One of the toughest and most complicated aspects of any wedding is coordinating transportation. It takes knowledge of the geography, expertise in logistics and timing, and an unlimited supply of patience to navigate the process. It is one of the major details that can swing the seamless pendulum of your wedding day (along with audio/video technical issues, but we’ll save that for another blog). From out-of-town guests, to your wedding party, all the way down to getting yourself and your newly betrothed to your final destination at the end of the evening, we broke down the nitty gritty of wedding day transportation for you to consider.
Chances are, no matter which city you live in or are getting married in, you will have guests traveling from near and far to be a part of your special day. As a courtesy to these wonderful folks, many of our clients arrange for shuttles to transport them to and from their hotels before the ceremony and at the end of the evening.
Alternatively, shuttles are not always used to get from point A to point B. We often find our brides and grooms, specifically those with wedding venues in a centralized location (such as downtown Los Angeles), looking to shuttle themselves and their bridal party around to different locations during the photo portion of the day. This is to capture as many of those unique backdrops as possible to have for their photographic memories!
Here are some things to note when booking shuttles:
Holiday and Prom Weekends: Holiday weekends can be wonderful for weddings, giving you and your guests opportunity for more time spent together as well as an extra day for ease of travel. However, it’s important to note that you aren’t the only ones who are aware of this advantage. Therefore, this time can be very popular for weddings. Shuttle companies have a limited amount of x-passenger shuttles, so it’s important to book these early in the planning process in order to get the best rate and services from the most reliable companies. Additionally, if you are getting married in May or June, note that these are also well-known prom months and shuttles will be in high demand. Book early!
Minimum Hours: The standard for most shuttle and limousine companies is a five-hour minimum on weekends. This is important to note if you have shuttles waiting on site or near the wedding venue to return guests to the hotel at the end of the night. The clock will be running. A great way to ensure you are getting the most for your money is to start running the shuttles back to the hotel early, usually for elderly guests and families with small children. Shuttles will run between the hotel(s) and wedding venue until their pre-determined end time. Due to the minimum hour requirement, shuttles being used for photo transportation should be utilized for multiple purposes.
Taxes, Gratuity, and Fees: When you receive the quote from your transportation company, it should always include taxes and gratuity in the final number. Additionally, inquiring about any hidden fees is crucial. For example, if one of your guests indulges a little too heavily in the libations during the evening and unfortunately becomes ill on the ride home, knowing if there’s a cleaning fee ahead of time will ease any tension and confusion after the fact.
Size and Location: One of the issues we run into frequently in Los Angeles, and specifically the Malibu Mountains, is the restriction on shuttle size. Before securing a shuttle for your day, check with the venue to ensure what the maximum-size vehicle allowed on property is. Additionally, the shuttle company should know the axel size allowed on all roads leading to the venue. The last thing you want is your guests stranded on the side of the canyon because the shuttle couldn’t make it up the hill. It should be confirmed ahead of time that the shuttle drivers have the correct addresses for any pick-up and drop-off locations. Your planner or coordinator should have all direct phone numbers to drivers. Always remember to review the schedule in detail ahead of time with the shuttle company and make sure you receive written confirmation. This will all contribute to the seamless flow and timeliness of your wedding day!
Can you even remember the days when Uber and Lyft didn’t exist? When you had to call a taxi, wait on hold, figure out the address for them to pick you up, and just wait until they showed up? Technology has come a long way since then. With access to multiple car services at your fingertips, you can now gift a “taxi service” to your guests! Instead of (or in conjunction with) providing shuttle services, utilizing Uber or Lyft for your big day is a fantastic solution. Here’s how it works:
Uber and Lyft have created “Uber/Lyft Events,” an option that allows you to create custom invites and ride passes in minutes. You choose how much you want to spend on each ride, covering it partially or entirely. You only pay for the rides your guests use, plus a small administrative fee. The app allows you to name your event (“DavisCohenWedding,” for example), set the event destination, location radius, and time window, select and limit the number of ride passes, add your guests’ e-mail addresses, determine a code your guests will use, and pre-purchase the rides. If you haven’t already signed up for an Uber or Lyft account, you must do so in order to create your event.
We want all of our clients and their guests to have the best, most memorable evening possible during these joyous affairs. Often, this means indulging in a few adult beverages throughout the night. While we urge you to utilize the above options to keep the roads safe, some guests will choose to drive to and from the venue. In this case, your venue will more than likely require you to either add the valet option to your package, or outsource through a recommended vendor. Valet services ask for an estimated number of cars ahead of time in order to staff properly, so gathering that information from your guests when sending invitations will help in the long run.
Having a “getaway car” is a fabulous, classic way to be sent off into your new married life at the conclusion of your wedding reception. Not only is it an epic photo opportunity, it can allow you and your significant other a moment alone at the end of the evening to revel in the unparalleled day of celebrating the love that you were just a part of.
We find that many of our clients love the idea of renting a classic car for this wedding detail, which we love! It’s important to note that many of these vintage rides have restrictions on the roads they will travel down, in order to keep the car’s pristine body and mechanics in tact. For example, the Malibu Mountians are generally a no-go zone far cars of this nature. Suss out the location with the car company ahead of time to make sure you don’t run into any snafus on the day of.
There you have it–a few of Amber Events’ top recommended transportation hacks for your wedding day! We are so lucky to live in a time where there are a plethora of options for getting you and your guests safely to and from your wedding, no matter how remote the location. Often overlooked, these solutions to travel logistics can contribute in a considerable way to the smoothness of this very special day.
Photos by Studio Castillero for Ashley & Brian