Poppy Belle Design is a Raleigh wedding planner & florist. Feature photo by Erica Serrano Photography.
So you’ve spent countless hours, thousands of phone calls and what feels like endless renditions of Excel spreadsheets planning a gorgeous and elaborate—or not—wedding. You’ve got food (yay, your guests will eat!) and tables and chairs, of course (also important for the eating). You’ve picked out your gown (since naked wedding was taken off the table early on) and your fiancé has … something in his closet as well, hopefully. The music is lined up, flowers arranged, centerpieces made, and everyone has at least been told (probably one to half a dozen times) where they’re supposed to be and when.
Every tiny detail about the event you’ve thought over and talked over to satisfaction. You know how things will go on the day.
But how will people get there?
I’m sure you’ve thought of how you and the wedding party will arrive (Did you see the above? You’re detail-oriented—or have a planner who is), but what about everyone else?
Something of a trend nowadays is providing transportation for your guests, be it in the form of a trolley or shuttle bus or something else entirely that runs from the hotels to ceremony and reception.
I’ve seen it a few different ways. Some couples set up specific times and have the vehicle make loops between points A and B, giving guests some flexibility both at the beginning and end of the event. Others (usually smaller wedding parties) have a take it or leave it one-time deal.
Whether this is right for you and yours is completely up to you, but (since spreadsheets are your thing) here’s a pros and cons list to help navigate the decision.
Pros to guest transportation
- Prevents drunk driving
If you’re providing alcohol at your wedding, setting up transportation for your guests will keep anyone who has one drink too many off the roads. This in turn could allow some people to party a little harder (if you’re into that sort of thing) than they might have otherwise knowing they have a free and safe way home.
- Helps with parking
If this is an issue at your venue—which it can definitely be in big cities or some more historic venues—eliminating a majority of the car traffic can make a huge difference and can eliminate some stress for your guests. Even in cities where parking might be plentiful but a tad costly, sending a shuttle might make things easier.
- Eliminates GPS error
If you chose a hard-to-find venue for your ceremony and reception, taking navigation out of the equation might just make the difference between one of your guests arriving on time or not. Not to mention if the ceremony and reception are at different locations, a shuttle to and from—or at least between—them eases that transition and can help ensure things move along in a timely manner, i.e. people don’t linger too long after the ceremony and delay the start of dinner!
- Ensures the timeline
Having a scheduled shuttle would definitely make sure that everyone—or at least a majority of guests—arrive at the ceremony on time (or all equally late if the shuttle runs into traffic). A scheduled evening ride might also cut down on the number of people who linger afterwards and delay your departure and retreat to the honeymoon suite—and sleep!
- Brings people together
Piling dozens of guests onto a charter bus certainly creates a community feel—and a youthful one!
- Decreases the burden on guests
The bottom line is providing transportation makes things a lot easier for people attending your wedding. It cuts out logistics, decreases costs and eliminates the need for out-of-town guests to rent a car. If you’re looking to have a seamless, carefree event for people, guest transportation is the way to go!
Cons to guest transportation
This is the biggest deterrent for most couples. Hiring a bus or a limo or what have you to shuttle guests back and forth can get quite pricey, and the bigger the wedding, the bigger the bill.
- Lost of flexibility
Having set times for people to leave the wedding can make it difficult to adjust the event timeline if things get pushed behind.
- Logistic difficulties
If you have rooms reserved at more than one hotel, mapping out a route that doesn’t leave too early or arrive too late can be challenging. Not to mention if you want a sendoff, you’ll have to decide if you want it before the first shuttle leaves so all guests can participate or when the last one takes off—when you’re actually leaving.
- Excess alcohol
Having an out to driving might encourage guests to drink more than they would otherwise, which, if you’re not really into the party scene, might not be the vibe you want.
- Early birds
Some guests might leave earlier than they otherwise would have because their desired departure time falls between the two scheduled pick-ups.
Whichever way you fall, this can be a tricky road to navigate! Give us a call at Knots ‘N Such for some guidance or full-on planning. We’d be happy to help you out!