Getting guests to and fro: Wedding day transportation tips

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Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013 12:00 am

When paring down the guest list for their wedding day, many couples come to the realization that their lists are loaded with out-of-town friends and family members. Though out-of-town guests who accept an invitation to the wedding are responsible for their own travel to the wedding destination, many couples feel obligated to arrange for travel to and from the wedding as well as the reception. The latter is especially important, as couples want to ensure their guests make it home safely once the reception ends.

Transportation for guests to and from the wedding and reception is something couples can easily overlook, but such arrangements can ensure guests are on time for the ceremony and that no guest has to worry about whether or not it's safe to drive home after the reception. Couples who don't know where to begin with regard to transportation for their wedding guests might want to start with the following tips.

* Shop around for shuttle service. Shuttle service can be costly, but it's also very convenient. Couples can arrange for shuttle service from the hotel to the wedding, and then from the wedding site to the banquet hall where the reception is being held, and finally from the reception site back to the hotel at the end of the night. Depending on the size of the wedding party, the shuttle service will likely recommend staggering the runs so every guest can take advantage of this convenient service. More runs will be necessary for larger parties, while a handful of runs is likely all that's necessary for ceremonies with fewer guests.

* Consider a bus for smaller parties. Couples without an extensive guest list may also be able to get by with a single bus to get guests around throughout the day. A bus will provide similar service as a series of shuttles. The bus will likely only pick up guests at one specific time, making it an ideal choice for smaller parties but less convenient for larger parties where some guests might want to retire earlier than others come the end of the night. A bus can be more fun for guests, who can reunite on the bus with others they have not seen in a while or make new friends with guests who might be affiliated with the other half of the wedding party.

* Discuss transportation with the hotel where guests will be staying. Some couples may find that a shuttle service or another transportation option will stretch their budget too thin. In such instances, speak with the hotel where guests will be staying. Some hotels provide airport shuttle service to guests, and may be able to offer a similar service to the wedding for guests who register their rooms under the wedding party's name. This may come at a fee, but compare the cost of arranging transportation with the hotel versus a private shuttle service. The former might be more affordable than the latter.

Even if the hotel cannot provide shuttle service, the concierge or front desk staff may be able to point in the right direction regarding an affordable shuttle service. This can be especially valuable to couples having a destination wedding who don't know the area very well.

* Get the details spelled out in writing. Like all aspects of planning a wedding, make sure you get the nuts and bolts of the transportation package in writing before writing any checks. This should include the minimum hours the company will be available for guests as well as if there are any charges related to total mileage traveled. In addition, make sure the agreement clearly spells out how many drivers will be available. Note when shuttles to the ceremony and the ensuing reception will run, as well as how frequently shuttles will be available to guests once the reception begins, and when the last shuttle will leave the reception site at the end of the night. Before signing any agreements, research the company to ensure all of its drivers are properly licensed.

* Inform the guests. Of course, the guests will need to be informed of the transportation arrangements upon checking into the hotel. Don't assume you will see each guest before the ceremony, as some may not be making it into town until the morning of your wedding day, when you will likely be too busy to meet with them. So be sure to include transportation instructions in the welcome packages guests will receive when they check into the hotel. Consult with hotel staff a day or two before your wedding to ensure those packages are ready to go and that the correct transportation information is included.

Transportation for wedding guests might not be at the top of many couples' priority lists, but arranging for such transportation can ensure everyone enjoys the ceremony and makes it home safe and sound at the end of the night.

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