Should We Give Guests the Option of Driving to Our Wedding?
Whether you should give your wedding guests the option to drive to your wedding will depend on a number of factors that are personal to your specific event, your concerns about safety risks, and your venue. If you're uncertain which makes the most sense for your big day—letting guests drive or requiring everyone to arrive and depart via provided transportation—consider these important points.
Know that providing transportation is the safest option, but it can be costly.
Safety should be your first priority when planning a wedding, and providing transportation that guests are required to take to get to and from the venue is always the safest option. Wedding planner Virginia Edelson of Bluebird Productions says, "We almost always recommend requiring transportation to and from a wedding. This is primarily from a massive safety concern we have about drinking and driving. Exceptions to the rule do exist, like guests who don't drink, but I find it's safest and smoothest to control guests' arrivals and departures, and limit exposure to unsafe situations."
With that being said, this is also your most expensive option. If you haven't budgeted for transportation from the start of the planning, the costs can come as a shock. Many shuttle companies charge upwards of $100 per hour per vehicle, with some charging $200 or more per hour. Price out different options to see what might work for you, and be sure to leave room in the budget for this expense.
Allowing guests to drive themselves could result in staggered arrivals.
Edelson says one of the advantages of providing transportation is that you can control the timing of guest arrivals. Rather than needing to allow a 30-minute window for guests to arrive at their leisure, park or valet, and get settled into the ceremony area, you can get started with the wedding as soon as the final shuttle arrives.
While some guests might prefer the flexibility of driving, others might be disappointed if there are no transportation options.
Many guests will be happy to have transportation taken care of so that they don't have to think about driving, parking, directions, and restrictions on their wine consumption. However, Edelson says, "Some guests may not be very happy about being unable to drive, but they can consider taking car service or Uber if they refuse the organized transportation."
If you do allow guests to drive, make sure you have parking figured out.
Many venues don't have organized parking structures, and this can make guest parking a challenge to coordinate. Some couples will go so far as paying a fee to a local community center to use their parking then shuttle guests from there to the venue; others might choose to arrange a valet setup that requires multiple staff to manage. Though valet services are likely to be more affordable than shuttle rates, skipping this hassle is almost always a pro.