A party bus can be a fun and safe way to transport a group of people to or from an event. A party bus can be anything from a retrofitted school bus complete with disco lights, to an upscale shuttle service, to a stretch Hummer with a full bar. What is inside a party bus depends on the company you hire and what you are looking for. Many party buses have bars in them, complete with glassware, ice bins and mini fridges. Often party buses have festive lighting like strobe lights, black lights, dimmable lighting and track lighting on the floor. A party bus usually has loudspeakers in the back for en route dancing and may even have a dancing pole in the center. Some states require seat belts in party buses and decree that all passengers must be seated when the vehicles are moving, so there must be a seat for each passenger. To make sure you know what you are paying for, request photos of the inside and outside of the exact vehicle you are hiring. Also make sure you have all fees and details of what is and is not covered in a written contract.
A party photo booth is a fun, interactive experience where guests can take a series of photos (usually three or four) that are immediately printed out on a strip as a keepsake. When you rent a party photo booth, the company sets up the booth or photo station at your event; a photographer staffs the booth and coaches guests on how to use it throughout the event. Often the photo booth rental company provides props like silly hats, wigs and glasses. There are different types of party photo booth rentals. An open-air booth has a curtain or backdrop that allows more freedom of movement and enables more people to use it at one time. The traditional enclosed photo booths that you may have seen at the mall or the fair tend to cost more to rent, as they are harder to transport and also cost more for the pros to purchase. The national average cost for party photo booth rentals is $400-$500.
Creative or DIY-savvy couples can make a wedding photo booth backdrop in no time. You can ask your rental company to incorporate a custom backdrop into your rental party photo booth, or do your own custom photo booth with a friend serving as photographer. It’s easiest to make your own backdrop for an open air photo booth, which you can hang on a wall at an indoor reception, or hang from a tree or in a homemade frame at an outdoor reception.
One simple yet glamorous option is a tinsel curtain. Choose silver or gold for classic elegance, or go for a wild color like bright pink. For a more refined look, you can purchase three or four yards of a luxe fabric that fits your wedding color theme. Creative couples may want to get funky and spray-paint or hand-paint designs onto a cotton canvas backdrop. Don’t forget to provide props for your guests; the props are half the fun and encourage guests to get playful for the camera. Paint an oversized picture frame gold (don’t forget to take out the glass!) for your guests to hold up. Provide a chalkboard where they can write cute messages to hold in their photo, and colorful items from your costume box: think hats, wigs, funky sunglasses, and sequined accessories.
When you rent a party bus, it’s industry standard to tip the driver 15 percent to 20 percent of the rental cost. Some rental companies include a gratuity for the driver as a line item on the bill, while others leave tipping to the discretion of the passengers. Often party bus drivers are employees of the rental company, and are not seeing most of the money you paid to hire the ride for the night. You should consider the tip as a standard part of your total party bus price. The job of the party bus driver is to keep you and the other passengers safe, ensure your comfort, and get you to your destinations on time (barring outside factors like weather or unpredicted traffic). Party bus drivers are usually the ones who stock and prep the bus with ice, drinks, and other requested items before picking you up. They are also usually tasked with cleaning the vehicle after you and your guests are done for the night. Ask your rental company whether a tip is included in the quoted price, and be sure to be prepared with cash or the ability to tip by credit card after the event. Of course, tipping is not required (unless it is a written part of a contract you agreed to), and if you had problems with the driver, you don’t have to tip. But if you had a nice time, consider tipping well. And if your guests were extra rowdy and messy, add a few extra dollars to your tip to acknowledge the driver’s extra work cleaning up after you.
Renting a party photo booth for your next event will get your guests engaged and provide a take-home favor for attendees. The cost to rent a party photo booth will vary depending on the type of booth, the day and time of year, the length of the rental, and any add-ons you select. The national average cost for party photo booth rentals is $400-$500. Here are some examples of average party photo booth rental costs:
- Weekday packages: $300-$550, depending on features included and length of rental. A three-hour weekday package for $500 could include guest book, personalized photo strips and DVD of all the photos.
- Weekend packages: $450-$700, depending on features included and length of rental.
- Additional hours: $100-$150 per extra hour.
- Add-on features:
- Photo guest album services: $75.
- Personalized photo strips: $30-$50.
- Custom photo backdrops or vinyl skin branding of the booth: $150-$300.
- Live social media connectivity (ability to share photos to social media accounts): $100-$250.
Party bus prices vary based on the size of party bus you want, the time of day and day of the week you need, and the length of time that you want to rent the bus. The national average price to rent a party bus is $530-$700. Party bus prices can also be affected by where in the country you live. Bigger cities, like New York, have higher fees for insurance, licensing and tolls than a smaller town might, plus a higher cost to do business, so party bus prices will typically be higher than in smaller cities.
The size and luxury of the party bus you want will affect the price. For example, a 10-passenger vehicle could cost $100 per hour, a 14-passenger vehicle could cost $125 per hour, and a 20-passenger vehicle could cost $150 per hour. Party bus prices will also be dictated by the season or holidays. Rental on New Year’s Eve will be much more expensive than on a Tuesday afternoon in November. Most rental companies have a minimum number of hours you must rent, often starting around four hours. The longer you rent, the higher the price. The distance you travel can also affect cost. For example, a driving tour through wine country can cost more than a bar-hopping party through town — even for the same number of hours — due to the additional fuel required to drive the longer distance. Messy party guests can also increase your party bus price. Broken glass, major spills, or damage to the vehicle’s interior or exterior will all be billed to the customer. A company may have a base rate of $150 for excessive cleaning, plus additional charges for actual damage.