Year-round comfortable weather, jaw-dropping historic locations, and oceanic views for days—San Francisco has so much to offer the modern bride and groom. It also presents some challenges to be aware of as you plan wedding transportation. Think Lombard Street during high-traffic tourist season. This guide will help you navigate the twists and turns of wedding transportation with insider tips that’ll get you organizing like a pro.
Do you need a bus for your wedding?
When planning a wedding (especially if you’ve decided to skip the wedding planner), it’s easy to get swept up in floral arrangements, ring bearer bow ties, and three-tiered cakes. Wedding transportation just doesn’t sound as fun, so it often gets swept aside. Don’t let it!
A wedding bus rental can be arranged to shuttle guests from the airport, take guests from the ceremony to the reception, bring guests from a parking lot to the main event, or get everyone to a remote location. You can even rent a minibus or school bus for your bachelor or bachelorette party, bridal shower, engagement party, or Sunday brunch. Once you start thinking about the possibilities of wedding bus rentals, a whole world of options opens up.
Coach bus rentals hold four times as many passengers as stretch limos. Treat all your guests like VIPs by arranging their transportation on a comfortable, fully-equipped coach bus.
How far in advance should you book wedding transportation?
Rent your wedding bus as soon as you book your venues. At the very minimum, book your wedding bus rental six months in advance. If you book your bus early, you’ll avoid the price surging that occurs as bus availability dwindles. Bus.com lets you book your bus and wait to pay until 21 days before departure—perfect for the bride who’s searching for the best deal! (Psst! That’s what Bus.com is all about.) As you decide when to take the bus rental plunge, consider San Francisco’s specific time challenges. Graduation season runs from April to June. That’s prime time for bus rentals so you’ll want to beat the crowd by booking early. Also consider that September and October are the most popular months for SF weddings. If your event coincides with any of these months, give yourself some extra time.
How much should a San Francisco charter bus cost?
That depends on the bus type you choose, the size of your guest list, when you book your bus, and for how long. The average coach bus costs about $115 per hour. Prices will vary based on the time of year and when you book. It sounds steep, but when you take into account how many people that covers and compare that to other forms of wedding transportation, it becomes easier to swallow. Limos cost a similar hourly rate but only hold one fifth the amount of passengers.
Lots of brides spend too much time researching individual bus companies to find the best price. Bus.com’s booking tool does that work for you. The quote covers the driver’s industry standard gratuity, time, accommodations, and applicable taxes. This allows you to budget your wedding transportation armed with all the information you need.
Choosing the right wedding bus rental for out-of-town guests
Imagine this: Your guests step off the plane at SFO armed with their luggage and an address. They’re faced with a few options: either shell out for an airport taxi or limousine (yeesh!), rent a car and navigate SF’s winding streets, or take the BART and try to figure out its elaborate pricing system. Instead, you could cover their transportation for the weekend with a San Francisco charter bus. They’ll feel like royalty when a shiny coach bus picks them up from the airport. If more than 20 guests are flying in, rent a coach bus in San Francisco for its extra luggage space and wifi. If you’re traveling with fewer than 20 guests, rent a minibus. Just make sure you have enough space for everyone’s bag.
If you are looking to escort your wedding party to and from the venue as quickly and comfortably as possible, it may be worthwhile to consider renting a sprinter van. Bus.com offers luxury sprinter van rentals for small groups of fewer than 15 individuals.
Planning a wedding guest shuttle
It’s no secret. San Francisco can be a little pricey. To cut down on your venue budget, you may want to step out of town for your reception, ceremony, or both. But don’t think that going rural means roughing it! The Bay area and surrounding towns are full of luxury resorts, vineyards, and natural wonders. Take Napa Valley, for instance. It is world renowned wine country and it’s just a an hour-and-a-half bus ride from SF. If you’re planning a shuttle between Napa wedding venues that are less than 15 minutes apart, you can use the same bus and have the driver do multiple trips. If the distance is longer, you may want to rent a second bus and have the drivers do rotating trips. This, of course, all depends on the number of guests you invite.
Let your guests know about your wedding bus
Your guests can’t take advantage of your expertly planned wedding transportation if they don’t know about it. Once you’ve organized your wedding bus rental, sing it loud and sing it proud! Splash that itinerary onto all your wedding communication platforms. Send your RSVPs with a question about whether or not your guests require a seat on the bus to the venue or from the airport. That way you can get an accurate headcount early. But be sure to include extra seats for stragglers. There will always be an uncle or plus one who can’t get it together to RSVP.
Put your wedding transportation plan up on your wedding website so that guests can refer to it at any time.
Making sure everything goes smoothly on the day of the wedding
Wedding logistics are notoriously stressful, so try to eliminate that from your plate. It’s not the bride and groom’s job to arrange seating on the big day. They’re too busy creating beautiful, romantic moments to remember forever and ever. Hand-off the itinerary and coordination to a hired wedding coordinator or a member of the bridal party. Many bridesmaids and groomsmen will be happy to help! This is the perfect task for an eager best man or maid of honour.
A few final tips:
Add 15 minutes to every time estimate for traffic and chit-chatty guests. Getting people to sit down when they’re catching up with distant relatives is harder than you’d think. Also, when planning your route, be aware of San Francisco’s major parades. For example, the Chinese New Year Parade in February and the Pride Parade in June. Oh, and don’t take a bus on Lombard Street. Just don’t.