Wedding Day Decisions: To Shuttle, Or Not To Shuttle?
Something I noticed as a DJ assistant (and now as a DJ myself) is that all of the DJ/MC's here at Sound In Motion sign off after every wedding with the same phrase and sentiment: “...get home safely.” It's not just a formality, but a genuine reminder that we have been celebrating tonight, and depending on your level of “celebration” you may not be able to safely drive your car home. This, (and a few other factors we'll discuss later) is the reason that shuttles are becoming more and more popular at today's weddings.
I am at unique position to address the topic of wedding day transportation, because before I was a DJ/MC for Sound In Motion I worked for a wedding shuttle/transportation company that serviced most of the venues in Santa Cruz County. The necessity of wedding day transportation varies depending on the venue, the number of guests invited, and a few other factors; so when perspective clients are inquiring about the need for shuttles/transportation at their wedding/event, I usually ask them to weigh the following concerns:
Is there enough parking at your venue?
This is a very common reason for booking wedding shuttles, some venues are limited with their parking capacity and may require you to book a shuttle service if there isn't enough parking at the venue for the amount of guests you have invited.
Do you have a lot of guests traveling from out of town?
If so, and they are not staying at the venue, then you may want to book a shuttle service for an easier wedding day. Many out-of-town guests will not have vehicles, and for those that do it can be difficult to navigate the roads in a new area. Most shuttle companies will pick up at multiple hotel locations, making it easier to get all of your guest to the venue safely.
What type of road is your venue on?
As a wedding shuttle driver servicing the Santa Cruz area, most of our bookings came from one of two reasons: one, that the venue doesn't have enough parking; and two, that the venue is up a very long and windy road, and they didn't want to subject their wedding guests to the drive. The Santa Cruz Mountains offer some of the most beautiful and scenic wedding venues around, but scenery comes at a price. In order to achieve an awe-inspiring view you'll need to be at an elevated vantage point, which usually means traveling up narrow, winding roads. Taking this stress off of yours, and your guest's laps can be well worth the price of booking a shuttle service.
Other Common Questions When Booking A Shuttle:
Do I have to pay the shuttle company for the time during the wedding? The answer is typically no. Most shuttle companies will charge you as so: 2 hours of shuttling time before the wedding (1:00pm-3:00pm, for example) and then 2 hours of return trips after the wedding (10:00pm-12:00am, for example). This can really help cut down on the cost of the shuttle booking.
How many shuttles should I book? The average shuttle van is considered a 15 passenger van, but that includes the driver, and you can only fit 14 people if you squeeze 4 in the back seat, so for practicality's sake the van transports 13 guests per trip. So if the round trip from the hotel to the venue is only 20 minutes and you have 60 guests who need shuttling, then you can conceivably hire one shuttle van. In reality, most weddings will require 2 vans due to the size of the wedding and the distance of the venue to the pick-up location. These are all details you will work out with the shuttle company, so before you call for a quote I would have the simple logistics ready: # of guests, venue address, hotel(s) address(es).
The reason that myself and all of the other Sound In Motion DJ's I observed, sign off the night with a reminder to get home safely, is that just as we were hired to facilitate the fun, it is also our responsibility to ensure everyone remains safe after the fun stops. While not necessary for every wedding, having shuttles standing by to safely drive your guests home after your event gives you a peace of mind that is worth the price of booking. Every guest at your wedding is considered “precious cargo”, so ensuring a safe trip home is invaluable.
Hope this helps you. :)