SoCal Traffic & Your South Asian Wedding: Tips to Avoid Delays

When I first moved to the SF Bay, I would laugh when I heard my Californian counterparts complain about sitting in traffic for 30 minutes. For Southern Californians that’s an AMAZING day!

I’ve been to South Asian weddings in Southern California where the ceremony was delayed because the traffic was so bad that the majority of guests hadn’t arrived! For couples planning their beautiful, Indian, Pakistani or any South Asian wedding don’t overlook the impact of traffic.

SoCal is S P R E A D out.
Guests flying in for the wedding often consider all of SoCal as ‘LA’ – regardless of whether the wedding is in Dana Point, Riverside Westlake Village. Many people don’t realize spread out it is and how it can easily take 2-3 hours to get from one place to another.

Brides, grooms, uncles and aunties – we strongly recommend educating your out-of-town guests pretty early on. There are a number of cute and fun ways to do this:

  1. wedding website – post transportation and travel instructions on your wedding website. But if you’re lagging on getting the site up and running, then…
  2. add an additional insert into the invitations. Be sure to include the closest airports, best ways to get to the wedding venue (In SoCal your options are basically Uber or rent a car or if your venue has a shuttle. As we all know, South Asian weddings are hospitable and family affairs so many families arrange shuttles for guests, especially if many guests are arriving at the same time.) If the sangeet and wedding venues are not close to each other, it’s a good idea to let your guests know as well as let them know if you’re arranging transportation to/from each venue.Note: On ShaadiShop you can see the 3 closest airports to the venue, the distance, and the approximate drive time there You can also see whether the venue offers an airport shuttle.

{South Asian Weddings During the Summer}

In SoCal it seems like it’s always wedding season but the summer is especially popular. There’s a definite uptick in traffic…everywhere as people come from all over the world for holiday. If you can, try to incorporate that into your wedding schedule.

A few things you can do:

  • find out if there are any events in the area, on your wedding day that might clog traffic, and let your guests know.
  • make cocktail hour the time buffer. Consider having a 1.5 hour cocktail hour instead of the traditional hour. Keep-in-mind, that means the guests that arrived on time will be drinking more before the reception starts.
  • suggest a departure time to your guests. Group guests by where they’ll be arriving from and send each group a an email with a suggested departure time, especially if there’s an event happening nearby on your wedding day i.e. if you’re getting married at the J.W. Marriott in downtown LA on the day of a Lakers game at the Staples Center or if you’re getting married at the Waterfront Beach Resort, or Hyatt Huntington Beach on July 4th, when they have the annual parade on Pacific Coast Highway.

Weekday Peak traffic times:
7a-9:30a & 4p-7p
Recently, the wedding I went to had the mehndi on Thursday night near the Getty Museum in LA. I was driving from mid-OC. Even though it started at 7p, I waited until 7:30p to leave home; got there by 8:30p and there was hardly any traffic.

Summer/December Holidays:
Summer in SoCal attracts people from around the globe. Couples getting married in coastal cities, in particular, we advise budgeting a little extra time (30 minutes) in your schedule for traffic. Sometimes the entrance/exit off the freeway is what sucks a ton of time.

Special Events:
There are loads of events happening in SoCal, ALL the time. Visit the city’s website and ask your venue’s catering manager about any large events taking place on your wedding weekend that could impact traffic in the area. Couples getting married at convention hotels/resorts this is particularly important for you!

Traffic comes in all sorts:
One wedding I attended was delayed because the valet was backed up. It was summer, at a popular resort, with valet-only. All 400 guests arrived around the same time, straining the valet. So everyone was at the venue, but waiting to have their cars taken care of.

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