14 Wedding Transportation Etiquette Mistakes to Avoid

Industry experts share their advice for stress-free wedding day transportation.
Taylor Carson - The Knot Contributor.
Taylor Carson
Taylor Carson - The Knot Contributor.
Taylor Carson
The Knot Contributor
  • Taylor writes wedding venue roundups for The Knot.
  • Taylor was formerly the Assistant Managing Editor at Philadelphia magazine, and she continues to freelance for Philadelphia’s lifestyle and wedding verticals.
  • She received her degree in journalism, with a minor in English, from Temple University.
Updated Dec 12, 2023

Are you planning the logistics for your big day and wondering about proper wedding transportation etiquette? Depending on what point you're at in the wedding planning process, many questions may be running through your mind, including whether outsourcing transportation is necessary, when to book transportation, how many loops you'll need your driver to make between your guests' hotels and venue, and more.

To make this logistic less stressful for you, we sourced the expert advice you need to know about all things wedding transportation. Below, explore 14 mistakes to avoid—with tips from Best of Weddings Hall of Fame members Gabrielle Bannister, reservation specialist at Ace Limousine & Airport Service and Josiane Roessner, client services director at Sterling Limousine.

1. Not Hiring Professional Transportation

While the decision to hire transportation will differ for every couple, their big day plans and their budget, if you decide to provide transportation, it is smart to seek out a professional company. This puts such an important responsibility in a trusted vendor's hands and ensures your big day runs smoothly—and on schedule.

Wedding Transportation Expert Tips: "It's important for couples to hire a professional, reputable company such as ours because this is what our speciality is," says Bannister. "Transportation is just one part of the entire wedding day, and if it's not planned or executed properly, it can create an extremely stressful situation that no couple should experience on one of the most important, beautiful days of their lives."

2. Not Doing What Makes Sense for Your Wedding and Budget

Like many aspects of wedding planning, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to planning your wedding transportation. Is transportation a reasonable priority within your overall wedding budget? Only you and your spouse-to-be can make that decision.

Wedding Transportation Expert Tips: "Many different aspects are taken into account when couples are planning the transportation for their wedding, and each couple determines what is best for themselves and their guests," says Bannister. "Some couples prioritize transportation for reasons [like] out of town guests, elderly guests, alcohol consumption, remote locations, etc., but some couples see transportation as an afterthought or something that is not a priority within their overall wedding budget."

3. Not Considering Your Wedding Location

If you are on the fence about booking transportation, the location of your wedding may play a big factor in the decision. Is the surrounding area remote? Are you marrying in the city? The where can determine what other options are available to your guests.

Wedding Transportation Expert Tips: As an example, Bannister notes, "There are certain areas in Pennsylvania that are pretty remote, and oftentimes services such as Uber or Lyft are not accessible in these areas—especially at the end of the night. These are instances where it's arguably necessary to provide transportation for one's guests to ensure safety after a night of potential alcohol consumption and exhaustion."

4. Not Timing Your Transportation Schedule Appropriately

Once you make the decision to book transportation, a crucial next step is determining a schedule for guests to get from your hotel to the ceremony or reception venue promptly. You'll want to work with your vendor to make a plan that accounts for the distance between the hotel and venue, as well as how long guests will need to find their seats comfortably.

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Wedding Transportation Expert Tips: "Ideally, we recommend guests arrive 15-20 minutes prior to the ceremony or reception beginning," Bannister says. "If the hotel and venue are 15 minutes apart, we'd recommend all guests to be transported at once to the venue, as the turnaround time would be anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes with that distance, which includes loading and unloading the vehicle, and we also account for a slight buffer to consider the possibility of unexpected traffic or other delays." She continues, "There are other instances where the hotel and venue are significantly closer, in which case we'd create an exact schedule for the couple to relay to their guests, such as a loop scheduled in 15- to 20-minute increments."

5. Not Considering Your Guest List

But it's not just your hotel and wedding venue that you need to consider when booking and coordinating transportation. You must also think about your guest list and how they will likely opt to commute to your special day.

Wedding Transportation Expert Tips: "Knowing how many of your guests are local and may drive themselves, and how many are out of town and will utilize transportation, can help determine the size and number of vehicles that would work best to accommodate all guests," says Roessner.

6. Not Deferring to Professional Expertise

Unsolicited advice comes in droves when you're wedding planning, and it's best not to listen to everyone else's opinions. However, when you decide to work with a transportation service for your wedding, you should defer to the service's professional expertise rather than going against what they recommend.

Wedding Transportation Expert Tips: "These instances are few and far between, but they do happen," says Bannister. "We can only provide the best possible service to a couple willing to take our advice and recommendations into consideration."

7. Not Collaborating With Your Vendor

Similarly, your wedding plans will very likely evolve in the months leading up to your big day, so you must keep the lines of communication open with your transportation vendor to ensure they can do their job: planning you the most efficient, hassle-free transportation itinerary possible.

Wedding Transportation Expert Tips: "We empathize with couples planning transportation for their guests because oftentimes it needs to be planned so far in advance that it is extremely difficult to determine the exact number of guests that will utilize the transportation, but that is where the couple plays a key role as they know their guests best," Bannister says. "The collaboration between our wedding coordinators and each couple or parent planning the transportation is the most important relationship when it comes to providing the best possible service for each wedding."

8. Not Trusting Your Vendor

When you heed the advice of your transportation vendor and collaborate with them throughout your engagement, you build trust. And when trust exists, you can rest assured that your transportation needs are handled … and in good hands.

Wedding Transportation Expert Tips: "We love providing couples with an extraordinary experience on their wedding day, and in order to do that, there is a level of trust and companionship we have with our clients," Bannister says. "The best transportation is the kind that the couple doesn't need to think about at all during their special day."

9. Not Knowing the Rules of Your Venue

Not only should you think about the area in which you're getting married (because that will influence other methods of transportation available to your guests), but also the venue itself. When can your guests begin to arrive at the venue? How soon after your event concludes does everyone need to be gone? These factors will impact your transportation the day of.

Wedding Transportation Expert Tips: "Most venues have specific allowances for guest entry time, and some also require guests to be off premises at a certain time post-reception," Roessner shares. "Knowing these details in advance can help in determining the size or number of vehicles needed to ensure everyone arrives on time."

10. Waiting Until Close to Your Wedding Date to Book Transportation

We get it—there can be seemingly endless decisions to make as you plan your big day. One decision you shouldn't put off, however, is booking your transportation. In fact, you may want to book it farther out than you're anticipating.

Wedding Transportation Expert Tips: "Book in advance!" says Roessner. "The majority of wedding transportation is secured 8-12 months or more prior to the wedding date. It is always unfortunate when we get requests for wedding transportation and our fleet is fully booked."

11. Not Asking Questions

Once you book your transportation vendor, don't hesitate to ask them questions along the way. As mentioned earlier, doing so builds rapport and trust between you and the staff and will help you feel fully informed leading up to (and during) your wedding day.

Wedding Transportation Expert Tips: "We are here to help," Roessner says. "Our wedding staff is highly experienced in logistics and transportation scheduling to ensure everything runs smoothly on the couple's special day."

12. Not Providing After-Party Transportation

This mistake depends heavily on your post-wedding plans, but if you are having an after-party at a different location, it is always smart and safe to provide guests with a mode of transportation. Doing so will also alleviate any worries you may have about the well-being of others after a long day of dancing, mingling and, for some, drinking.

Wedding Transportation Expert Tips: "We certainly recommend doing so for the safety of the couple, the wedding party, the family and all guests," says Roessner. "The distance between the after-party and hotel can play a role in this as well. Some couples choose an after-party location within walking distance of their hotel for convenience. Either way, we always offer the option to extend shuttle times to accommodate their needs."

13. Booking Vehicles That Are Too Small

Bigger is better when it comes to your wedding transportation, as it's better to have extra room aboard your hired vehicles than not enough. With that being said, it is recommended to overestimate your guest count when working with your transportation company before RSVPs are due.

Wedding Transportation Expert Tips: Roessner shares, "We recommend booking large in the event that the guest count increases by the time the couple begins to receive their RSVPs. In the event that the guest count does not increase, the couple still knows that their guests will arrive on time, even if there are a few empty seats. Booking a vehicle that is too small can pose more significant issues, depending on whether multiple trips are logistically feasible."

14. Not Letting Your Guests Know When to Be Ready

Lastly, after all your hard work coordinating your wedding transportation, do not forget to communicate to guests about when to be ready to board. Your wedding website or a small enclosure card included in your wedding invitations can be a great way to share this information.

Wedding Transportation Expert Tips: "Ensuring your guests know the shuttle schedule can help to guarantee timely arrival," Roessner says. "We always aim to be on location for pickup approximately 15 minutes prior to the scheduled time so guests can begin loading and the chauffeur can depart on time."

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