A Lawyer's Guide to Wedding Transportation Contracts

Everything you need to know before signing the dotted line.
Lauren Dana Ellman - The Knot Contributor.
Lauren Dana Ellman
Lauren Dana Ellman - The Knot Contributor.
Lauren Dana Ellman
The Knot Contributor
  • Lauren is a contributor for The Knot covering topics such as music, cakes, venues and speeches.
  • She has been published in a wide array of lifetsyle-oriented publications including SELF and Allure.
  • Lauren is a proud graduate of Syracuse University's SI Newhouse School of Public Communication.
Updated Mar 04, 2024

One of the least glamorous parts of wedding planning? Signing all of your vendor contracts, of course. When it comes to wedding transportation contracts in particular, there are a few important factors to consider since your—and your guests'—safety is at play. While combing through legal documents pertaining to your wedding can be, in a word, overwhelming, we've consulted Leah Weinberg, co-founder and partner of Oduberg Law, LLP, to provide top tips and insight on specific wedding transportation contract points.

Oh, and one more thing: If you're still in the process of finding a transportation company, there's no need to fret. In fact, you can easily search thousands of vendors using The Knot Vendor Marketplace! Then, once you find one, come back to this page before signing the dotted line on your contract!

1. General Information & Standard Info

Unfortunately, explains Weinberg, "Wedding transportation contracts are some of the least negotiable of all of the contracts you're going to be signing for your wedding." This is because, per the pro, "Pretty much all transportation companies have their standard form and they aren't going to deviate from it." As such, "it's critical to understand what everything in the contract with your transportation company means even if you can't negotiate the terms." So, don't be afraid to ask questions!

2. Key Details

Triple-check that your vendor has listed the correct wedding date and time in the wedding transportation contract. They should also have specific addresses of where you—or your guests—will need to be picked up and dropped off. This section should also include information on the number of passengers they'll be responsible for, as well as the specific vehicle you're requesting, be it a limo, shuttle, trolley, party bus or something else entirely: We've got you covered with even more inspo here.

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3. Pricing

According to Weinberg, wedding transportation companies typically price their services by the hour, "with a minimum number of hours required for a rental." The key is to understand exactly how they charge; for example, "whether they view the rental as a continuous amount of time from start to finish or if they only charge you for [the] time that your rental is 'active' though note that 'active' still includes the vehicle's travel time to and from the transportation hub at the start and end of their shifts)." With this in mind, she adds, "it's common for weddings to only require transportation pre-ceremony and then again at the end of the night." While some companies require you to pay for what Weinberg describes as "that huge chunk of hours in the middle where the vehicle isn't transporting anyone, others may not." In summary, don't make the mistake of not asking!

4. Extra Fees

Before signing the dotted line on your wedding transportation contract, read the fine printing carefully. What's more, says Weinberg, "you need to understand what fees may be incurred outside of the hourly pricing." For example, some companies charge a fee for interstate trips as well as additional fees if tolls are involved. She also stresses that "EVERY company is going to include a cleaning fee if the driver is left to clean up your trash" or, even worse, bodily fluids.

5. Vehicle Rental Time Frames

"Weddings are notorious for NOT running on time, so make sure you understand your company's policy on flexibility, overtime and any hard stops," says Weinberg. Per the lawyer, here are a few scenarios and questions worth bringing up to ensure you—and your guests—aren't left high and dry: 1) If the couple is running late from the getting ready location, is there a chance the vehicle will time out and just leave? 2) If there's bad traffic and trips are taking longer than expected, will the driver just stop making trips at the originally scheduled time?

Similarly, consider this pro tip from Weinberg: "Always allow for way more time than you think it's going to take when creating your transportation schedule. It's better for people to be early than to miss your ceremony completely."

6. Gratuities

According to Weinberg, there are one of two ways your transportation company is going to handle gratuities: either it's required or it's discretionary. "Make sure you know which one your company is. If a gratuity isn't included on your invoice, then the standard range is 10% to 20% of the total bill, and cash is always preferred."

7. Policy on Small Children

If you plan on having kids at your wedding, Weinberg recommends asking your transportation vendor about their policy on small children and, more specifically, if they are required to be in a car seat. While "the technical answer to this will probably vary by state and each company will probably vary in terms of how strict they are in enforcing their policy," Weinberg tells The Knot that it is still worth asking in advance. "I've been at a wedding where a guest with a toddler got a ride to the wedding with a friend, they wanted to take the shuttle back at the end of the night but [were] denied a ride because the bus wouldn't allow the toddler to ride without a car seat."

8. Contact Info

This may seem obvious, but no detail is too small to double-check. Ensure your wedding transportation vendor includes their contact information—phone numbers, addresses and emails. Additionally, since you'll most likely be incredibly busy the hours leading up to the ceremony and celebration, it's a good idea to include contact information for a point person, be it a maid of honor, wedding planner or day-of coordinator.

9. Special Requests

If you have any particular or special requests, get them in writing! Use this section to indicate preferences such as: the particular driver you want, a specific dress code for the driver(s), if you want bottled water or beverages—and if so, what kind—and so on.

10. Repercussions Clause

If it's not already in there, be sure to ask your vendor to add a repercussions clause to your wedding transportation contract. This specifies which party—you or the vendor—is liable in the event of any vehicular damages.

11. Cancellations

We'll keep this one short and sweet. Make sure the vendor's cancellation policy is explicitly spelled out so you know exactly what you owe in the event of a cancellation or postponement.

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