Transportation might not be as exciting as other parts of wedding planning, like dress shopping or tasting a bunch of cake flavors. But figuring out how you’ll arrive for your big day is such a vital step that gets overlooked by far too many couples! We’re here to make sure your wedding day transportation not only runs smoothly but gets you and your guests to your venue in style.
From whisking you off toward the aisle to shuttling your VIPs to where they need to be, your hired driver is a major part of your wedding day. So, now is a great time to start researching transportation options. To help, we’re calling out the most common blunders couples make along with tips so you can avoid these transportation pitfalls and be escorted carefree on your wedding day.
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1. Thinking a Limo is Your Only Option
When most brides think about wedding transportation, there’s no doubt that limos are the first vehicles that come to mind. While it’s certainly an option that you can choose, there are so many other cars and modes of transportation available beyond that popular choice. Just as you want your décor and menu tied into your wedding style, the ride you choose should also complement your theme.
Are you having a boho bash? Think vintage VW vans or tandem bicycles decorated with live florals. Prefer a more glamorous affair? Horse-drawn carriages are perfect for brides looking for those Cinderella feels. From yellow taxi cabs to Vespas, sports cars to boats, plenty of unique transportation options are available. We’ve even seen couples ride in on elephants or hop off ski lifts to attend their nuptials, so the possibilities here are only limited by your creativity. Research what is available near your venue and pick the style that suits your wedding vibe. And if a classic limo is what you want after all, go for it unapologetically!
Just be sure to consider your budget, what is included in the package, and make sure your attire allows you to gracefully move in and out of the transportation mode you choose. For example, it'll be hard to hop off a low motorcycle if your dress is very fitted or has a long train and you plan to wear high heels, so you might want to give it some practice before your big day.
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2. Skipping a Shuttle for Guests
One of the most common mistakes is thinking guests will simply park at the venue and fend for themselves. In recent years, the number of couples providing guest shuttles at their weddings has significantly increased. This is especially helpful if your ceremony and reception are in 2 different locations, or you have many guests flying in or staying at nearby hotels.
Shuttles are beneficial not only to the guests but also to you since they aid in keeping the day running on schedule. Arranging a van or shuttle can ensure that everyone is where they need to be at the right time. This also prevents drinking and driving at the end of the night, which equals less stress for everyone. Some of the best options for shuttles are charter buses, vintage trolleys, or school buses.
Even when shuttle schedules are posted online, there will still be guests who do not get the memo. This is one area where over-communicating is key. Make sure to list the pick-up and drop-off times and locations on your wedding website, in welcome bags, and at the hotel front desk. You might also want to appoint a family member or close friend to serve as your transportation coordinator. Provide them with the driver’s contact information and ask them to arrive in the lobby early for other guests who might be looking for the shuttle.
If there’s just no room in your budget for a shuttle, you might want to consider alternatives like Lyft events or Uber wedding vouchers. You can also arrange a taxi line-up at the end of your reception, or simply include numbers to local cab companies on your wedding website or posted on-site at the end of the night.
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3. Failing to Plan for Delays
Even if you’ve hired a wedding planner, there are still things that won’t go exactly to plan on your wedding day. Traffic and weather are two elements that cannot be controlled but have a big impact and can lead to transportation delays. To mitigate against any devastating delays that throw off the entire day’s schedule, it’s best to hire transportation professionals who know how to navigate all sorts of obstacles.
Experienced drivers and dispatchers regularly check forecasts and traffic conditions. They do everything they can to stay punctual even in less-than-ideal circumstances and can also go over alternate routes with you to keep the day’s schedule on time. It’s best to plan for these delays in advance and build 20-30 minutes as a buffer into your timeline, just in case. You might even want to list these backup routes and plans in your transportation contracts so it is all documented.
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4. Forgetting to Communicate Key Logistics
There’s so much that goes into wedding planning, and it’s easy to miss something accidentally. One of the worst mistakes couples make is forgetting to communicate important details to their transportation vendor. Specifics like pick-up and drop-off addresses and times, route maps, guest counts, or even requests for certain beverages or songs to be played should be added to your contract.
Avoid this mistake by jotting down all of those essential details when first comparing transportation quotes. Then when you are ready to book, ask if any details were left out so you can fill those in. Obtain a copy of the call sheets listing times, addresses, routes, and passengers being picked up. Give this out to VIPs like your mother or Maid of Honor and pass along your driver’s contact information too.
Also, let the car service know who your point person on-site will be, whether it is your wedding planner or a trusted friend or family member. No matter how confident you are in the professionals you’ve hired, have your designated point person call the company the day before your wedding to reconfirm everything listed in the contract.
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5. Not Accounting for Enough Seats
Rather than trying to cram too many people into a smaller car, you are often better off opting for a larger vehicle that can make fewer trips. This will help you adhere to your day-of schedule and save you money in the long run, not to mention keep your guests much more comfortable. With delicate dresses and bouquets, it’s also helpful to have extra room to maneuver in and out of the vehicle.
When accounting for seats, include your planner, photographer, videographer, and anyone else you want to ride with you. For shuttles, estimate that at least 75% of all guests will need a seat. This is in case some decide to ride back at the end of the night who might not have arrived by shuttle. It also leaves extra space for those who take centerpieces or if you have gift boxes that need to come back.
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6. Waiting Until the Last Minute to Book
With the record-breaking weddings taking place in 2022, the best transportation companies are sure to be in high demand, especially from the end of Spring to early Fall. More than ever, you don’t want to leave your transportation as a last-minute decision. Ideally, aim to have this service booked 9-6 months before your wedding.
Even if you don’t have all of the details regarding guest count, do your best to estimate and lock in your transportation early. Leaving enough time to book will give you the most options, especially if you are going with a unique vehicle or mode of transportation. This way, you’ll not only arrive the way you envisioned but book with a professional company that can make your wedding day as seamless as possible.
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7. Not Checking Out the Vehicle
Some transportation companies’ photos can be deceiving and far from reality, just like an online dating profile. You’ll want to do everything you can to avoid getting catfished. Whenever possible, see the vehicle in person before booking. This way, you’ll get the exact vehicle you want based on its actual condition and not a misleading photo online. If you are getting married out of town and unable to do so, check if someone you trust in the area can go in your place or ask your wedding planner to send over a video inspection.
You’ll also want to do some light investigating and ask the car company if they own their fleet, specifically the vehicles you are interested in. Sometimes they rent from other services, which adds a middleman, complicating situations if the driver does not show up or there is an accident. So, that’s something you’ll want to steer clear of.
Beyond seeing the condition of the vehicle’s exterior shape, it’s super important to check on the car's interior. Make sure there is enough space, that it’s clean, and its climate controls are operational. Also, ask how the cars are maintained and how drivers are vetted. This way, you’ll know precisely who you are dealing with when you entrust them to escort you around on the one of the most important days of your life.
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