Going the Distance: Traveling between a ceremony and a reception

by epi on April 25, 2012

Q: How far is too far to request attendants to drive to a wedding? And between the place where the ceremony will be held and the reception?

A: Traditionally, transportation for the wedding party is provided by the bride’s and/or groom’s families to the ceremony and from the ceremony to the reception. Furthermore, the bride and groom are expected to provide lodging for their respective attendants if necessary. Therefore, there is no “rule” as to what would be too far to expect attendants to drive if transportation won’t be provided. However, common sense should be your guide. Taking traffic and weather conditions into consideration, no more than 30 minutes would seem reasonable. Nonetheless, it’s a personal choice.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Winifred Rosenburg April 25, 2012 at 10:47 am

Providing lodging for all the attendants doesn’t seem like it should be required to me. Assuming it’s not a destination wedding, the bride and groom aren’t in control of how close the attendants live to the wedding, and if they live far away they would have to get lodging even if they were just a guest so why should the bride and groom have to pay for it? For that matter, unless all the attendants happen to live in the same city it doesn’t seem possible to plan that none of them will have to drive far to the wedding. Yes, transportation should be provided, but generally from one agreed upon location to the ceremony, not from each person’s home.

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Just Laura April 25, 2012 at 10:55 am

I won’t say it’s required, but I did provide my matron of honor with a hotel room in the same hotel in which I was staying. I’ve always felt bad for attendants who have to foot the bill for dress, shoes, hair (sometimes), transportation costs, gifts and hotels – not to mention their time!
I’ve had to do it too, and it can be a drain on a young person’s account. But I don’t discount the expenses of the poor bride either. I went on one of those name-your-own-price sites and secured a 4 star hotel downtown for my attendant for less than most budget motels.

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Alicia April 25, 2012 at 11:35 am

I agree this is an out of date custom in the era of rental cars and friends living all around the country. I’ve been a bridesmaid, moh, or groomswoman 9 times and never once has my lodging or travel been subsidized. The only think I think the couple owes their friends and guests is to provide info about hotels and travel arrangements. So some suggested hotels and the willingness to answer questions. But a guest or attendant should make their own travel arrangements. The exeption being if a limo is dropping people at the ceremoney then you had better either have the limop or someone else pick them up from it.

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Adrea April 25, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Hello! I am having a destination wedding for only close family and friends and an at home celebration two months later for all friends and family. For the people who are invited to both celebrations, I am planning on sending the invitations to both at the same time. When it comes to RSVP cards, should I make one RSVP card for each event, or put both events on the same RSVP card? I’m looking for the proper etiquette, and least confusing way as possible. Thanks!

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Elizabeth April 26, 2012 at 10:48 am

Since invitations are normally sent 6-8 weeks in advance, perhaps even further out for a destination, I would not include a double invite with one RSVP card, because then you’re inviting people 4 months out for the second event, which is too much. Rather, you can include a save-the-date in the destination invite, and then send everyone the same invitation at the proper time for the hometown reception.

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Nathan August 31, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Hello,
My fiancee and I are having our wedding ceremony and reception 35 mins outside the city. We would like for our guests to mostly stay in one hotel in the city, where there’s plenty to do, and then we were thinking of charter-busing our guests (whomever doesn’t want to drive) 35 minutes to the ceremony/reception venue and back again at the end of the night. The Friday night event and Sunday brunch would both be at the hotel in the city.
Is this plan within the realm of acceptable regarding convenience for our guests?

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Elizabeth August 31, 2012 at 6:50 pm

It sounds perfectly lovely. The easiest thing to do would be to include a separate card in your invitation that provides these details. It can list the hotel, its contact information, and your plan to provide chartered transportation to and from the hotel on the day of your wedding. The separate invitations to the rehearsal dinner and the brunch (included on separate cards, but packaged with the invitation) will list those venues and so it will be obvious that they’re in the city and thus near the hotel. This way, you’re showing your guests that you’ve planned something very convenient for them while not forcing them to stay any particular place.

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