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Indian Weddings and Transporting Guests

Indian weddings and transporting guests is one logistical component of the wedding weekend. While it’s definitely not a sexy nor exciting aspect of wedding planning such as buying your clothes and designing the decor, it’s still really important to think through thoughtfully because this will impact the experience of all of your guests.

Many Indian and other South Asian weddings include 1-3 venues:

  1. sangeet/pre-wedding venue
  2. wedding ceremony and reception venue
  3. hotel where guests are staying

How do guests get to-and-from each venue? Do you leave it up to the guests to get to-and-from each venue? Recommend they rent a car? Should you arrange transportation for them? Where do they go when they arrive at the airport? These are all the questions that couples and their families have and this post is going to address this for you.

{Impact on Venue Selection}

You can start to see why and how these logistics impact where you decide to get married. And this is where you start thinking through your priorities. We talk to couples who say they’re optimizing for guest convenience. Others are optimizing for something truly unique. And others are focused on the venue they love and everything else works around that. Everyone is different and everyone has different priorities.

This article will give you a framework to think through the transportation logistics for your wedding.

{Framework For Thought}

These are 3 core questions to ask yourself that will guide your thoughts on how to ensure your guests get to each venue.

  • where are most guests arriving from? Foreign or domestic?
  • venue distance from closest airports
  • where are guests staying for the weekend?

{1. Where Are Guests Arriving From?}

This matters because foreigners might not feel comfortable driving in the United States, especially if they’re from a country that drives on the opposite side.

{Guests from India/South Asia}

Presumably anyone flying in from India or anywhere in South Asia are your relatives and:

  • they’re usually arriving before the majority of guests
  • they probably won’t drive here

So unlike the majority of guests who will fly in and head straight to the hotel on their own, your relatives from abroad:

  • need to be picked up from the airport
  • need somewhere to stay before the wedding
  • need meals/entertainment/transportation before the wedding
  • need transport to each wedding event
  • need post wedding transportation

{2. Venue Distance from the Closest Airports}

This matters because if the venue is only 5 miles from the airport and all of the events are taking place at one venue then guests don’t need to rent a car, as they can just Uber/Lyft.

But what if the wedding venue is 40 or 50 miles from the airport? Then Uber/Lyft are impractical and they’ll have to rent a car.

{3. Where Are Guests Staying for the Weekend?}

Sometimes guests don’t stay at the wedding venue. You see this at Indian weddings at resorts where the room rate might be $300+ per night. Or when the families are hosting the rooms for their relatives and setup a room block at a nearby hotel with lower per night rates.

It’s a no-brainer that the room block should be at a hotel as close as possible to the wedding venue. But how do guests get to-and-from the wedding venue? Going back to the 2nd question – if they rented cars then they can drive themselves to the venue. But what if they didn’t? Then you should arrange a shuttle.

{What Works For Your Wedding?}

South Asian cultures are known for their hospitable nature and often families want to arrange transport for their guests to each venue and wedding event. That’s very thoughtful and since every wedding and family is different we are going to discuss, in detail, common scenarios.

 {Common Scenarios}

Half Destination wedding: one of the two families is local to the venue; and the other side is all arriving from somewhere far.

What most people do:

  • local wedding guests: get to-and-from each venue on their own.
  • relatives from out-of-town: arrange a shuttle from the hotel to-and-from each venue
  • friends: get to-and-from each venue on their own i.e. rent cars/Uber/Lyft

Destination Wedding: everyone will be arriving at the venue from somewhere far, including the couple and their families.

Usually, the entire wedding is at one location so transporting guests to each venue is a moot point. And most guests will arrange their own transportation to/from the airport, train station etc. Ideally the venue(s) are relatively close to the airport.

But if there are multiple venues involved then it depends on the destination.

Example 1: Maui

A wedding was on Maui but inland and a couple hours from where everyone was staying in Wailea. So the couple arranged buses for the guests.

Example 2: Carlsbad

An Indian destination wedding was in Carlsbad which is not Orange County but also not in San Diego, it’s in the middle, and about 40 miles from major airports. They left it up to their guests to arrange their own transportation.

Let’s talk through more transportation logistics of this wedding:

  • The sangeet, wedding ceremony and reception are all at the same venue.
  • Guests are NOT staying at the wedding venue.
  • The venue is far from airports.

They hosted the rooms for all of their relatives at a hotel near the resort where the wedding and reception are taking place. They didn’t host their guests at the wedding resort because it costs more than $300 per night per room.

So how did everyone get from the hotel to the wedding venue? Well as mentioned above, since Carlsbad is about 40 miles from the closest major airports it’s too far to Uber/Lyft, which means guests had to rent a car. And since they rented cars, they drove themselves to the wedding venue — problem solved.

The next question for you to think about is: are you going to host parking at the wedding venue or will your guests pay for it?

Local Wedding: both parties are from the region where the wedding is going to take place and so are the majority of the guests, so they are responsible for getting to-and-from each venue.

{Take Aways}

This article is about Indian weddings and transporting guests. It details ideas to get couples to each venue safely and how to plan the logistics around that.

When you start with your selection and start thinking through how every other aspect of your wedding is impacted, we find that often couples and their families revise their venue criteria. This, of course, depends on where guests are arriving from, how close the venue is to airports and where guests are going to stay for the weekend.

How guests are going to get-to-and-from the place where they’re staying to the sangeet venue and to the wedding venue (if they’re different) impacts what venue you select in the first place.

We find that a lot of people care about guest convenience and don’t want their guests to have to drive long distances, especially if they already took long flights to get there. So think through the transportation details before you sign with a venue.

Other ShaadiShop posts you might like:

Paying for Parking at Indian weddings
Subtle Details That Differentiate Venues for an Indian Wedding
You Just Got Engaged: the 1st Steps to Plan Your Indian Wedding
Things To Look Out For, Before You Sign The Contract for an Indian Wedding Venue

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