Planning the transportation logistics for your wedding day can be tricky – who are you responsible for? Do you need to provide transportation for all the guests? What about the bridal party? I know all these questions and hundreds more clouded my mind while figuring out the transportation details for my own wedding. The good news is that with some planning and know-how, you will get everybody that’s anybody to your wedding safely and on time.
Here’s a breakdown of recommendations for all the wedding transportation you need for the big day...
BRIDE AND GROOM
More times than most, the bride and groom are not together on the wedding day until the first look or when the bride is walking down the aisle at the ceremony.
The couple typically will ride along with the transportation that is provided for the respective parts of the bridal party. Otherwise, separate private cars need to be arranged to pick up the bride and groom at their respective locations, or a family member or friend can be put in charge of getting each of them to the ceremony.
Post-ceremony, the bride and groom may opt for a private getaway car for just the two of them, or they can hire a dream ride to hold the entire bridal party for a fun celebration on the way to the reception.
If the reception is separate from your sleeping accommodations, it’s up to you and your new spouse (!) to decide how you want to get back after the reception. If you’re an easy-going couple, you may opt to hop onto the shuttle that your bridal party and guests are taking to the hotel. If you’d rather have a big sendoff, a vintage car for two or town car can be a good choice and will make for a good photo op. If money is an issue, there’s never shame in asking to catch a ride back with parents or family members – that’s what my husband and I did at our wedding! You and your new spouse most likely will be at the reception site later than the guests to help clean up anyways.
If you’re leaving for your honeymoon right after your wedding – whether it be that night, the next day or a couple days later – treat yourself to an airport limo so you don’t have to bother with parking and paying to keep a car at the airport. The driver will pick you up wherever you are staying and get you to the gate in plenty of time to get through security and have a newlywed mimosa at the airport bar. You also can arrange for the limo to pick you up when you return from your trip.
The groom and groomsmen typically will arrive together at the ceremony, as will the bridesmaids with the bride. If both parties are staying at and getting ready at the same location, such as a hotel, consider hiring two modes of transportation – such as a stretch limo, trolley, party bus, etc. – to take each group in separate vehicles to avoid time delays or the bride and groom seeing each other before they desire.
If one of the groups is getting ready at a family member’s or close friend’s home or if the budget for transportation is limited, consider asking someone from the family or a friend if they can help with getting everybody to the ceremony.
In some cases, the bride and groom may travel separately from the bridal party to the ceremony and/or reception. If this is the case, still provide a limo or trolley for your bridal party. This will ensure that they are where they need to be at the right time, and it will give you peace of mind that nobody will be missing.
Following the reception, the hotel where your guests and bridal party are staying usually can arrange for a shuttle to pick up guests in shifts at the reception site. Be sure to ask the hotel coordinator if this is an option and how much it will be. If the hotel doesn’t offer this service, hire your own shuttles or buses to get everybody safely back to their accommodations.
If a majority of your guests are coming from out of town, you may want to look into hiring transportation from the hotel to the wedding and back so nobody has to worry about designated drivers at the end of the night or navigating an unfamiliar city. A charter bus can be a safe bet for this situation, or you may choose transportation that adds character to your overall wedding, such as old-school yellow buses. You can pay to have the buses available all day to get your guests to and from the ceremony and reception locations.
Not all brides and grooms have the money to provide transportation for all their guests, and some couples may feel it isn’t necessarily their responsibility to do so. Instead, you can provide maps and detailed directions to each location throughout the wedding weekend so your guests can carpool and navigate to each site together. You can drop these items off at the hotel ahead of time, and the hotel staff can provide the materials to guests at check in.
Figuring out what kind of transportation you want and need for your wedding day can seem overwhelming and costly; make sure you take the time to call several places for quotes and details about what they offer for wedding packages.
If you need help staying on track or are looking for inspiration for unique transportation methods, The Knot offers a good list of transportation basics and ideas.