Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Parking Pickle

After we found the F.U.E.L. House, the mister and I quickly realized we were jazzed about almost everything a city reception had to offer. A counterpoint to the polished area surrounding our suburban ceremony site. A structure that's on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, down the road from several significant sites connected to the birthplace of the United States and in close proximity to some our favorite restaurants -- so we can celebrate in a neighborhood that's special to us, and share this area with our family and friends.

The only thing we didn't love? The parking situation.

We set the date, signed the contract to secure the F.U.E.L. House -- and knew we wouldn't be able to stretch the budget to include valet parking for our guests. (Given our estimated guest count, we'd have to pay two or three attendants, which would come to at least -- but most likely more than -- $1,000 for the night.) Instead, Mr. Bruschetta and I pounded the pavement in Old City to complete some parking research. (To help you get your bearings, our cocktail hour and reception locations are flagged on the map below in shades of blue. The hotels at which we've secured room blocks are in green.)

View City of Bruschetta-y Love in a larger map

Since the 218 Arch Street lot -- one of the two options marked with a "P" -- was already $3.00 cheaper on a Saturday evening than the lot at 38 N. Third Street, we selected the former as our "recommended" lot, and worked with the general manager to secure a $15.00 per car rate for any guest who parks here and mentions the Bruschetta (or, I guess more accurately, our real last names) wedding. The two local hotels offer places where guests seeking overnight spots can leave their cars -- but we weren't able to secure a discount for either garage.

In addition to listing this information on our wedding web site / blog, we'll include a note -- directions into the city and turn-by-turn specifics ending at the recommended parking lot, along with a reminder of the price -- in our ceremony programs.

Without busting our budget, I can't think of anything else we can do to make this easier on our guests. I'm hoping most people will understand that a reception in the city translates into a challenging parking situation -- just as our ceremony in Pennsylvania means most guests (anyone coming from New Jersey) will be crossing the Delaware River, and paying the required bridge toll. We'll definitely encourage guests who might be unfamiliar with Old City -- and uncomfortable navigating public parking on their own -- to carpool with others. But I'd love to hear from the hive on this one, particularly if you've experienced something like this as a guest, or had to deal with it while planning your wedding!

Is offering valet parking for your guests a must? Or is securing a reduced rate (and letting your guests know about this option) acceptable?

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