How to Know if You Should Get Transportation for Your Wedding Guests

How far is too far to ask your guests to drive to your reception venue?
by The Knot

Having your wedding ceremony and reception in different venues? Your guests need to get there one way or another—and asking them to pay for an expensive Uber or drive for an hour definitely isn't ideal, if you ask us. Here's how to know if you need to factor "guest transportation" into your budget

Consider the distance and number of out-of-town guests. 

If your venues are only a short distance away from each other, you're in the clear. But there's a cutoff—if your ceremony and reception venues are more than 30 minutes apart, you should definitely provide for your guests as to not inconvenience them with aforementioned Uber charges and long, tedious drives. 

Additionally, if you have a lot of people coming in from out of town (who might not have cars with them) and/or have a hard-to-get or hard-to-find location, you'll definitely want to book transportation for your guests. 

Consider renting minivans, shuttle buses or trolleys and be prepared to pay upward of $100 per hour for this kind of mass transit. 

Give them an option for the end of the night too.

While you're not responsible for every individual guest making it home safely at the end of the night, if your guests are imbibing, it's courteous to furnish them with options. You can provide a shuttle bus from your venue to the hotel(s) where the majority of your guests are staying, plan ahead with a taxi company to make sure there are some waiting out front (who can also radio for more cars as needed), or simply make sure your guests have access to a cab number (although most of them will probably have ride-sharing apps installed on their phones already). 

What about your transportation?

This is assuming you, your partner and your wedding party will all ride together from venue to venue. Choosing your own transportation begins with an assessment of who you have to take with you, and the size of your wedding party (obviously) plays a big part. If you have a crowd, consider a trendy stretch SUV or limo that up to 22 people can pile into. Try to save a seat for the photographer: Candid, wide-angle or paparazzi-style shots are a surprising favorite.

Other couples opt for a car for just them and another car for everyone else—the choice is yours. If the reception is within walking distance from the ceremony, you can hire a choir, musician or mariachi band to serenade you on the way.

Think about timing before choosing a limo. 

Limos are the most common choice—ask for recommendations from recently married friends, the caterer, hotel concierge or reception venue manager.

Also, inquire about wedding packages—some places will offer you complimentary champagne or upgrades just for asking; others will include a discount if you book for a bach party too. But be warned: Most limos have to be hired for a three- or four-hour minimum. If your travel plans consist of one 15-minute trip to the church, you might want to go for a less expensive option, like a black car service. If there are several legs to the trip, renting the limo for the night might make more sense. 

Remember to book early (and read the fine print). 

You'll want to reserve your car at least six months in advance. And read the contract word for word. and ask for a statement detailing the costs of the deposit and balance due. Make sure the date, hours, pickup locations, amenities, driver's name, car details (like make, model and color) and cancellations and refund policies are all in writing. Plan on tipping 15 to 20 percent, but again, check the contract to find out if gratuity is included. 

Pro tips: Make the final reservation in person (rather than over the phone) so you can inspect the cars and ask which one you'll be getting. Also, have a conversation with your chauffeur ahead of time so you can make sure they know not just where you're going but how to get there. You can connect your driver with one of your wedding party members so they can be responsible for calling on your wedding day to make sure your ride is coming on time—and be sure to get an after-hours phone number of someone at the company in case any emergencies come up. 

Make an exit.

For most grand exits, newlyweds will get into a formal car together—but you definitely don't have to stick to tradition. If you have a dream car (like a red-hot Ferrari or a Rolls-Royce) consider using this as an opportunity to rent one from a specialty car rental company. 

Of course, you don't even need a car at all—a hand-in-hand walk, tandem bike or vintage Vespa are all creative ideas too. 

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