Most couples don’t arrange any kind of transportation to/from the wedding reception for out of town guests. Many feel that guests can make their own way to the wedding. Plus, arranging for transportation can be expensive.
So what’s the right thing to do? Transport guests (even at a cost) or not?
The short answer to the question is ‘No’. You are not obligated to provide any kind of transportation to/ from the site of your wedding. It’s nice if you can help with the transportation, but it is not expected by your guests.
Many of your out of town guests will simply rent cars or car pool with another wedding guest without your assistance. This is true, especially if you are getting married in a large city like Las Vegas where wedding guests are going to want to explore the casinos on their own.
That being said, arranging for shuttle service adds a very nice touch
Guests will appreciate not having to rent cars especially if they are flying in for one day. Others will appreciate not having to worry about drinking too much at the wedding.
So what should you do?
You can start by asking if a nearby hotel offers shuttle service.
But how do you go about finding a hotel that offers shuttle service?
There are two options:
Option 1: Ask for free transportation when you are getting group rates for hotels
Since you are going to be blocking hotel rooms for wedding guests anyways, it makes sense to ask for free transportation right from the start. You can either call all the hotels near the wedding venue (takes hours) or fill out this group booking request form (it takes less than 5 minutes). In the comments section, add the following:
“We are getting married at [Name of wedding venue] on [Enter date]. Preference will be given to the hotel that can provide complimentary shuttle service to the wedding reception”.
As soon as you submit the form, hotels near your wedding site will respond with room rates and shuttle availability. Select the hotel that offers the best deal and sign the room block contract.
The other option is to ask the wedding venue
Option 2: Ask the wedding venue
The second option is to ask your wedding venue if any nearby hotels offer free transportation to/from the wedding venue. Many hotels provide free transportation so long as you get a block of rooms there. The situation is a win-win for both the guests (free transportation) and the hotel (more business).
And if you can’t find any hotels that offer free shuttles, then you may have to pay for shuttle service 🙁
How much does it cost to rent a hotel shuttle?
There are three ways that hotels normally charge for shuttle service. They can use a sliding scale based on the number of rooms you block, they charge a flat fee, or they charge based on the number of times they have to go back and forth.
Some hotels will charge based on the number of rooms you reserve under your block. This is referred to as a sliding scale. So, for example, if your guests reserve less than 10 rooms, then the shuttle will cost $100, if you block 10-20 rooms, the charge will be $50, and anything more than 20 rooms will result in complimentary shuttle service.
Flat Hourly Fee
Many hotels will charge a flat hourly regardless of how many rooms you block. In many cases, the charges depend on the distance to the wedding venue and the number of guests you need to transport. In mid sized cities, these charges range from $50-$100 per hour.
A la carte
The third choice, and many cases, the worst choice is the a la carte shuttle service. You get charged a set amount for every time the shuttle has to transport your guests there and back. This can become very expensive, very fast, so avoid at all costs. The charge for each shuttle run in mid sized cities is usually $50 per round trip. The rate fluctuates depending on distance to the wedding site.
Are there any creative alternatives to hotel shuttles that won’t break the budget?
Here are some additional options:
1- Use a limo for 2 hours before and 2 hours after the wedding. A limo will run you about $500 for four hours and it will be a great experience for your guests.
2- You can rent a large motor coach for around $750 round trip. Or a yellow school bus for $200-300. If you block enough rooms, some hotels will split the cost with you.
And if you don’t like any of the above, try these options
If you are against offering transportation, then provide the telephone numbers of several cab vendors in the area so guests can make their own arrangements to get to the wedding. Towards the end of the wedding, remind folks to start calling cab companies or arrange to get a ride back to the hotel. The disadvantage is that some areas have inexplicably poor cab service late at night.
Friend Or Family Member
Get a friend or a family member to do the rides. Try to rent a van for them to use so they don’t end up using their own transportation. Just make sure to thank them with a special gift at the end. It does not have to be expensive but a little something (a few $5 favors etc.) will go a long way towards showing your appreciation.
Use this option only if you have very few people that need shuttle service. You don’t want to abuse your relationships by having this person drive for 3 hours before the wedding and than 3 hours after.
As we have learned, providing transportation for out of town wedding guests is not a necessity and isn’t expected of you. However, it does add a nice touch as long as you can afford the cost.
What should you do next?
Read about how you can arrange for a shuttle to your wedding venue when you block hotel rooms.