Be shocked. Many recently married couples say the hardest thing to plan for in their Big Day was not the catering. It wasn’t organising the invitations and RSVPs either. I wasn’t even balancing all the conflicting family expectations. No – for many newlyweds the biggest headache was guest transport. Sure, transport for the wedding VIPs – the bridal party and immediate family – seems simple enough: hire some limos and keep the drivers handy. But what about the others? It could be 20 or 50 or 250 excited, emotional and perhaps tipsy friends, family and well-wishers who all need to be coordinated and scheduled to get to certain places at certain times. It’s a considerable challenge. Modern weddings are often tightly scheduled affairs because there is a lot to pack in and the only person allowed to be late on the big day is the bride!
Professional wedding guest transport
Couples and wedding planners Australia-wide are increasingly relying on professional guest transport via charter buses. It goes hand-in-hand with the long trend towards weddings held out of the city in natural places or rustically themed venues. Generally, there are two big moves for the day:
- Getting everyone to the ceremony venue on time
- Getting them back on the bus and to the reception.
In some weddings, transport is left up to guests, but with large weddings this can easily lead to car-pooling nightmares. Plus, if your wedding is to be in a rural setting you’ll find the local town may only have 1 or 2 taxis total. Or none at all! Guests can really be stranded when receptions wrap up late at night. Guest transport, like anything with weddings, is best left to experienced professionals. It’s the minimal stress option; besides, they do multiple weddings each month.
Keeping in communication
It’s crucial your transport provider is kept in the loop for how things are progressing through the day. The best “transport liaison officer” you can have is someone in the wedding party on the bride’s side but who isn’t her main emotional support person. Often, this will be one of the parents or one of the more business-minded bridesmaids. Because each stage of the wedding day depends on the bride’s movements – especially the commencement of the ceremony and the duration of the wedding photos session – her movements essentially govern guest transport logistics. If the charter bus is caught in traffic, the driver needs to be able to contact the “TLO” and let the bridal party know it can hang back. Imagine the bride being on time … to an empty chapel.
Enough to go around
How many seats do you need? More than you think – especially if you have multiple vehicles. It’s a simple fact that wedding guests form clumps of good friends and close family that will want to hang out together and travel together. The expected “cliques” will change throughout the day. Further, guests who had planned to drive themselves or catch a lift with someone will have changes of plan at the last minute. So, if you book two 25-seat minibuses for exactly 50 guests, there’s every chance you’re going to run into trouble.
Drive yourself drawbacks
Professional wedding guest transport also addresses one of the most serious problems that can arise when wedding guests are left to fend for themselves in getting around: drink driving. Most Aussie weddings include freely available alcoholic refreshments. It’s just part of the culture. Even if someone is monitoring their levels, it is all too easy to go over the limit (exactly how much champagne are in the bellinis or mimosas the waiters are carrying on trays?). When no one has to worry about driving, everyone can relax into the party vibe. Yes, provided transport also helps manage the stress levels of your guests too. Consider this. You have 150 guests and the average car seats between 2 and 4 comfortably. Therefore, if they’re all driving or catching lifts, you’re looking at perhaps a 50-car convoy. When they all descend on the same place at once it’s a recipe for parking chaos. Also consider that grandparents and senior citizens will often have disabled access parking requirements and there are likely to be quite a few of them to accommodate.
Charter a bus, don’t catch one
One thing to comes up surprisingly often in weddings is that guest expect to use public transport to get around. While seeing people dressed to the nines on a suburban train on a Saturday morning isn’t too uncommon, we advise against this. While it can be okay for smaller urban weddings, most wedding these days are intentionally held in areas that are tranquil and removed from the everyday hustle and bustle. Often, these will be places your guests have never been before that have spotty weekend public transport. Do you really want to take that risk when your ceremony is at an adorable country chapel, the reception is at a boutique winery 25km away and no one is 100% certain on how long the connection takes or what to expect when they get there? A professional wedding guest transporter will have already worked it all out.
A perfect wedding, running like clockwork
Your wedding guest transport provider will get everyone to the reception on time and in the right spirits to make it a memorable event. And sometimes even then the transporter’s job is not done. If you are having a destination wedding (another big recent trend), your transport provider will be available after all the festivities to make sure your guests get back to their hotels safely. Fair to say, leaving it to the experts give you one less thing to worry about. When guests know that they don’t have to think about what’s going on, where they have to be, designated drivers or parking it lets them relax into the true spirit of the day and make your wedding as special as it deserves to be.