Having lots of time to spend with family and friends on the beach, in the mountains, or in any other beautiful locale is one of the biggest perks associated with planning a destination wedding. But as much fun as it is to plan a weekend packed with activities, it's important to take a moment to consider the families traveling with children. If you haven't selected family-friendly activities, you may want to help your guests arrange childcare for their little ones (or be okay with the fact that not everyone will attend every event). After all, kids have a specific set of needs and the more information and support you can give the parents, the easier the trip will be on everyone. As for parents of small children attending a destination wedding, there are things you can do, too. Here, the ins and outs of childcare for far-flung celebrations.
Wedding planner Alicia Fritz of A Day in May Events explains that parents need to know as much detail in advance as possible when it comes to childcare for a destination wedding. She recommends that couples ask their venue or local vendors for childcare recommendations, then provide guests with information like a direct phone number, how far in advance they need to book and confirm the sitter, maximum hours for childcare, where the kids can be dropped off and picked up, the cost, and how many kids the caretakers manage at a time. All this information can be posted on a wedding website or communicated to parents individually.
Convenience is key.
As many destination weddings take place at resorts, it may be best to have the kids all in one hotel room throughout the reception. This makes it easy for parents to check on their little ones. "If the reception is at a remote location," Fritz notes, "there often may not be space or room designated for kids at the venue, so planning for childcare wherever the family is staying is usually the easiest for both the parents and their children."
Plan family-friendly events.
With careful planning, there's no reason why your wedding welcome party, post-nuptial brunch, and any other weekend activities can't be made suitable for small children. Planning a pool party for guests upon arrival? Let your guests bring their kids along. You may want to give youngsters inflatable pool floats and safety devices, plus sunscreen, water toys, and goggles to keep them busy. An on-site lifeguard is a nice touch, too (actually, it's a good idea whether or not kids will be there!).
Discuss the options.
If you were considering providing childcare but there are only a couple of families traveling with kids for your destination wedding, it's probably worth having a chat with the parents about what they'd like to do. Whether their kids will be babysat in their hotel room or at the wedding venue is something they'd probably like to have a say in. You want to be sure parents are comfortable with whatever the childcare plan is, assuming you're organizing it.
Invite their caretaker.
Some parents are simply uncomfortable with their kids staying with strangers. For them, it may be a make-it or break-it factor in deciding with whether or not they attend a destination wedding. Some parents may even decide to bring along a nanny or grandparent to avoid unknown childcare providers. If you know this is the case for a family you're close with, it's a nice gesture to extend that caretaker an invitation to the ceremony so the kids can be present for some of the wedding prior to retreating to their hotel room for the night.