Post # 1
About 95% of my guests will be traveling to my wedding and I wanted to provide babysitting accommodations for the night of the reception for parents to use at their discretion. The reception will be in a private room at a restaurant which is located right next to a hotel (ie, shares a wall with the hotel). Children are invited to all parts of the wedding; however, the reception will probably not be super kid friendly in that we are having a band (so it might be loud in the main room), an open bar the whole time, and the reception will be cocktail/stations style, meaning we won’t have assigned tables. There actually won’t be all that much seating in the main room – a mixture of high tables and some chairs, plus food stations, a bar, band and dance floor. There will be a lot of tables and chairs available on a long balcony and more seating in a separate lounge area. So while there will be plenty of seating (enough for the number of guests), it’s not the typical set-up where you have a “home base” to park so that will probably make it less convenient for parents.
We’re letting people know about the cocktail style reception in the invitations so they aren’t surprised. However I know some people are planning to bring their small children and I wanted to provide a babysitter/nanny service to give parents an option (they can not bring their kids to the reception, or they can bring them for a little bit and then drop them off, or keep them the whole time if they want).
There isn’t really room at the reception site for a babysitting area unless we carve out part of the lounge area as a kids’ zone, but I was hoping to keep the lounge area more for the use of guests to mingle, get away from the “loud” room if they want, etc. My idea was to have a couple of babysitters (depending on how many kids are coming) set up in a suite in the hotel that’s next door to the restaurant. I didn’t use this hotel as the room block hotel for guests because it was too expensive, but I did reserve a suite for the night of the reception for a possible babysitter room. I would of course go through an agency with licensed/bonded sitters/nannies. If you’re a parent, or theoretically if you were a parent, would you be comfortable with the option of dropping your kids off at a hotel next to the reception site where the hosts have provided babysitters?
FYI, right now it looks like 6 kids (ranging in age from young toddler to 11) are coming, but we could have a few more, possibly up to 10.
Also do you think I need to ask the hotel for permission to use the suite in this fashion? I’m a little worried they’ll say no and I won’t have any good option of where to have babysitters. I realize guests could hire their own individual sitters but thought it would be a nice courtesy to set something up. If you have any advice in general for me, please let me know. Thanks!! Sorry this was so long!
Post # 3
It sounds to me like you’ve put a lot of thought into this. I offered babysitting for ages 3 and under for my wedding (young enough that it would be a real problem leaving them with family for a weekend) – in our case, our friends who live a few blocks from the restaurant where we had our wedding offered their house as the babysitting site, and I hired an early chilldhood education major from the school where I teach. She has current CPR and babysitting certification, and impressive references. I ended up with only 2 babies, one 6 months old and one 4 months old, both from first-time parents. Had there been more, I’d have hired an additional sitter.
The most important things for the parents who needed the babysitting seemed to be proximity to the wedding (close enough to rush over in a minute in an emergency), easy communication with the babysitter (who freely gave them her cell number and took theirs, and who cheerfully encouraged them to call her to check on the babies as frequently as they wanted), and having her resume and other information well in advance (I forwarded them a map to the house, and her resume and contact information 2 weeks in advance). The idea of leaving their little ones in a strange place with a stranger was hard for them, and they got much more comfortable once they could see where and who, and had time to check her references if they chose.
Long reply, but I hope it helps! In our case, everyone had a great experience and it went beautifully.
Post # 4
From a parent’s perspective, I think it’s really nice you provided this option, but I would not use it. My children are young (2 and 4 months) so I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving them with an unknown caregiver. However, if my children were older (say 7/8 and up?), and they prefferred to stay with the sitter, I’d probably let them do that and just check up on them regularly.
Post # 5
We are having a babysitter right under our venue. We are letting parents know that our reception is not kid friendly: there will be an open bar, speeches and formal dances, and lots of patience required. All kids will be given a place if they want to come, but if they would rather play in the playroom, that is totally cool too. The way we phrased it on our wedding site is:
Are children invited? Yes, children are absolutely invited! We view weddings as an opportunity to bring families together and think children add to the celebration.
For the ceremony, there is no crying room and no place to walk around if a child is fussing, but we welcome you to enter and exit the church as you wish. There are doors on either side of the church, as well as in the back, if you need to step out for a few minutes.
During the reception we will be having babysitters at our venue. The children can hang out in the kids’ room all night or stay upstairs and dance the night away. We will be having a children’s menu of chicken tenders and french fries. We will plan to have your kids sit upstairs with you during dinner, but feel free to send them downstairs at any point.
Post # 6
I am not a parent but I wouldn’t be comfortable leaving my kids with a hired stranger. If you are going to do this you should check with the hotel because there could be some legal/ liability issues for both them and you.
Post # 7
Food for thought…thanks for the advice everyone! I think I might try to poll the parents who are bringing kids to find out whether they’d be comfortable with using a babysitter. If definitely not, then I guess there’s no point in providing the option!
Post # 8
Honestly I would be more likely to use someone you personally know. If I knew you well enough to trust your judgement!