Transportation is my passion. A to B, that’s all transportation is, right?
Make it an experience. It is an experience — it sets the mood for the reception and is a chance for the bridal party to finally loosen up. Make sure you’re prepared and on the same wavelength as your transportation vendor to guarantee you can maximize this experience without wasting time wondering who is going to play the music or locate all potential stops.
1,300+ weddings and counting, we’ve built our business around the wedding transportation business: pre and post wedding shuttles, ceremony to reception bridal party transportation, and bachelor/bachelorette party transportation.
Many brides have the same questions regarding wedding day transportation, so here is an all inclusive guide to make your wedding day transportation seamless:
Choosing your provider.
- Reviews are your friend. Google and Facebook are the most popular in my market. Keep in mind that upset customers are much more likely to write a review than a happy one, but you should be able to get a solid feel for what kind of company you are dealing with.
- Leverage your network. Who else has recently married? Who did they use, and were they happy?
- Gauge the level and reception of communication. This is the most important. If the company doesn’t answer the phone or respond to emails promptly, how much confidence do you have that they will respond to emergencies or last minute contingencies on the day of the wedding. And it is the most reliable indicator in this business regarding who is taking the business seriously and who isn’t. Like they say, communication, communication, communication.
- If their website doesn’t have good interior and exterior photos, make sure to request them. Eliminates any guessing as to what vehicle is going to show up the day of the wedding.
- Want to make sure the company you are working with is safe and legal? You can go here and enter the name of the company or their DOT number and check to make sure that they are Authorized for Passenger transportation.
- What kind of vehicle do you want? A limo? A bus? Traditional or perimeter seating? Limousines still have their place in the industry, but a vast majority of the market is made up with bus services. Once on one, it is easy to see why — they have more room, you can stand up and move about, and they have much higher seat capacities.
- Make sure to book early enough to secure the bus you like. Popular dates and bus combinations are booked out a year in advance.
- Itinerary. I can’t stress this enough: If you know your stops and the order they will be in, itineraries are priceless for your driver. He/she can properly plan a route that is suitable for the vehicle you have rented and also research stops that they may have never been to before. The most seamless trips we do are all driven by an itinerary that has been emailed to us ahead of time. Also, if you have private property stops listed, additional notes regarding where to park/drive/stay off of are always appreciated.
- More about communication: phone calls are great for building a relationship with your vendor and asking general questions, but for planning and changing details of your wedding day, nothing beats written communication via email or even Facebook messenger. This way there is always a line of communication that can be referenced at a later date by both parties. And if you do make detailed changes to your day whether it is location(s) or times, make sure to get confirmation back. Trusted vendors get pounded with emails all day every day, so if you do not get confirmation back, most likely your email got buried. This is why confirmation is important.
- Now is when you need to decide who will be riding the bus between the ceremony and the reception. Will you be allowing plus-ones? Will the photographer and/or videographer be riding the bus? Parents? Friends outside of the bridal party? This information will be the driver behind the size of the vehicle you will need. Try to rent a bus slightly larger in capacity than you need. Room for coolers/flowers/etc is important.
Day of Execution.
- You need someone in charge of music ahead of time. Make sure they get a playlist and bring an auxiliary cord that they know works with their phone/device, or a bluetooth receiver with auxiliary jack that is known to be reliable with their specific phone. Most vehicles will have auxiliary cords and bluetooth compatible cd players in the vehicle, but just to add redundancies and make sure the party goes on, it is better to be prepared.
- Delegate cooler/beverage duty to members of the bridal party. While the bride and groom are going through the receiving line post-ceremony, this is a great time to get the music hooked up and coolers and anything else that is wanted on the bus loaded.
- Lastly, either get the payment out of the way before the day of the wedding, or again delegate. Give the check/cash/gratuity (if applicable) envelope to a member of the wedding party and have them take care of it with the driver. Anything to remove this hassle from your hands, is best.
And finally, this is your day. Go where you want, stop where you want, dance the way you want, and play the music you want. We are there to be at your service. This is what we live for.
Have any other tips? Drop them in the comments below.
The author is co-founder of a diversified transportation company, with limos, motorcoaches, and party buses serving the Midwest. He is also co-founder of Fund-R Technologies, a crowdfunding transportation booking technology that is available for use by any bus company on the planet that cares about their customers’ pain points, and is changing the game on how buses are booked. He loves passenger transportation, seriously.
Want to connect? firstname.lastname@example.org
Edit: Noticeably missing from this piece is price, and it was intentional. Average prices from market to market are vastly different. Transportation is expensive — there is no getting around that. In my experience, I’ve noticed that over time, prices in a particular market become homogeneous, because those that are under-priced realize they aren’t making enough money to cover fixed costs over the long run, and those who are overpriced don’t book enough trips and end up in the same boat as those under-priced. So naturally, the prices all come to the middle. If you find a company in the transportation industry that just seems unnaturally lower than their competition, it should throw an immediate red-flag, because what most of the rate covers is the obscene insurance and license costs, and there is no getting around those, other than simply not having the required insurance and permits (or you are comparing apples to oranges regarding the vehicles you are price shopping).