This past week we had the opportunity to interview with Lisa Werth from Nannytainment,a local DC area childcare vendor. The perfect solution to brides who dare to invite children to their wedding event. Please check out it below!
Tell us about your business
Nannytainment is an onsite event childcare and hotel babysitting service. We provide adult certified, verified, and insured caregivers. We come with toys, games, activities, craft supplies, and more to keep the children entertained and engaged while on our watch so that their parents and other adults can have peace of mind at their event, party, or celebration.
What inspired you to start your business?
As I got older and I saw the direction the economy was going I said to myself I need to start a business because I can’t be a nanny forever. I kept two things in mind when determining what I would do. It had to be something I loved and knew how to do and it had to be something there was going to be ongoing need or demand for as well.
Many years ago when I was a teenager and my oldest sister was the mother of a high energy two year old they had to go to a family wedding on my brother in law’s side. My sister had me tag a long to watch him so she could enjoy herself that day. A few months after that another of my sisters was getting married and my Mother felt we needed a sitter for my nephew as she didn’t want any of us to miss out on the reception to care for him. My mom asked me to find someone. Several years after that I worked in a resort in guest services and part of my job was to book hotel sitters for those staying there.
As a caregiver I see the big picture of what children need, and as someone who worked in hospitality I knew parents weren’t coming to weddings and other events ready to keep their kids entertained. I love kids a lot. When I go to babysit I always bring a nanny bag with me. Nannytainment is a bigger expansion of that concept.
What services do you provide?
Besides our childcare services we also provide event consultation with our many clients, venues, planners, parents, caterers, and other vendors. This includes everything from creating a timeline within the timeline that the children will be on regarding meals, snacks, bed time, and more. We will go over room arrangements and what furniture we need with the venues and what our policies are regarding risk management, safety, and security. We will help parents be prepared with the things there children will need during their time with us. We will watch out for allergies and special diets and let caterers know of a need for a substitution. We will talk with other vendors to learn if we have to be somewhere or some place with kids for whatever reason be it Grand March for flower girls and ring bearers or family pictures with the photographer. We are so beyond babysitting.
How can your services add to a wedding?
Peace of mind is what we keep going back to and it’s what everyone we work with does too. The wedding planner is not a babysitter, and I know some that have it in their contracts that they will not watch kids. Neither are our photo booth guys, the chocolate fountain people, the DJs or other vendors. Many venues require certificates of insurance from vendors and what planners and sometimes staff at venues don’t realize is it’s vital for childcare companies to carry insurance. This is definitely one area you do not want to leave to amateurs. Our premiums are 10X higher than many event professionals because children are such a major potential risk.
A majority of experienced event professionals have a story for me, of ten it’s a situation where kids weren’t managed or a meltdown occurred. When I introduce myself to a new group of events people it’s like they think I descended from the heavens.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
Being in the moment with the kids. No kid in their right mind wants to be at the entire wedding. All that sitting still and quietly waiting for this, that, and the other thing.I remember as a junior bridesmaid at my sister’s wedding the things I hated about the day more than the positives. I remember being hot in my dress. My socks itched and my shoes were slippery and pinched my feet. At times I was bored. I see this so much with our wedding day charges. I get to give them the break I had wanted.
What advice can you give brides planning a wedding?
It’s your day. Not the kids. Not the parents. Not the grandparents. I hate when a bride contacts me because she was pressured into inviting the children to her wedding and reception. I don’t want to be hired under duress. Yes, there have been times I have helped brides develop backbone on this even though it meant I wasn’t going to be working their wedding.
That said you do have take into consideration parents of children who may be coming from out of town to your wedding. Many couples put our information on their websites or pass it along to family and friends in need of childcare. The couple doesn’t have to be our client. Sometimes it’s the grandparents who are parents also of the bride and groom, or siblings.
Coordination is still needed so direct them to us and we can guide them as well. We’re insured nationwide and we have caregiver connections everywhere.
How far in advance should a bride book your services?
Right away. The big reason why is the couple needs to determine if they are going to have an adult only wedding or a family friendly one. There are some venues we really get uncomfortable working in as well because they have several architectural and environmental risks for children. I have blogged about this. A planner that I have worked with a few times contacted me at one point to say we will be needing your services, I asked where and when. She replied I don’t know we haven’t found the venue yet, I’ve read your list of things you don’t like about venues and I’m looking for one you won’t say no to and there are a lot of kids coming.
If a couple knows there are many kids coming and want our services there they need to know our cost so they can factor it into their budget. So often couples contact us after the RSVPs are in right before the wedding and are shocked to learn how much it can be to have us watch 20 or more kids.
I understand the couple isn’t going to have final counts but get on our booking calendar and give us a potential range of kids, we will give you the corresponding range of prices, and adjust things along the way as parents get back to you on their childcare needs.