Such an uncomfortable situation. The blushing bride and the handsom groom stare deeply into one anothers eyes, whilst professing their undying love before their closest friends and family. Out of nowhere a whiney toddler gurgles out a blood curdling scream. The spell is BROKEN. *sigh*
Imagining this scenario once is all it takes for a bride to make the decision to omit all uneccesary children from the most romantic moment of her life.
There are plenty of reasons why a couple would choose to have an adults only wedding, but how does one tactfully go about letting their guests know they've made this decision and that, NO, Little Timmy the Terrorizor will NOT be playing in the chocolate fountain?
And on top of all that, how does one provide childcare, snacks and entertainment without breaking the bank?
Read on PW'ers!
Step One: Accept The Fact That You MUST provide the OPTION of childcare.
The last thing you want is to end up with an ultimatum from FH's sister that she's not coming if your bratty niece isn't invited. How is she supposed to find childcare when she is from out of town anyways? And how can she know who to trust? I mean, what do you say in this situation?
If your guests know that childcare will be provided in a different room or area by some trained trustworthy babysitters, and the kids will have some entertainment and food to boot, then they know that you have done your part. It's up to them to decide to take advantage of what you, the hostess, is providing, or find their own childcare.
Step Two: How To Let People Know
First and foremost, remember to mention it to your parents and future in laws to pass along to others. Although you want a quite intimate ceremony and an adults only reception, you will be providing food and childcare for the kiddies.
Call to chat with specific possible problem makers. Be sure to mention that it's nothing personal, just that you want to have an intimate QUIET ceremony with absolutely NO possibility of interruption, and that your reception will be adult oriented and NOT an environment for children. Letting them know WAY ahead of time that you are hiring redcross trained or otherwise well referred babysitters and providing snacks and entertainment (however mundane) gives them time to become comfortable with WHY you don't want children in attendance.
Be sure to add that you would understand if they weren't comfortable with a stranger babysitting and that you would not be offended if they chose to leave the kids at home with their regular sitter.
By doing this you are presenting the parents with two options, not just simply, leave the kids at home or don't bother coming. KWIM?
Step Three: Making The Formal Announcement
Ok, so most people know that childcare will be provided, but how do you know who will choose to take advantage of what you have provided as the hostess, and who will be more comfortable leaving the kids at home?
It is VERY IMPORTANT to add on the RSVP the following question. How many children will require childcare?
You can word it many different ways to suit your tastes. I just added the following to my RSVP.
"_____ children will require childcare"
You could also use,
"How many children will require childcare? ____"
Couple this with the "____ out of ____ adults will be attending" ( or something similar) and it's pretty cut and dry. You're making it pretty clear that if the parents choose to bring the little ones, they WILL be hanging in the kiddie room/area.
Step Four: Hiring Sitters
There are a lot of resources at your disposal to find competant and reliable babysitters in your area.
- ask friends and family for referrals
- speak with local church youth pastors for suggestions
- if you are getting married in a church ask your pastor about who provides childcare during church or who does sunday school and if they might be avaliable to provide childcare for your wedding
- ask your teenage neices/cousins to babysit (this works well if you have a lot of them because most of the kids will already know them, and also if there are enough of them they can rotate out, also your family will be more apt to trust them!)
- Call your local redcross, they provide babysitting certification classes and may have fliers or info on local, responsible and certified sitters.
- Call local daycares or preschools and ask if any of their teachers or volunteers also babysit
Be sure to interview potential sitters ahead of time, ask them for previous experience, maybe a couple referrences, and some questions to gauge their maturity level, in the case of younger babysitters, be sure to meet with them WITH their parents, so everyone knows what's going on.
Meet with sitters about 2 months before your wedding to make sure they will be avaliable and reliable, interview many more sitters than you will need, that way you won't be scrambling at the last minute to find replacements.
Make an initial rough estimation of how many kids you are expecting. If you are expecting under 10 kids, one SOLID adult sitter is probably all you will need.
However, if you are expecting more that ten kids, you will need more supervisors. Also keep in mind the general age groups of the kids, you will need more mature sitters if there are ten infants than if there are 5 six year olds.
When in doubt, its better to have more sitters than you need, than not enough sitters. You can ALWAYS send them home with a few bucks and a thanks anyways.
BUDGET TIP: Ask potential sitters what their rates are, explain your situation, how many kids, for how long, where you will be and how many other sitters will be there and ask them how much they will charge you. You will probably be VERY surprised at the small amount that they ask for in exchange for their services.
They BEST girl I hired (16, red cross certified, and a total sweetheart) supervised for 8 hours for 20$!!!
Step Five: And A Good Time Was Had By All
Don't forget to plan ahead as far as where the kids will hang out. Most churches and other venues will be willing to rent out a small additional room for a small amount of money, but if your wedding is outdoors you can simply set up a kids area.
It is best that wherever the kids are is out of direct sight of the party, as they may get distracted and want to go hang out with mom and dad. However, the best way to avoid this is to make the kids area THE PLACE TO BE! They won't even know what their missing if you provide them with some kid friendly snacks and activities.
Kids snacks and activities can be had VERY inexpensively, for example:
- kool aid
- mini PB&J's
- wedding cupcakes
- coloring books
- bubbles (for outdoors)
- sidewalk chalk (for outdoors)
- dollar store toys
- kids party games
- video games
Step Six: Be Prepared
Make sure your sitters have at least one person that's familiar with the family as a point of referrance in an emergency situation. That way if little sally becomes inconsolable, or little billy is feeling sick, the sitters can locate the parents promptly.
Don't forget to ask your sitters to ask parents about any allergies or special needs when they are dropped off. Also be sure your ushers/greeters know to direct families with children to the kids area immediately upon their arrival so no one gets the idea that childcare is an OPTION.
Step Seven: Breath Easy and Have a Wonderful Kidfree Wedding Experience!