Your Wedding Day in Style

Every wedding is unique. Thus, the right transportation for your wedding depends on your preferences and budget. You can arrange every little detail, let your guests figure it out on their own, or meet somewhere in between.

The one thing that you must do is communicate your transportation plan with your guests ahead of time. That’s where Zola can help.

From our wedding websites to our beautiful enclosure cards, we have all of the tools you need to share your transportation details in style. Building a beautiful wedding website is simple—and free. Choose from more than 250 wedding website designs to get started. Then, make it unique to you and yours, add all your transportation, meal, dress code, and plus-one details, and — voila! — all that’s left is the big moment.

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