Wedding Etiquette Forum

Venue Proximity to Airport

I am in the beginning stages of planning our wedding and we are looking into venues right now. I am struggling with deciding where to have the ceremony and reception as about 50% or more of our guests will be coming from out of town. Most of my FI's side will be traveling internationally or from the east coast. My side will be coming from the east coast, and scattered throughout the west coast, as well as our friends coming from our hometown in Northern Cali.

For anyone that has experience with out of town weddings, how important do you think it is that the venue is close to a major airport? Right now we have only been looking at venues that are within 1-1.5 hours drive of a major airport. However, I have my eye on some venues that are closer to 2-3 hours from an airport! Is it too much to ask guests to fly and then drive that distance?

Any help is appreciated! Thanks!
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Re: Venue Proximity to Airport

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
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    I don't know that the distance from the airport is as important as that there is local transportation to get the guests to and from the airport, their hotels or lodgings, and the ceremony and reception sites.  I think it's a somewhat higher priority that their lodgings and the wedding venues not be too far away from each other-probably 30 to 45 minutes at the outside.
    SP29PrettyGirlLostXrebeccaX
  • Agree with Jen; for me the more important thing is how easy is it to get around once I'm to the location. Are there ceremony, reception, and lodging all close by (within walking distance or have a shuttle between them) or do I have to rent a car and drive around an area I'm unfamiliar with.
    I am in the beginning stages of planning our wedding and we are looking into venues right now. I am struggling with deciding where to have the ceremony and reception as about 50% or more of our guests will be coming from out of town. Most of my FI's side will be traveling internationally or from the east coast. My side will be coming from the east coast, and scattered throughout the west coast, as well as our friends coming from our hometown in Northern Cali.

    For anyone that has experience with out of town weddings, how important do you think it is that the venue is close to a major airport? Right now we have only been looking at venues that are within 1-1.5 hours drive of a major airport. However, I have my eye on some venues that are closer to 2-3 hours from an airport! Is it too much to ask guests to fly and then drive that distance?

    Any help is appreciated! Thanks!

    PrettyGirlLost
  • I don't have any interest in flying across the country then driving 3 hours. If you were having if in your hometown which happens to be in the middle of nowhere, sure, but if you're just picking a nice venue, pick a closer one! Usually for a west coast wedding I'm leaving the east coast after work Friday, landing near midnight west coast time, and flying back Sunday at midday. I just don't have time to add on 6 hours of driving for no reason, and having to rent a car significantly increases my expenses.
    [Deleted User]AprilH81hashtag43016MairePoppy
  • I agree with @Jen4948 and @STARMOON44 . H and I went to a wedding last summer where the closest airport was about 2.5 hours from the venue, and there was no inexpensive lodging except camping anywhere near the venue (there were some B&B's, but they were pretty expensive and filled up quickly). To be honest, it was a pain in the ass. The closest cheap hotel was about an hour from the venue via windy mountain roads (including about 20 minutes down a dirt road). So H stayed sober and we ended up leaving the reception kind of early, as we didn't want to be driving on mountain roads late at night. And then we had to drive 1.5 hours first thing in the morning to catch our flight. It wasn't awesome.

    Had there been reasonably priced lodging near the venue, it would have been way less of a hassle, and we would have stayed much later at the reception. I don't think having to drive 1-1.5 hours from the airport to the venue is that big a deal, but I would make sure there is sufficient lodging near the venue and, if possible, transportation options from the airport (other than rental cars).
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  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited September 2015
    I don't have any interest in flying across the country then driving 3 hours. If you were having if in your hometown which happens to be in the middle of nowhere, sure, but if you're just picking a nice venue, pick a closer one! Usually for a west coast wedding I'm leaving the east coast after work Friday, landing near midnight west coast time, and flying back Sunday at midday. I just don't have time to add on 6 hours of driving for no reason, and having to rent a car significantly increases my expenses. BOX BOX BOX!
    Agree with the bolded. I have to be very close to you to make an effort to get to the middle of nowhere. 
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    MairePoppy
  • anjemonanjemon Minnie and Paul (MN) member
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    I would probably balk at having to drive a couple of hours after my very long international flight. It inconvenient and I'm usually tired and just want to be done.

    But I agree with PP's. If you're putting the venue location in your hometown or current town, I would be more likely to understand. If you're just picking venues that are nice looking, I'd look closer to the airport. And double agree with shuttles and hotels being close to the venue. Those are things I always look for when I attend weddings and many international people might not be able/willing to drive a car in the US.
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    [Deleted User]
  • I probably wouldn't rent a car to go to a wedding unless it's immediate family or a best friend or if you're throwing a wedding somewhere I am actually planning on vacationing soon, which is highly unlikely. I would fly and then take a cab so if it's further than a half hour I'm probably skipping... 

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  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited September 2015
    My location was about 2-2.5 hours from the closest airport.  About 25% of the guests had to fly.  The other  75% were 3-5 hours from the location.  The wedding was 100% OOT for all guests.

    We had a 84-85% acceptance rate.  Those who declined would have declined anyway.  ETA - very few of those who declined fell into the 25% that needed to fly group_    Had I had the wedding where my parents lived it would have been 3+ hours from the nearest airport.

    I while I technically live 20 minutes to the nearest airport,  a lot of people include myself, pick Denver to fly in/out of.   The cost difference can be in the thousands of dollars.  For example Aspen to the island $2300 EACH.  Denver to the islands $895  for BOTH of us. Nearest airport isn't always the best option.  

     IDK, that far of a drive would not deter me from attending a wedding.    The who and time of year have more of an impact on if we will travel or not.  The where has an impact, but more if I would want to go to the location, not if it's far from an airport.  For example I've never been to Napa Valley.  Have always wanted to go.  I would totally drive an additional 3 hours to see friend's wedding if it meant I got to cross off something on my bucket travel list too.







    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • snowywintersnowywinter member
    250 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper
    edited September 2015
    I'm having this same issue and I decided to pay for a shuttle to bring all my guests to the venue and then return to pick them up in the morning to take them back to the airport. This will be a logistical nightmare because it makes me have to coordinate for shuttle times so that no one is waiting at the airport for too long and it costs a lot of money (especially if I have to hire two shuttles if I can't coordinate everyone's arrival times). But if they're going to pay the money and fly all the way out here for my wedding, I can save the money and spend less on flowers or DJ.


  • I would not want to fly somewhere and then drive for 2-3 hours on top of that unless I just happened to be going to someone's hometown and even then I'm not sure I would do it.  I can't actually think of any time I've flown somewhere and then drove another 2-3 hours and it would take a very special person for me to want to do it again.


    if half your guests are flying in I think having something more convenient to the airport would be the right thing to do. and also make sure there are hotels near the venue too or at least easy transportation

  • labrolabro Hotlanta member
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    It wouldn't matter to me as long as I had the budget to go. If at the time I knew I wouldn't have the funds for a flight/hotel/car rental, then I'd have to decline. But I've done multiple weddings now where I've flown in to a major airport or the closest airport with affordable flights, and then driven 2-3 hours to get to the town the venue was located in.



  • We had a similar issue, many internationally flying guests. To arrive to the venue most guests used Uber from the airport (which was about an hour away with traffic, not so long in distance but the NY-metro traffic can be crazy). However, since we knew that most were staying 2+ nights, we provided all of the transportation for the entire time they were participating in wedding-related events, i.e. all OOT guests were invited to the rehearsal dinner - we paid for a shuttle, to and from the nearest hotels to the venue we provided a shuttle, the day after we had a breakfast brunch - again, shuttle. We felt that since people were travelling so far to be with and celebrate with us, that while they were in our company we would take care of everything to make it as comfortable as possible.
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  • I also agree with Jen that I would prioritize accessibility of transport to the venue from the airport and lodgings (at a reasonable price) over the amount of time from an airport itself. Airports tend to be located in large cities, so unless you're getting married IN the city, I don't think that something that is reasonable to control for. 

    It would be nice to limit the drive from the airport, but what is determining your location? If you are getting married where you live, and you happen to live 3 hours away from an airport, I think that is reasonable that your wedding will be a drive. If you are picking a venue 3 hours away because it is pretty, I might reconsider that. We did choose to have our wedding in our hometown despite living in another province because overall it meant less guests would need to travel. 

    Myself- my response to attending would depend on how close I am to the B&G, my finances and time off work. I would not decline just because I had to drive in addition to flying. DH and I can find ways to turn anything into a fun trip ;)

    We had friends get married in Ladysmith B.C. (small town on Vancouver Island); this was the B&G's hometown. There are 2 options for flying (either Victoria, on the island, or Vancouver, on the mainland). Either one requires driving. We ended up turning the wedding into a long weekend for us. Visited friends in Vancouver (where we flew into), took a ferry to the island, then rented a car to drive the rest of the way with an overnight hotel stay on the island. Reversed the travel to get back to Vancouver. It was fun! (for us). 
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Distance from airport to wedding venue isn't as important to me as distance from lodging to wedding venues.  You can almost always get a free shuttle provided by your hotel, from the airport to your hotel and back.

    But depending on where the hotels are located in relationship to your venue, I might need to rent a car rather than take a taxi, Uber, etc.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    kvruns said:

    I would not want to fly somewhere and then drive for 2-3 hours on top of that unless I just happened to be going to someone's hometown and even then I'm not sure I would do it.  I can't actually think of any time I've flown somewhere and then drove another 2-3 hours and it would take a very special person for me to want to do it again.

    if half your guests are flying in I think having something more convenient to the airport would be the right thing to do. and also make sure there are hotels near the venue too or at least easy transportation

    Unfortunately, there are only so many airports, so this is not really a practical solution, especially if one doesn't live close to an airport or there are no good venues near the airport.
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
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    Jen4948 said:
    kvruns said:

    I would not want to fly somewhere and then drive for 2-3 hours on top of that unless I just happened to be going to someone's hometown and even then I'm not sure I would do it.  I can't actually think of any time I've flown somewhere and then drove another 2-3 hours and it would take a very special person for me to want to do it again.

    if half your guests are flying in I think having something more convenient to the airport would be the right thing to do. and also make sure there are hotels near the venue too or at least easy transportation

    Unfortunately, there are only so many airports, so this is not really a practical solution, especially if one doesn't live close to an airport or there are no good venues near the airport.
    Yeah, considering airports aren't typically in the middle of cities where the most hotels and wedding venues are. . . airports are typically outside the cities, since they need a lot of space for runways.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


  • Our hometown is Sacramento so the airport options are SFO, OAK, and SMF. We have even considered a Tahoe wedding so guests could fly into Reno-Tahoe airport (although I'm not sure if that is a less expensive option for flights). Like a few PPs said, sometimes it is cheaper to fly into one airport over another. I know that just because SMF is international, doesn't mean people can fly internationally straight to that airport. You usually end up going through SFO or LAX first anyway. That's why we are leaning towards finding a venue that is closer to SFO. That just means more of our in-town friends and family will end up driving 2 hours while our traveling friends and family will have more convenient access. If we went with a Napa/Sonoma wedding guests would be driving 1.5-2 hours from airport or hometown. So either way I feel like it will just be harder for some guests.
  • If it was only a small % of your guest list travelling, I wouldn't worry about it, but 50% is a high rate, and I think you need to put some thought into their comfort.

    I would NOT be comfortable flying internationally, and then driving more than 90 min. I might go for my brothers wedding, but not for a cousin, nephew or similar. After a long flight, renting a car (in a foreign country) and then driving 2+ hrs in an unfamiliar place and foreign country would be really tough. 

    So if you want to maximize attendance, I vote for keeping your venue and lodging, within 90 min of the airport. 
    [Deleted User]
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    All this assumes that everyone is immediately going to drive for some prolonged period after flying to go straight to the wedding.  While it might be necessary to drive for some period of time from the airport to one's lodgings, it's not always the case that the wedding takes place on the same day.  And it's not always possible to find either hotel rooms or a venue near an airport.
    PrettyGirlLostlabro
  • My FI and I are in a sort of similar situation. We live in MN, which neither one of us is originally from. He's from WI, I'm from NY. I'm lucky enough that I have some family that live here, but FI does not. When we first started looking at venues, we decided to look at hotels near the airport. We were fortunate enough to find one we liked, that could hold both our ceremony and reception. Since all of his side would be traveling.For those that would be flying in, we wanted to minimize the amount of traveling our guests had to do, if it all possible. All the hotels in the area have shuttles to and from the airport. So unless guests decide they want to do some sight seeing, they won't have to take on the expense of renting a car.
  • I would add a shuttle or transportation question to the list when you talk to venues. Our venue is 1.5- 2 hours from the airport but the venue's recommended housing provider offers a shuttle to guest to and from the venue.

  • spockforprezspockforprez Virginia member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Third Anniversary Name Dropper
    I say do the best you can to find a venue that you like and that's convenient for a majority of your guests. It would be rude to pick omg super speshul venue that 90% of your guest list can't get to, but you don't have to try and please everyone. Once you decide on a good compromise, you'll have to leave it up to the adults involved to decide if they're okay with a flight, rental car, and some driving.
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  • Unless the wedding you can host is significantly better (better food, better drinks, better lodging for a better price for guests, etc) I'd try to get closer to the airport.

    I went to a wedding once where location was 2.5+ hours from airport and it was just a pain (I hate driving in unfamiliar areas, especially those without much population along the way). It also put more stress on us the day we flew out because we needed to schedule a bigger buffer in case we ran into any sort of car trouble / issue. Things worked out fine but we ended up sitting in the airport for a long time, which isn't how I really prefer to spend my Sunday. (And it was destination for 95% of those in attendance, including the couple)

    It was a lovely location, but the wedding ranks pretty low on my list of fond wedding memories.
  • I'm in a sort of similar situation. I'm getting married in Scotland, which is where I'm from, my fiancée's immediate family lives in Iceland, her extended family mostly live in India and we live in Sweden, so over 75% of our guest list will be flying in, though except for the India flights, they won't be all that long.

    I flight internationally to about 60% of the weddings I attend, and in all honesty, even if it was just a short flight, I'd expect to be able to get to the wedding venue (or where ever I was staying) by public transport in under 90 minutes.
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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
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    Unfortunately, in most places, that's just not going to happen. For example, in Houston, TX, there are two airports, neither of which is located anywhere near the vast majority of good venues, and most people live in suburbs that are a long distance from the airports-at least an hour's drive on a good day with no traffic. Add to that that couples don't have the time to drive several hours per week to plan a wedding near an airport if the nearest one is hours away from their homes.
    SP29loveandsoccer

  • Jen4948 said:
    Unfortunately, in most places, that's just not going to happen. For example, in Houston, TX, there are two airports, neither of which is located anywhere near the vast majority of good venues, and most people live in suburbs that are a long distance from the airports-at least an hour's drive on a good day with no traffic. Add to that that couples don't have the time to drive several hours per week to plan a wedding near an airport if the nearest one is hours away from their homes.
    I think one of the things that matters is what kind of drive it is. If it's an hour or two on an interstate in the suburbs in the summer, that's way different than my venue which is in the mountains in the winter. I'd say the former is not nearly as big a deal as the latter.
    SP29PrettyGirlLost
  • I have a very similar situation, except its about 90% of the invitees traveling and it will all be domestic travel.  I found that the guests were happy to know we picked a "park once for the whole thing" type venue.  It was pretty important to us to think about our guests being comfortable, so we ended up with a boutique hotel in a suburb, meaning the drive from the airport was 30 minutes, and then they will stay for as long as they like at the venue. 

    It was more challenging simply because I had to think about guest accommodations being affordable and available.  All in all, it might not be my DREAM venue, but I was focused more on having a party people would want to come to and have fun at instead of the beauty of a location.  I guess that makes me weird, since I was okay with a sort of blah hotel ballroom to have comforts for my OOT guests.  Hope your planning doesn't cause you too much stress, and happy wedding!

    SP29loveandsoccer
  • julieanne912julieanne912 member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    edited September 2015
    For me, it depends on where the wedding is.  A place like Tahoe?  No problem because we could make a long weekend out of it, Tahoe is a nice place to visit.   But if it's in the middle of nowhere in say... South Dakota, probably not.

    But, I'm from Visalia, CA.  The nearest "larger" airport is in Fresno, CA, about an hour away.  After that it's 3-4 hours to the Bay Area for the next closest airports.  All flights to Fresno are expensive (ex. Fresno to Denver is usually almost $400).  For that reason alone we opted not to get married where I'm from, even though that would have been convenient for my family, and Visalia isn't exactly a vacation destination either.  Same for FI's hometown, Rock Springs, WY.  They have a teeny airport but that's about it.  The next closest is Salt Lake which is 3 hours.  It would have been convenient for his family and some of his friends, but not really for anybody else.  We ended up choosing to get married near where we live now, since it's near Denver and that's a good central location for most people on the list to either drive or fly.
    Married 9.12.15
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  • I say know your guests and talk to your VIPs. Our wedding is a 2hr drive for the in state people, and either an 8hr drive or a flight and then a 1.5hr drive for out of state guests. It will be in the winter and up a mountain at a ski lodge. This fit us and our guests, they are excited about a ski weekend and a lot of them have already booked larger cabins to stay and ski. Would this work for all people? No. But the majority of our guests like to ski and are excited about the historic venue. 

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