For vacations, getting there is often half the fun. For weddings, on the other hand, getting there can feel like half the budget. Don't get caught off-balance by transportation expenses. From getting your party rentals to your remote venue, to shuttling yourself and your guests between ceremony and reception sites, unexpected expenses pop up at a moment's notice. Educate yourself about the most common logistical costs of transporting wedding materials so you can plan ahead and construct a budget that includes everything.
Transportation and Fuel
Paying for the wedding isn't everything; you have to get there, too. The more involved you are in your own wedding planning, the more you need to allot to transportation costs. All-in-one package deals usually require only a meeting or two before the big day. Add on trips for venue scouting, cake tastings, dress fittings, and countless other pre-wedding errands, and you're looking at a few tanks of additional gas for the month. If you live in a rural or suburban area, you may even be driving additional miles into nearby cities to find supplies (and yes, bargains) you can't get closer to home.
As that magic moment nears, you need to make sure your location is ready. Set out signs to direct guests along the way and start putting up decorations and supervising the setup of party rentals. Remote wedding venues may be beautiful, but far-away locations equate more driving miles as you add last-minute details.
DIY couples may save money overall, but they usually spend more on transportation costs. Don't forget to add in trips to and from craft supply stores. Venue decorations and table centerpieces can be especially bulky, so don't assume they'll all fit in your car. You may have to rent a U-Haul for the day of your wedding (and the day after the wedding, unless you want to spend your first married night unpacking, cleaning, and returning it), so add that on, too. At the very least, budget for the number of trips you'll have to make in order to get all of your supplies to and from the ceremony and reception sites.
Don't forget that people have to be transported, too. If your ceremony and reception locations are far apart, it's convenient to give your guests a shuttle option. Otherwise, they risk getting lost or not finding parking spots and your proceedings could run late. If you want a limo or other special option for your wedding party, remember that rental companies have strict safety regulations about the number of passengers. If you want to include more than the maximum you'll need to rent larger or additional vehicles.
Delivery and Pickup Fees
Renting a tent sounds like a great idea to keep your guests shaded from sun, but unless you own a big enough truck, how are you going to get it to your site? Delivery fees are easy to forget when you're calculating a wedding budget. The more complicated the transportation, the higher the fees soar. Delivering a multi-tiered cake on a hot summer day, for example, requires refrigeration as well as a secure system that won't allow the cake to move and damage its icing. Unless you have a very unique vehicle setup, you're going to need a professional delivery.
Pickup fees are easy to forget, too. At the end of the night you'll be ready to kick off your shoes and start honeymoon packing, but your wedding venue might have other ideas. How will you get those chairs and tables out so the venue staff can clean? Late night and weekend rental pickups often cost more than daytime pickups, so plan accordingly. Ask your vendors whether pickup, delivery, and setup fees are included in the price–and if they're extra, ask what factors affect the price.
By planning ahead, you can construct a wedding budget that includes everything from renting the equipment to delivering it and getting it safely home again. Don't let unexpected transportation expenses ruin your otherwise balanced wedding budget. With proper preparation, you can get the logistics squared away and get on the road–the road to your honeymoon, that is.