December 14, 2021
(NEW YORK) — Mollie Yarsike was at a dinner party when she noticed that the hosts’ child was not having a good time. A veteran babysitter, Yarsike knew what to do to turn things around.
“I tried to make a game of something and hung out with her and I got home and realized there needed to be something so that kids could still feel special at adult-focused events,” Yarsike said. Shortly after, her business Black Tie Kids was born.
Black Tie Kids provides onsite childcare at weddings and other special events. Black Tie Kids allows for an “adults only” wedding experience without putting stress on guests to find childcare, which proves especially helpful when guests come in from out of town. Instead of simply providing babysitters to watch guests’ children, Black Tie Kids puts on a camp-like experience filled with crafts and activities, allowing the kids to have just as much fun as their parents. “Our attention is fully on them,” said Yarsike, “so their parents are able to relax, take a breather and enjoy their night while the kids are also having so much fun.”
Yarsike is based in New York City and provides services throughout the city and the surrounding suburban areas. She also operates a team of counselors in Los Angeles, where the business was first started, who continue to work events throughout Southern California. All her counselors are background checked and there is always a counselor on-site who is CPR and First Aid certified.Her sister venture is Black Tie Pups, which helps couples incorporate beloved dogs into their wedding day. Its dog sitters make sure the couple’s pet is ready for family photos or walking down the aisle as part of the ceremony. It will even take the dog back home if needed. “I realized it would be such an easy add-on because a lot of people treat their dogs like their children,” Yarsike said.
Like many others in the wedding industry, Yarsike went through a period at the beginning of the pandemic where weddings came to a complete halt. The timing was especially unfortunate for Yarsike as she had just moved to New York City and was starting an expansion of the business there. “Once March happened, there was nothing until May,” she said. “I was hoping to do so many more weddings because I’d be in two different cities now.”
As the world has opened back up, the wedding industry is back and busier than ever. An industry market report predicts that revenue will be increasingly high over the next few years as postponed weddings occur alongside new ones. Shane McMurray, a wedding industry expert, told the New York Times that he believes that weddings in 2022 will jump to their highest levels since the 1980s and Timothy Chi, CEO of wedding website The Knot, told CNBC that their research found that in the wake of the pandemic, 66 percent of couples will be increasing their budgets to add aspects to their weddings that “may make the day ‘more special.’”
Business has been booming for Yarsike, with more than 20 weddings booked for the coming year and inquiries coming in daily, especially on the pups’ side of things. “Everyone got a dog during the pandemic and they’re so attached to the dog and vice versa,” she said. “They want that dog there at the wedding and taken care of.”One of the biggest hurdles Yarsike faces when booking weddings is convincing clients that the investment is worth it when they may not have faced the difficulties of booking childcare. “Typically the couple getting married don’t have a child, so they just see it as another expense for a very expensive night,” she said. “You have to think about if you don’t want children at your wedding, is this going to prevent guests from coming? How can I have the people that I want at my wedding come without kids but ensure that they’re still able to come?”
Jamie Kennedy weighed this decision heavily during her wedding planning process. “More than anything, we were afraid of baby cries breaking up the ceremony,” she said.
She ended up discovering Black Tie Kids. “Knowing they were being entertained and taken care of in the other room during the ceremony and then could join the party after was a huge weight lifted off our shoulders,” she said.
Yarsike’s goal is for child care and dog care services at weddings to be a no-brainer part of planning for the day. “I’m trying to make it so that you have your DJ, you have your caterer, your cake maker, your wedding planner – and Black Tie Kids.”