If you’ve ever thought about your wedding guest list and your young cousins, nieces, and nephews, you’ve probably thought of one of two things: either how great it will be to have them there, or that you’ll need someone guarding the cake to make sure it doesn’t get knocked over.
Weddings often involve children – whether in the ceremony as flower girls and ring-bearers, or just because it’s a family event. They can be delightful to have around, great for some fun pictures, and a subtle reminder (perhaps) of what the future holds in store for the lucky couple. However, they can also be disruptive, distracting, and sometimes accidentally destructive. The good news is, that there’s a great new way to compromise between having kids present and still having a great party for the adults: wedding sitters.
Charity Hardin saw the need for wedding sitters after attending several events and recognizing that, while it was great to have the kids around, at a certain point it’s nice if mom and dad can go dance and leave the little ones with someone else, so she created Wedding and Event Sitters by Charity. Her staff is made up of experienced childcare providers all over the age of 21, and they bring one sitter for every 5 kids expected at the event. They set up in a room in the same facility as the event, so kids are separate from the adults’ party, but nearby, and parents can bring them back to the party whenever they want – say to watch the cake cutting or dance a kid-friendly song or two.
“There’s a lot of money that goes into a wedding-” most of us hardly need to be reminded – “and kids are unpredictable. With sitters present, the parents can have a break so that they can enjoy the wedding and kids can have an outlet where they can go play and do kid-things” says Hardin. After a long day of sitting in itchy dress-up clothes and having to be quiet, the kids may be as grateful for the opportunity to play as the parents are to go dance.
While it can be fun to have the kiddos around, it’s important to remember that most weddings are ultimately an adult affair. There is often a lot of alcohol, so it’s not really a place for kids. Safety is also a factor, reminds Hardin: “most reception halls aren’t toddler-proofed. It takes a lot of the parents’ attention to watch their kids during a party like that, and then they don’t get to enjoy the celebration.”
There’s a big benefit for attendance, too. By providing sitters, you ensure that parents’ attendance isn’t determined by whether or not they can find a sitter for the night. It’s particularly helpful for out-of-town guests, who either have to find someone to watch the kids for the whole weekend or try to find a sitter in a town they’re not familiar with. Sitters can keep the party going too – with the sitters present, parents of small children don’t always have to leave the party early for the kids’ bedtime. Hardin’s staff comes armed not only with toys, crafts, and games, but pillows and nap blankets, too.
Hiring the Wedding and Event Sitters is a relatively small expense compared to the rest of the wedding, but it will allow your guests with children the opportunity to enjoy the party you’re throwing to the fullest extent. If you’ve got a lot of young’uns in the family, it’s a great way to keep your cousins at the party all night long.