How do we get people home post wedding
September 10, 2014 1:24 PM   Subscribe

WeddingNYC filter: We are getting married in a month and want to know if it’s a good idea or expected to call a cab company ahead of time and ask for cabs on hand at the end of the event? The venue is far enough out that public transportation is possible, but inconvenient. Details inside.

We’re getting married in a month and are starting to get into transportation details. The wedding is in NYC in Queens and it’s far enough out that the public transit options are inconvenient. We were thinking it might be a good idea to find some way to have cabs on hand post-ceremony, for out of towners (mostly staying in mid-town) and residents (mostly BK and Queens) who don’t want a 2 hour journey involving a LIRR ticket at the end of the night. How does one go about arranging this? Call up a cab company and ask them to send cars down to a specific place at a specific time? Do car services typically charge for the time a driver spends waiting if the car is not for anyone specific? Do they charge for unused cars? Do they balk at ride-sharing in this situation?

tl:dr Is it our responsibility as hosts to have car service cars waiting and available at the end of the night? How does one go about arranging for cabs to be at an out of the way location after an event and is there typically a fee associated with this service if you are the host of said event? Also how do I phrase this request/question when I begin calling car services?
posted by edbles to Human Relations (29 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
No - this is not considered your responsibility. Don't worry about it. At most have a decent car service number available to guests.

If you've organized a block of rooms for folks at one hotel its nice, but not expected that you would provide transport. In that case you want to get a bus.
posted by JPD at 1:28 PM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

When I got married in Brooklyn, we put transportation options up on our website for guests to choose from. That included local car services that we knew and trusted that would do a pick up within 5-10 minutes of a call.

However, most of our guests were either NYC Metro-based and drove, or lived in the city and were fine with taking their own transportation home.

I don't think it's your responsibility to pre-set transportation. I find car services will not stick around and wait for longer than a handful of minutes anyway. If there is service in Queens you trust, just give out the number and let guests know basically how long they will have to wait.
posted by carmenghia at 1:30 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

You might be able to arrange for Uber vouchers to be available. That would certainly be a welcome gift to some people.
posted by Hermione Granger at 1:30 PM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

I don't think you have to pre-arrange; just getting a few numbers and sending them out ahead to people who might need them seems more than generous.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:31 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Seconding everyone who says this is not your responsibility.

But do supply one car service number. If you need suggestions for a few decent ones in northeastern Queens feel free to memail me.
posted by zarq at 1:33 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

I also suspect trying to arrange this ahead of time will be a huge PITA; far more trouble than it's worth, even if it works perfectly. Cab dispatchers are good at dispatching cabs with minimal notice; I don't think they need advance notice unless you need a trillion cars.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:34 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A cautionary tale: at my friend's wedding, my friend, the groom, decided to task himself with the responsibility of being the bearer of the local car service number, which he gave to anyone who asked. Being the groom he was obviously tired, distracted and pretty drunk. The rabbi who officiated the wedding got a lot of weird calls that night.

If you're going to give out car service numbers on the fly at the end, task someone sober with it.
posted by griphus at 1:36 PM on September 10, 2014 [14 favorites]

Best answer: I think griphus's story is reason enough to just print out a nice list of reliable services and post it near the door or put it in a cheap frame and leave on the guestbook table.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:37 PM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

Were it me I would also suggest that people download the Uber app and give them instructions on how to use it along with my referral code, which would give both them and you some free Uber credit for their first ride.
posted by brainmouse at 1:41 PM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]

No, it's not your responsibility, but it's a really nice thing to try and do, at least for out-of-town guests who may be unfamiliar with their options and have already had a lot of travel logistics to figure out.

(I say this is as someone flying to a few of out-of-weddings in big expensive cities this fall.)

I would have some car service numbers handy and maybe book a limo van for one set run if you know there is a critical mass of people staying at the wedding hotel (if you've reserved a block of rooms somewhere).
posted by pantarei70 at 1:41 PM on September 10, 2014

Best answer: We hired a friend of a friend to rent a Grand Caravan and be a general runner during the day (ice, etc) and to give rides at the end. It wasn't especially expensive but we were also only a mile from town.
posted by ftm at 1:43 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think it is your responsibility. I mean, not literally, but you don't want to piss off everyone who is coming to your wedding. Try to arrange something.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:46 PM on September 10, 2014

We hired a school bus to take guests from Manhattan to our suburban wedding, and to bring them back afterwards. It didn't cost much in the grand scheme of things, as I recall.
posted by JimN2TAW at 1:48 PM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

Not entirely the same situation, but we found ourselves with a 35 mile drive between the ceremony location and the reception location. We had blocked off hotel rooms at and near to the reception location, then arranged for a charter bus to pick people up at the reception site, drive them to the ceremony, then take them back to the reception site. This meant that out of towners didn't have to figure out driving (and some were able to skip the rental car.) It also meant that people chatted with each other on the ride to and from, and by the time people got to the reception a bunch of new friendships had been struck, which was pretty cool.

I'm wondering if you have the numbers to just arrange for a busload of people to go back into Manhattan at a certain point?
posted by ambrosia at 1:49 PM on September 10, 2014

I'd either (a) arrange for a bus to take people back to midtown at a set time; or (b) print up cards with transportation info (also put this info on your website if you have one) -- dial 7, carmel, and train info.

Friends who got married on Long Island (but had a huge Manhattan contingent present), asked who would be interested in a bus round trip, with associated cost (they ended up renting a Hampton Jitney). It was around $20-30 per person if I recall correctly, but way less than what a hotel would have been or even LIRR plus cabs. The bride/groom ended up actually riding the bus back into the city with everyone and we had a fun afterparty at a bar near their apartment.
posted by melissasaurus at 2:03 PM on September 10, 2014

Transportation to, from, and between your wedding / cocktail hour / reception is absolutely NOT your responsibility.

It would be nice to list phone numbers of cab companies and public transit options in your invitations. Nice, but not necessary.
posted by tckma at 2:06 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I recently went to a wedding with a shuttle bus between location and points more local. I thought it was a dumb idea beforehand, but actually I used it going both ways and really enjoyed it! Now... that's a little trickier in Queens, I think. If I were going to your wedding (AM I???), I would drive, get a ride with friends, or plan to take Uber (blech) home, in that order. This will not be a huge problem; telling people what to expect is useful in aiding their planning though.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 2:07 PM on September 10, 2014

I was at a wedding this past summer in the 'burbs, and they set up a car service to/from the hotel where most of the out of town guests were staying. Not quite sure how it worked, but there were two vans that drove us to the wedding, and then there was a shuttle van that made about 3 trips back, maybe about 45 minutes apart. OTOH, the bride's family was, well, loaded. I can't imagine it cost a ridiculous amount of money, but it was an added expense.

So, no, not technically your responsibility, but if you have the cash to hire a shuttle van at the very least to/from the main hotel for the evening, let me tell you, as a guest, being able to have a good time without worrying about getting home was *amazing*.
posted by damayanti at 2:12 PM on September 10, 2014

When I got married (in the sticks) our hotel ran a shuttle back and forth at the end of the night.
Made having an open bar less stressful.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 2:52 PM on September 10, 2014

Definitely not expected/necessary for residents. My friends' wedding was in Forest Hills, and local folks managed just fine.
posted by unknowncommand at 2:55 PM on September 10, 2014

If you do have a room block at a hotel (or at hotels), they may have shuttles available. I don't know how that works in NYC, though, but it may be worth asking. Last wedding I went to, it was the sort of thing we had to call and wait, but it was free (although we tipped the driver) with our rooms (at least, that's my memory of it).

I do think having a shuttle that picks up and drops off at certain times for certain costs is a nice thing to do. Otherwise, have cab/car service numbers available. I'm sure enough other people will be able to arrange/plan for their own transit, but it would be a nice thing to have for the people who don't want the hassle.

It's not absolutely necessary, though, no.
posted by darksong at 2:55 PM on September 10, 2014

Best answer: Last year at a wedding in the beautiful Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn it was assumed that all of the wedding guests would be capable of calling a car service for themselves at the end of the night. A terrible rainstorm basically played havoc with this simple assumption stranding many guests. Uber wasn't responding - plus had that crazy surge pricing. Car services weren't even answering the phone. It would have been a very far and miserable walk to public transportation in your finest wedding attire in the pouring rain while you had imbibed maybe too much and also definitely not really so safe.

If you are thinking about it and you could afford it and you know when the wedding will be over and you think your guests might be more than a little hammered and if there is a hint of rain - this would be a very nice thing to do.
posted by rdnnyc at 2:57 PM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

Alternatively, you could suggest to your guests that they might want to pre-order their car if you know when the DJ or what have you is going to shut down the party. Pre-ordering a car in the boroughs is what I do when I think there might be car service congestion for any reason.
posted by rdnnyc at 3:01 PM on September 10, 2014

Best answer: I don't think you're responsible but it might be nice. As others have noted depending on the weather / night of the week it may be hard or expensive for guests to get cabs. You could try to facilitate carpooling if some are driving. I think a shuttle to a central location might be nice. Some of this may also depend on the venue - will they be ok with your guests sticking around longer if they can't get a cab?
posted by oneear at 3:23 PM on September 10, 2014

Why are you only asking about the end of the night? How did these people get to the wedding in the first place? Can't they travel back home the way they got there?

If the people are people in your wedding party that you transported to the venue in a limo or bus, then you should help out with getting them home or to their hotel. Otherwise, everyone is on their own.
posted by NoraCharles at 3:46 PM on September 10, 2014

There are definitely some answers here that are from non-NYC folks — ignore them: expecatations differ in other locations. Anyways, if you have a big city contingent, having some thought for them is very kind. And I think arranging a shuttle bus is probably the safest and kindest option, even if you have them pay. But yes, car service numbers is a baseline utility. And depending how far the LIRR is, you may want to even list the train times closest to ending. But bus.

Because think about it this way: a bus means people who would leave earlier because of the train trek are much likelier to say and play even longer!
posted by dame at 3:53 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

If someone did this for a wedding I attended, I would be both very surprised and extremely grateful. Mostly because I live in a city where taxis are super-sketchy and hard to get, and I've had trouble getting one to pick me up after an event. It would be so great to have one standing by. But again, very unexpected and not at all something I think it's your obligation to do.
posted by Stacey at 3:53 PM on September 10, 2014

Best answer: You can rent a bus, van, or limo with driver to shuttle people from a central location to the event and back. I've done this with friends for winery tours before and it was great.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:19 PM on September 10, 2014

Response by poster: Cool. Thanks for all the responses. There's no main hotel block and the ceremony and the reception are in the same location. We're going to see how possible it is to give a friend some money to be a runner during the day and then to drive 2 vanloads to central transportation hubs at the end of the night, so no one's waiting on a street corner drunk at 12am for a bus that may or may not be running on a limited weekend/holiday/just-because-the-MTA-felt-like-it schedule and definitely post car service names and possibly LIRR schedules somewhere near the guestbook, as well as updating the website and sending e-mails in advance. Thanks zarq for the specific recommends on car service companies. I'm not super comfortable recommending Uber, not having used it myself, but maybe we'll download it and check it out in advance. Thanks again guys!
posted by edbles at 8:12 AM on September 11, 2014

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