Mollie Yarsike is creator and owner of Black Tie Kids. After attending different networking events for young professionals, she realized the need for childcare at adult-focused events. Since it's inception in 2014, Black Tie Kids has worked over 120 weddings in Southern California alone.
In 2017, Black Tie Pups was added as a way to help couples who want to include their furry friend as a part of their wedding day. Today, Black Tie Kids provides services through SoCal including, Los Angeles, Orange County, and Palm Springs. They also are available in San Diego, the Bay Area, and the Metro-Detroit Area.
Mollie joins us to share all her wisdom about childcare at a wedding and other events, as well as how to make sure your special day goes on without any stress from the little ones.
Having the correct headcount is important for bringing in sitters. It is a 1:5 ratio, but if there is anyone 18 months or under it is a 1:1 ratio. Babies need more personal attention.
Plans for the babysitting staff should be made ahead of time. If a surprise happens day of, they know how to handle it, but having an accurate headcount and being fully staffed is important to a seamless event. All babysitters are properly vetted, and love kids!
If you have out of town guests who are invited to the rehearsal dinner or other events, consider having the babysitters there so the parents and kids can meet them ahead of time. Then everyone will be more comfortable!
Some venues require a sitter if there are over a certain amount of kids. And so if you are in a tighter budget, Black Tie Kids also offers supervision that is a lot more relaxed. Aka, they are just there to monitor, not necessarily bring entertainment for the kids.
Having room for the kids to run and play is the idea situation. Mollie’s team wants to keep the kids having a great time, and not causing a ruckus for the wedding or worrying their parents. If a dedicated room is available, they would much prefer it.
If the wedding is outside, there are fun events that can be added for entertainment, like twister, giant jenga, egg on a spoon, relay races, etc. There is a lot of room for kids to get creative and get exhausted.
As far as food for kids go, chicken fingers and French fries are always a hit. Keep it simple. Most kids tend to like it. Past and macaroni can be very messy and more limiting.
Our Facebook Community Questions:
We reached out to our peeps in our Facebook Community Group to see if they had any questions for this episode and got a HUGE response!
Q. What age is considered a kid? And what age should they start getting the adult meal?
A. 10 and below. Sometimes, a kid that is 12 can be watched too, it’s really up to the parents. And for the meals, it would be up to them as well. Adults love chicken fingers too! - Mollie
12 and under is the typical age with caterers where they can be charged for a kid’s meal. - Michelle
What are the most common kid cutoffs between no kids, all kids, just family, etc?
Q. If you don’t wants kids at your wedding, you need to be very specific about that. And be prepared if there is blowback. Don’t use vague language. Just be clear, and there is really no need to explain your choices. - Christy
How do we word a kid free wedding without making it sound like we hate everyone’s children?
A. It depends on how you are getting the word out there, and whether you are not following etiquette. Be simple, be frank. - Michelle
You can tell them that you won’t be providing childcare, and be upfront about what they can expect if they do end up bringing their kids. - Christy
Have you ever seen a kid stick their hand in the cake?
Kids do want to touch and feel everything! It helps to have us there to keep eyes on them. Also if you put the cake high enough, they won’t be able to reach it. - Mollie
It can really be a balance issue. If the cake is tall, or delicate and it’s on a table near the dance floor, or in a precarious position, it can be hit, knocked, or ran into. That is something to consider more than a kid touching it. - Christy
Q. If we say no kids, how likely are the guests from out of town not to come to the wedding?
A. It’s probably 50/50. - Michelle
It’s something to consider for sure. In the case of the wedding, it might be hard for them to find a good sitter, because everyone they know is at the wedding! This is where it is super important to hire a team like Mollie’s. If it’s a true destination wedding, it might be very hard to find child care, and you might have to make an exception. Just be clear about what it means for them if they do bring their children. - Christy
Q. If my sister in law’s mother is coming to take care of an infant, do I send her an invite? She wouldn’t come normally.
A. You don’t have to send her an invite, just make sure the caterer knows so she gets fed, gets a seat, etc. Add her to your sister in law’s plus one. - Michelle
Q. If we will have infants, what should we provide besides a private suite for breast feeding?
A. This is so nice, and if you don’t care if they feed out in the open, let them know. I don’t think you need to provide anything. Maybe a high chair. If there are breast feeding moms, and a spot for them to do so in private, that’s awesome.- Michelle
You can also be conscientious of the seating chart, so the little ones aren’t right next to the DJ/speakers, or right next to the cake, or try to make sure they are out of the way of traffic. Any little extra thoughtfulness is above and beyond. - Christy
Q. We potentially have around 15-20 kids, aged 10-16 year olds coming. I am planning on doing a candy bar for the kids during the cocktail hour. And a drum circle to open up the reception. How do I make sure the adults give first dibs to the kids for the candy and drum circle?
A. It’s all about communication. If you want the kids to go first, make sure the DJ announces it. It can be hard to predict though. - Mollie
Unless you make the candy table design very juvenile, adults will want it. Make the table low. Put up a sign that says, “kid zone.” For the drum circle, you might need a dedicated person to run interference on it. Let an eager to help family member be the drum circle coordinator! - Michelle
Sometimes adults have really great ideas, but then it doesn’t work out the way that we want. So keep your expectations low, and if they enjoy it great! But try to not let yourself get disappointed if kids want to do something else. - Christy
Links we referenced
“The staff that I have brought onto my team, and help me at all these events, they’re staff that are truly passionate about kids.” - Mollie
“We’re always able to adapt, because not every wedding is the same, not every kid is the same. And it’s all about just being ready to do whatever is necessary to make sure the kids are happy.” - Mollie
“You’ll get more bang for your buck if all your adults are out their shaking their booties on the dance floor, because they’re not leaving early or worrying about their kids.” - Christy
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