6 Steps to a Wedding Shuttle Schedule

How to make The Big Day run smoothly

Many weddings involve out-of-town guests, people staying in different hotels, and guests with special needs.

The result is often a transportation-scheduling nightmare, which can be avoided with a little advanced planning. Lorenz Bus Service has been handling wedding transportation in the greater Twin Cities area and all over Minnesota for many years.

In the interest of starting more marriages off on the right foot, we offer these tips more shuttle scheduling.

  1. Calculate your passenger count

    • Passenger count will determine both vehicle size and shuttle schedule. If you don’t have a good estimate, 2.5 passengers per room within your room block is a good benchmark that typically holds true to ridership.
    • Even if you start with a rough range of guests, it’s better than delaying transportation planning and vehicle selection for too long.

  2. Determine the travel time between hotel & venue

    • The shuttle schedule depends on the time built in for travel between the hotel(s) and the wedding venue(s).
    • Make sure to consider local transportation infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc), time of day, traffic patterns, and local events that could cause delays.
    • Use Google Maps to get travel time estimates based on historical traffic data.
    • Remember that buses are slow to merge and travel 30 to 40% slower than cars.
    • Plan on allowing extra time.

  3. Factor in spot time & loading/unloading time

    • Wedding guests typically view your timeline as a general guideline rather than a schedule.
    • Guests run late for lots of reasons: Socializing with family and friends, taking longer to get on or off a bus, holding the bus for their friends, or running back to their room for a forgotten item. This is why it’s industry practice to build in 15 minutes of spot time.
    • On average, it takes 5-7 minutes to load or unload a bus, and that does not account for the extra time it takes elderly or slow-moving guests. We recommend building in at least 5 additional minutes prior to the event for loading, and 7 minutes for loading post-event shuttles.
    • For service to multiple hotels, add this time in for each stop.

  4. Simplify

    • When there are multiple hotels, locations, and groups, it is best to create a simple schedule. A few reminders:

      • Using multiple buses can be a straightforward solution that keeps everything running on time.
      • Staying focused is necessary. Adding in extra trips to different locations spontaneously is a sure way to get off schedule.
      • Try to let guests know that they should respect the schedule. Sometimes they’ll try to improvise and commandeer use of the vehicles for special stops. Drivers, who don’t always have a direct contact with the group, can be misled.
      • If you have a complex schedule, you’ll want a shuttle coordinator (family member or friend), or a hired event planner to take control of the schedule.

  5. Designate a bus/shuttle coordinator

    • Even if only 10% of the guests have a special need on your wedding day, it can be a lot to manage.
    • A bus/shuttle coordinator will give guests a designated, hands-on contact to ask questions and get answers. This will help keep the schedule on time and spare members of the wedding party from having to handle logistics when they should be having fun.
    • We recommend including the bus/shuttle coordinator’s name and phone number right on the schedule and having this person interface with the driver at the beginning of the day and before each movement at the end of the night.

  6. Determine your vehicle type(s)

    • Pick a vehicle that has adequate capacity and corresponds with the schedule you need.
    • Remember, you can move fewer people with a bigger vehicle but not more people with a smaller vehicle.
    • At the end of the night, it is always good to have a cushion to make sure you can get everyone back to the hotel once the venue closes.

If you’re planning a trip or just doing research, please feel free to contact us at Lorenz Bus Service for a no-obligation, no-pressure conversation with one of our professionals.