shrinemont virginia cathedral wedding

Advice for Brides and Grooms: Wedding Day Transportation

I am revisiting my Trusted Tips video today, produced in conjunction with The Dandelion Patch and Bowen Films. In the video, I mention 4 situations where my past clients most appreciated my professional advice. Please check out my earlier posts on eating the morning of your wedding and how to handle your wedding reception seating.

Today I’m going to talk about the stress that is transportation on the wedding day. There is not much that I like more than a wedding that has no transportation component. Don’t get me wrong – I think that in certain situations, you ought to provide transportation for your guests, and in other situations you must provide transportation. But if there is a way to pick wedding venues and hotel blocks to avoid transportation on your wedding day, do it!

shrinemont virginia cathedral weddingBride and groom sit in a 1941 Cadillac at the end of the reception

In the video I talk about a particular wedding client who decided to subsidize a more expensive hotel room block for their guests that was within walking distance of the wedding venue, and skip using any transportation, as opposed to using a less expensive room block that would require transportation between the hotel and the wedding venue on the wedding day. The budget stayed the same, and the guest experience was improved in two big ways: they stayed at a nicer hotel and they were not troubled with navigating a transportation schedule on the wedding day.

wedding day transportation advice

Transportation not only stresses me out, but it also stresses out the bride and groom, and the wedding guests. For me, I typically can’t be with the buses from start to finish – my talents are better used elsewhere – so I am constantly worried about if the buses have arrived at the pick up location, if they are properly marked, if the drivers are friendly, if the wedding guests can find them, and so on. I think it’s fair to say that brides and grooms share these worries, though when they work with me, they know I am on top of it.

Of course, the best way to avoid transportation is to get married AT the hotel 🙂 But many couples don’t opt for that style of venue. If you end up providing transportation on your wedding day, here are some tips on how to make it the best possible experience for your wedding guests.

Top tips for managing wedding day transportation

  1. Have a comprehensive wedding website that includes a schedule of the provided transportation as soon as possible. Share the website with your guests via word of mouth, your save the date card, and your wedding invitation. The website should also include any special driving or parking instructions in case some of your wedding guests decide to drive themselves.
  2. When your guests arrive to the hotel, provide a wedding weekend itinerary to your guests to remind them of the transportation schedule
  3. You or your planner should call the transportation company 24-48 hours before your wedding day to confirm the itinerary and obtain the names and cell numbers of your drivers.
  4. 2-3 hours before the transportation schedule is set to begin, you or your planner should call the drivers, confirm the buses have signage, and review the pick up locations and itinerary.
  5. It is most helpful to hire a transportation company that provides a concierge service. This means that they send an extra staffer with the vehicles to be on site to assist guests while the drivers stay with the buses. They can liaise directly with you or your planner and the drivers, which makes things a bit easier. If you don’t have a concierge, it can be helpful to ask a close family member or friend to monitor the bus pick up situation and make sure that all guests make it onto the shuttles.
  6. Put a small sign in each restroom of your reception venue reminding guests of the departure times of the shuttles. I recommend having 2 set times: 60-90 minutes before your last dance, and 15 minutes after your last dance.
  7. Bonus Tip: Don’t forget that your transportation contract should run through 15 minutes after your wedding end time + travel time from your wedding to the final destination. It is better to plan for, and pay for, this time upfront, because it is usually billed at a higher rate if it is added on after the event.

wedding day transportation tips

I hope you found this wedding advice helpful! If you have any questions about wedding day transportation, feel free to leave a comment below and I will get back to you!

Photo credits from top to bottom: Holland Photo Arts, Katie Stoops, Katie Stoops, Jack Manning and Katie Stoops.