Our Coming and Our Going: Travel and Transportation

Take a look at these suggestions to facilitate easy, joyful, and sustainable transportation to your special day.

Share train, bus, CalTrain, BART and LA Metro information with guests
Encourage guests to take public transit to your celebration by
researching information about the best transit routes and making this information available along with driving directions. Guests will often consider leaving their cars at home if an alternate way of arriving is provided in an easy format. Similarly, some guests may consider taking a train rather than flying if it’s brought to their attention that your celebration is near a train station. 

In the Bay Area, one can visit www.511.org or call 511 to be connected with public transportation information for the entire area. In the LA area, try www.experiencela.com/GettingAround/. You can click on the location you are interested in and get public transportation information to help get you there.

Help your guests carpool
Guests coming from the same neighborhood or city may not know one another or think to carpool without a little help. Hosts of celebrations can dramatically reduce the number of cars that spew smog and greenhouse gases bringing guests to their event if they take some time to put together carpooling groups in advance and put guests from nearby locations in touch with each other.
  • Hosts can ask someone to serve as a carpooling shadkhan/matchmaker, and invite guests to contact that person with rides offered and needed in the weeks leading up to your celebration.
  • You, or your carpooling shadkhan, can sort your guest list by city and state and then send an email to all those in a single area saying, for example: “You all live in Fairfax and will be guests at our celebration on September 24. You’re invited to be in touch with one another to organize ride sharing.”
  • Or, invite guests to edit a shared online spreadsheet using Google.com’s “Documents” application, http://docs.google.com. Set up columns for name, contact information, rides offered, rides needed, origin, destination, and “match made,” and create a public URL for the document that you can share with guests by email. (Select “Anyone can edit this document without logging in at [URL]”).
  • AlterNetRides Company, www.alternetrides.com (925.952.4519), can create a customized ridesharing application that can open directly from a celebration’s website for $50. Your guests can coordinate with each other through the system and organize ridesharing among themselves.

For the big day itself, consider coordinating a vanpool or other rideshare to the celebration to minimize the number of guests driving separately.

Offset celebration-related travel

If some guests decide to fly to your celebration, you can invest in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the same amount that their travel produced, through the purchase of carbon offsets. Many promising projects that would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions lack the capital they need to get built; by directing your offset dollars to these projects, you can help finance new wind farms, solar arrays, and more.
Learn more with Green America’s guidelines for finding a reputable carbon offset provider: www.greenamericatoday.org/.

Some of these offsetters will provide you with stickers, cards, or other recognition to let your guests know that an offset was purchased for their travel. You can purchase a travel offset for your guests or encourage them to do so.
To help you and your guests figure out the environmental footprint of traveling, the Jewish National Fund has a "Go Neutral" calculator, http://support.jnf.org/goneutral/index.html.

For strategies for “registering” for a gift of carbon offsets from your guests for their own travel or for your honeymoon travel, see Registries and Gifts .
Couples: Stay grounded on your honeymoon
If you want to go on a vacation as a couple after your wedding, consider choosing a honeymoon destination that won’t require air travel. Passenger flights are one of the most significant environmental impacts of any celebration. California is rich with beautiful honeymoon destinations within a couple hours drive from its major cities. From the Santa Barbara coastal area to Yosemite and the Wine Country of Northern California, the possible honeymoon locations are almost limitless. If you do drive to your honeymoon location, consider renting a hybrid vehicle if you don’t own one. By choosing a hybrid, you will create less pollution and it will give you a chance to test a hybrid on the road. Even if the rental company does not have hybrids, asking for one will let the company know that hybrids are in demand. However you travel, consider purchasing carbon offsets (above) to balance out the climate impact of your trip.
“Adonai will watch over your coming and your going, now and forevermore.”
--Tehillim/Psalms 121:8
“A person must see one’s self and the world as equally balanced on two ends of a scale ....”
“We encouraged people to carpool, and it was sweet to see full carloads come into a parking lot that still had plenty of room!” – Robyn Scherr & Rachel Shoemake, Martinez

Have suggestions? Real-life stories using these or other ideas? Please share them with us for future versions of the Guide!