When planning your itinerary it is easy to get caught up in where you need to be and who is going to get you there. How long will each event take and how will you shuttle your bridal party around, all ending up at the ceremony in time to walk down the aisle. When thinking about transportation - your getaway car and possibly a limo for your bridal party, I suggest adding transportation for your guests to the list.
Usually a block of hotel rooms is reserved near the reception for a group of out of town family and friends to stay. As an added gift to your guests, plan ahead to have a bus, shuttle or trolley go back and forth from the hotel, ceremony and reception. This will let your guests truly enjoy themselves and not worry about driving their car, finding parking and monitoring their drinking at the reception to be able to drive home. Most times, friends and couples each designate one in the group to drive home to prevent anyone from getting behind the wheel after having a few too many. You can take the stress out of this by providing transportation.
If you expect there to be heavy drinking I encourage to not only make it easier on your guests but to keep everyone safe with a group shuttle. You don't necessarily need to rent a bus from 5pm - 2am. You only need a shuttle there at certain times, by changing up transportation vehicles or being specific when you need them you could possibly save money. Look into using a few different companies or modes of transportation. Have the first bus come 1.5 hours before your ceremony begins and shuttle the guests to the ceremony and have it wait if you are having a short ceremony to take the guests to the reception. If your ceremony is long don't worry about having them wait that hour, simply have the first one leave and a second one join you when the wedding is over. Pay attention to the minimum number of hours these transportation companies require and always be up front about your needs. Many of them will work with you to get you a bus when you need it within your budget.
If transportation is unable to make it into the budget I highly suggest having taxis waiting at the end of the night. Make a clear sign to put up towards the end of the night with a couple of taxi company numbers and let your wedding venue know so they will be ready to escort your guests to the taxi line.
Talk with the hotel where your room blocks are, a lot of times they have a shuttle that they are able to rent out for events by the hour. These hotel shuttles usually are smaller than a large bus but they will get around 20 people to and from each trip!