Expert Advice From Mennat Al Hammami: Childcare Options During A Wedding
Written by on September 15, 2016.
Tagged under: Expert Advice From Mennat Al Hammami: Childcare Options During A Wedding, kids at weddings, wedding tips
Childcare Options During A Wedding
After a small break following the birth of her baby (A big congrats from us!), we are super excited to welcome back BCME expert panel member and founder of Cloud 9 Weddings & Events, Mennat Al Hammami. This month, Mennat discusses a topic that can often be controversial when deciding upon your guest list: the inclusion of children. However, it needn’t be this way. Using her recent experience, as well as drawing upon her vast background as a wedding planner, Mennat offers some of her top tips for involving children in a wedding, both from the perspective of a guest and as the bride and groom. Enjoy!
Being a new Mom makes this month’s topic all the more important and close to home. I recently attended a wedding in England while travelling with my three-month old, and it was a great way to learn about the many options of keeping infants and children entertained when they are accompanying their parents to a wedding. Therefore, I would like to share some key points of going about just that with BCME readers this month. Whether you are the bride and groom planning your wedding or a (parent) guest, the following tips will be of good use.
As a guest, the details mentioned on the wedding invitation are crucial. Assuming the bride and groom have mentioned that children are allowed to attend the wedding, have they specified an area where children will be allowed to stay? Since most weddings in the UAE take place at hotels, some couples allocate a room close to the wedding venue for sitters or childcare providers to be with the children. If a room has not been specified on the invitation, do speak to the bride and groom as early as possible. Since they have allowed children to be present on their big day, your question should not come across as being rude or presumptuous. They may put you in touch with the team or their planner directly, and that way you can be more hands on with the arrangements.
Once a room has been confirmed, speak to the venue about setting up an activity center to keep the children entertained. You may even consider bringing your own ‘activity packs’. Trust me, these will come in handy! For each child, fill the packet with entertaining bits and bobs to keep them occupied throughout the evening, such as mini puzzles, colouring books, finger puppets or stickers. If your children are old enough, you may even try to arrange for a TV and DVD player in a quiet room.
As a bride and groom reading this, do mention to your planner that you would like to allocate a space for children. Some planners may go the extra mile and prepare the activity packs for your younger guests themselves. If there is some room in your budget, you may even want to be extra considerate and hire a wedding crèche. If this is the case, you will need to consider a few things while interviewing staff to supervise the children. You will need to know their experience, which comes as no surprise, however the parents do need to know that they are leaving their children in the hands of sitters who are capable. The next thing to consider is the pay rate; will it be a flat fee or by the hour? Do consider overtime fees as well. You will also need to know the ages of the children and their dietary requirements if they are to be fed by someone other than their parents. Finally, when you have determined a caregiver team, offer to share their profile with the parents.
As a guest and parent, you might want to consider hiring a qualified nanny or professional who can supervise the children throughout the day to give yourself time to get ready and enjoy the wedding. If your budget does not allow for this, consider asking the bride and groom whether there are other guests bringing children who do not have help. Contact those parents and ask them if they would be interested in sharing the cost of hiring someone for the day. Sometimes, the wedding venue will recommend someone who can look after children.
Arranging for childcare at a wedding is serious task, but it does not have to be a difficult one. As with all wedding planning advice, the main thing to remember is to plan ahead. Whether you are the happy couple of the parent guest, having children as a part of this special day will be rewarding. More importantly, as a bride and groom, it will be a thoughtful gesture to those sharing in your day that might not have been able to attend otherwise.