Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Valeting, Parking, Shuttling, and other icky logistics

On the PRO list of getting married in SoCal
  • Weather
  • Unique venues
  • Access to top vendors
On the CON list of getting married in SoCal
  • Parking
  • Parking
  • Oh, yeah, and the cost of everything (including renting a parking lot, shuttles, or providing valet)
If you have a beautiful venue that has a parking lot close enough for your guests to easily self park and jaunt over to your ceremony/reception site, thank your lucky stars. You are blessed, my friend. For all of the other brides and grooms out there, I feel your pain.

Many of the most beautiful sites out here don't have parking on site. Most sites do have access to a parking lot that you can rent, though. If you are having your wedding in your home or another home that has never hosted a large party before, you have to scout out a place to park your guests. Many times, churches/temples and schools are your best bet as they are closed on Saturdays/Sundays  and could really use the money that renting their lot out will get them.

Once you have the place that your guests will park, how will they get to your venue? Will they be shuttled over? Or will they valet at the venue with the valets parking the cars in the rented lot?

If they are shuttled over, how many people can the shuttles accommodate? How many minutes (with traffic) is the venue from the lot round-trip? What time will staff be arriving for set up? How many shuttles are you renting? Have you  put a generous time buffer from what time the invitation says for guests to arrive to the time that the ceremony will start? You need to estimate this travel time on the overall timeline of the day.  Make SURE that you have a shuttle running all evening as elderly guests, parents with children, or guests who are not feeling well will need to leave early. The later it gets in the evening there needs to be a designated person (usually the coordinator) to coordinate the timetable of the shuttles. If the wedding ends at 10:00 PM in Malibu and the parking lot is a 25 minute round trip, you cannot have shuttles with only 1 or 2 people after 9:00 PM leave. So early shuttles have to be filled to an extent to make the end of the wedding transfer efficient. The last thing you want at the end of the wedding are 60 guests on a mountain top and only 2 shuttles that fit 50 people. At that point, everyone wants to go home and a 25 minute wait time for those 10 people will feel like 10 years.

If the above doesn't sound tricky enough, the weddings that entail a parking lot shuttle for local guests AND out of town guests shuttling out from hotels up to 45 minutes away (read: Malibu weddings) are even harder. Throw Saturday beach traffic in that mix and you have the recipe for a disaster unless you have someone logistically strong at the helm. 

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