OPEN THREAD: Forget regular chairs, do we need to rent highchairs at our wedding?

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Pink and Gold Highchair Tutu from Etsy seller MyTuTuCuteBoutique
Pink and Gold Highchair Tutu from Etsy seller MyTuTuCuteBoutique
Oh my goodness, the RSVP's are coming in and we're super-excited. Except that our effort to make our weekend wedding all-inclusive and family-friendly means that parents are asking whether we can provide high chairs at the summer camp resort we've rented.

Is that the kind of thing we should have considered? Is there a nice way of saying “Dude, I wasn't even going to drop $3 per person to rent a chair for YOUR awesome ass — everyone is getting a rusted old folding chair, and your baby will eat on the floor LIKE A DOG”?

Also, anything else we should consider for the friends-with-babies crowd? We're putting all of them on an email to coordinate activities, but since they're too young for awesome coloring books, anything we should keep in mind? -Ashley

Oh dang, is “high chair rental” the next wedding industrial price gouger? What have those of you who have invited kids but not rented chairs done?

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Comments on OPEN THREAD: Forget regular chairs, do we need to rent highchairs at our wedding?

  1. No, you don’t need to provide a high chair. Portable highchairs exist for families who really feel they need one, so those who contacted you may just be asking if they should bring their own. It ties down around the folding chair. However, most parents can hold and feed a baby or toddler. We took our little one to weddings and had no trouble holding or wearing her the whole time. As far as other prep, have some trash can you don’t mind diapers going in. Also, access to a clean private place to nurse is not at all necessary, but really nice.

  2. A quiet space for naps and/or nursing is important. With renting a summer camp, that should be easy for you! When we took our four month old to a synagogue wedding and had to be there all day for various activities, the bride and groom were able to get the synagogue to open up one of the sunday school classrooms for our daughter to nap/play/etc.
    High chairs are nice, but parents can bring their own generally. If they are flying in it would be nice of you to provide one if asked.
    A big thing is making sure there is a place they can change a baby’s diaper. I really, really hate changing my baby’s diaper on the often-disgusting or wet floor of a bathroom, but I also don’t want to be rude and change the diaper in the common space if you don’t want that. If you don’t mind people changing the baby’s diaper somewhere else, like an extra bedroom in the main house or something, let your guests with babies know.
    Checking in with your guests with babies about their individual needs is probably the best option. I usually nurse, for example, but if I were going to a wedding I might prefer to give my baby a bottle so I could drink (more) and would need a way to get hot water in a bowl or mug so I could warm the bottle. Friends who are using formula might also need some extra assistance.

  3. If it’s at a summer camp you might be able to get high chairs provided. Sometimes they’ll have family camp and have high chairs in storage somewhere for that.

    If not, I would say tell them to bring their own, or maybe see if any local guests have one they can bring that they won’t need. Beyond that, I wouldn’t say it’s your responsibility.

  4. Hey fellow confused–by-baby-at-wedding tribes-mate. I sat down with a few mothers I knew and got this shortlist:

    1. Tell them they need to bring their own highchair but assure them you will provide them with a place to put it.
    2. Consider nursing mothers and possible private/quiet areas where they can tend to their babies.
    3. Ask venue/caterer etc if they will warm up baby food and milk (apparently this was a problem at a cousins wedding) and let the parent-guests know how they can do this.
    4. Baby snooze dumping ground (heh) – I’m borrowing one of my friends pop-up tents and filling it with blankets etc for when the little angels conk out early.

  5. I had a very informal party at an art gallery with function room for my reception, no formal place settings, top tables etc, just the standard tables and chairs that the venue had which were like something you would find in a school or college, definitely not weddingey.

    We didn’t have many kids (a few nieces and nephews) but I did make sure there were highchairs (and baby changing facilities) for the few babies and toddlers and their parents that there were as they were staying away from home to attend and couldn’t bring their own with them. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way here but time spent with my nieces and nephews (I am not a parent) made it clear that it was be tonnes easier for their parents if there were highchairs available. It’s hard to actually eat a meal with a squirming toddler on your lap or when every five minutes you need to jump up and grab them and put them back on their standard adult chair. It’s even worse if there is more than one….. It’s also handy to be able to set the chair away from the table and therefore make it less easy for the to grab stuff, this is especially true with older babies who are in that exploring how their hands work stage and don’t understand that a random guests sunglasses are not for eating/taking apart/throwing away etc. A highchair can equal a brief period of blissful respite for a parent of an overstimulated tiny human totally out of their normal routine.

    I was lucky that highchairs and baby changing facilities came with the venue, if they didn’t it would have been important enough to me to have hired them or to have chosen a different venue because I knew with the particular parents and children involved it would have made for an easier less stressy experience. It will be different for different families. This was my choice and making a different one is not wrong but if it’s something you can afford (if it the case that the summer camp does not have them as standard) then I can’t imagine you’d regret it and the parents that use them will be very grateful!

  6. There were two babies (4-5 months) and three toddlers at our wedding. I did ask the parents of the babies (one also had a toddler) because they were traveling a long distance. The one said her son could sit in his stroller so I made sure there was enough room at the table for the stroller, and the other said that she could hold him. It turned out that there were two highchairs that were ok for young babies (e.g., high backs with five point harnesses) at the venue (we though that there were only the typical low back ones you find at restaurants) so the babies sat in those. The toddlers sat in their own chairs or on their parents’ laps or their parents brought booster seats (one even brought a pack n play to keep the kid wrangled during the reception).

    As a parent I wouldn’t expect a bride/groom to supply a highchair. I would see if they knew if there was a highchair available at the venue (and I would offer to call if they didn’t know), but my kid is my responsibility and highchairs are just “nice to haves” (i.e., I can hold my kid while my husband eats and then switch off). Baby changing facilities and a quiet place to nurse (my daughter can’t eat while distracted and she gets distracted very easily) are higher on my list than a highchair. The first time we took our daughter out she was 7 weeks old and we brought her to a fundraiser gala for a program that supports pregnant women/new mothers. The venue did not have change tables so we had to change her on the bathroom floor (with a changing mat under her). The venue also only consisted of the hall, the kitchen, two single bathrooms, a vestibule and a storage closet/utility room. I had to feed my daughter in the vestibule (someone suggested the bathroom – which would have meant there was only one bathroom for 80 or so people) which was ok but it was cool that night and draft every time someone opened the door. I later found out that the young women the program supports had set up a pack n play in the storage room to change their babies and so their babies could nap. (They are having it at a different venue next year.)

  7. I would provide a nice big blanket to park the little ones on. Either that or parents laps.

  8. I’ve reread your question several times and come away with different interpretations. Are you having a wedding and reception on a weekend day, or are you having an entire weekend for your wedding? Are you housing people at this camp, or are you simply feeding them?

    If guests are coming in for a few hours for a single meal, then you probably don’t need to get baby stuff. Ask around to see if you can borrow high chairs if people really need them, but if you can’t get them, don’t sweat it.

    If you’re having a wedding weekend, I think you need to be a bit more accommodating. Ask local friends if they have baby stuff you can use for the weekend and ask your local wedding guests to bring extras for out-of-town guests. You don’t need to go high end on all the baby stuff.

  9. …I don’t think I’ve ever seen a child in a high chair at a wedding reception.
    Either they stay in the carrier, or in their parents’ (or other relatives) laps.

  10. We asked the parents of young kids what they would need at our wedding – most were fine with laps/strollers, but one family did request a high chair. We were able to borrow one from one of my mom’s coworkers. So, if people request it, I would try to accommodate, but I think there are ways to do it by borrowing from family/friends rather than renting.

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