Thursday, January 12, 2006

TRANSPORTATION: TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS (PART I: THE BUDDY SYSTEM)


When I think of transportation issues as relates to weddings, I think of Dr. Seuss.

Remember the book, "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" ? It's one of my favorites (particularly the opening verses).

"Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go...."

What I love most about the book is the feeling of freedom and sense of controlling one's own destiny that it inspires.

When it comes to traveling for weddings, guests often feel as if they have NO control, and that they are not necessarily going to what Dr. Seuss would call Great Places. The expenses and inconveniences that arise as a result of transportation issues become a thorn in the side of many guests.

RULE (A): THE BUDDY SYSTEM: DON'T FORCE GUESTS TO FLY (OR RIDE) SOLO

I was invited to a wedding that was held at a reception hall in New Jersey. I was not invited with TallGuy and didn't know anyone who would be attending (except one of the bridesmaids). While it may not seem that traveling from NYC to New Jersey would be a long trip, it was an obscure and expensive location to get to, without access to a car. The only potential scenario that I could envision would be to take a cab or hire a car, which would have cost at least $50-75 each way.

I decided to email my friend Jenny, the bride-to-be, in order to see if she could help me figure out how best to get to her wedding.

Her short response was: "Hey--you could take a subway to the PATH train, and then take a cab once you get to New Jersey. Or you could take a cab from the city or take the ferry. Jessica is also coming, but she's one of my bridesmaids so she'll have to be there early for pictures."

When I thought about what she was telling me to do, I was rather taken aback -- the PATH train!? Perhaps I'm just too high-maintenance, but the thought of getting onto a subway and then onto a train--in my evening dress--seemed ridiculous. Not only that -- the idea of taking a train and a subway BACK--by myself--on a late Sunday evening--was just plain dangerous. Although I'm not a paranoid New Yorker, the idea of going home by myself on a secluded train--in evening attire--drew a major red flag.

I emailed Jenny back, thanked her, and never heard from her/saw her again until her wedding. She didn't email me to ask me if I had figured out travel arrangements. She offered no further suggestions and showed no inclination to check in. As I was not invited with a date (see my previous posts regarding this general issue), I was surprised Jenny expressed such little concern. Given that many of her friends/guests live in NYC and don't have cars--unlike many areas of the country--Jenny should have been more attuned to that situation and should have considered that fact.

THE BUDDY SYSTEM should have come into play here. Since I was not the only guest who would be attending solo, Jenny could have suggested other single or married friends who were driving/cabbing it, which would have helped me both cost-wise and comfort-wise. I didn't want to take a cab myself, because of the cost. I didn't want to take a train by myself, because of the comfort-factor. If Jenny had hooked me up with others in my situation (even if I didn't know them), it would provided myself, and others in the same boat, with more options.

The fact that Jenny didn't provide me with any feasible or cost-friendly options and didn't concern herself with these issues made me realize that I was not a priority (to say the least). Her lack of follow-up (i.e. making sure I had a viable means of getting there) added insult to injury.

Therefore, if you have your wedding somewhere that is inconvenient to any of your guests, think of the BUDDY SYSTEM. If you can suggest travel arrangements with guests who are in similar positions (all going to the wedding by themselves and coming from the city, for example), the expenses to each individual will decrease significantly (i.e. 4 in a cab as opposed to 1 person), and the comfort level will increase greatly as well. (i.e. 4 people traveling on the PATH train together at night as opposed to 1 person).

I'm sure some of you are curious how I ended up getting to the wedding. Much like a 7th grade REC dance, my parents were kind enough to have picked me up and dropped me off.

In order to ensure that your guests won't have to scrounge for travel arrangements, it's important to remember the familiar phrase of SAFETY IN NUMBERS.

Stay tuned for more Rules of the Travel Game, and how to avoid offending your guests in the process....

Stay tuned!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wowee! Some can be inconsiderate.

A friend of mine who's wedding was in the city but reception was an hour's drive away in the country arranged a bus.

This was great for me as I had flown internationally and knew only 1 or two people and definitely did not have access to a car.

Anonymous said...

an HOUR away??? Isn't that a little excessive? Bus or no bus, that's a unforseen time committment that could easily been avoided!

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that you should quote that particular Dr. Seuss book. I have been a wedding videographer for nine years, and just three weeks ago, the best man's toast included quotes from that book. Very coincidental.
As far as travel is concerned, my (soon-to-be)sister-in-law has decided to have it in New York, although most everyone she and her fiance know are here in Florida. Reason? He would never ask his northern relatives to fly HERE, that's just rude in an Italian family. Now, setting aside the fact that pretty much everything will be twice as expensive up there, they are asking about 80% of the guests to fly up north for the day. Seems out of proportion to me.