A brand-new island-based business is linking the start of their new business with the start of many new lives together, as Western Isles Wedding Nannies launch their new service.

Wedding Nannies are a new idea for Lewis and Harris, where children have traditionally always been part of wedding celebrations, but Ness-based Tori Macinnes is determined to combine the best of traditional family celebrations with new ideas.

“When I got married my own parents missed parts of the day because they were helping to look after my children, who were then very young. My ambition is to let people relax and enjoy themselves on what is such a special day, but at the same time to make sure that children can be involved and enjoy the day too.”

Tori, a registered childminder, has got together with Stornoway-based friends Julie Drummond and Anna Macleod to plan the service. All three have their HNC qualification in childcare, have been PVG checked and are certified by the Scottish Social Services Council, while Tori has recently added training in Covid-19 hygiene to her portfolio.

They’re also all very experienced in childcare, both in professional settings and with their own families, having worked in nurseries in the islands. Tori has her own three sons Ryan (10), Charlie (7) and four-year-old Jamie. Ryan is pictured here when he was four years old, at Tori’s own wedding.

The business-plan for Western Isles Wedding Nannies has been hatching during lockdown, as brides and grooms hold their breath for Phase 4 of Scotland’s lockdown easing, when ceremonies and mass gatherings will be resumed.

The uncertainty of the exact timetable when weddings might start again hasn’t stopped the planning. Two packages are to be offered, one offering a dedicated kids’ zone in a room set aside with space to play, explore and nap. Two nannies will be needed for that option.

The second package will involve three or four nannies and offers two kids’ zones. One provides a calm, separate space where younger children can be looked after and older children chill out later in the evening. The second zone is in the wedding hall itself, where children can be more active and get involved in the dance and other activities.

Toys, snacks and juice, art activities, naps and preparation for bed-time are all part of the packages. Even wedding themes – whether it’s a colour scheme or an ‘event’ theme – can be built in.

Tori has built up a stock of toys and materials including a tee-pee for play, games and puzzles, bubbles, playmats and even a trampoline if there’s space. All the toys and equipment will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before and after use and there will be sanitiser, regular hand-washing and food hygiene practised throughout.

Tori said: “We looked at what other wedding nanny companies were doing in Glasgow and down south and mixed it up with the way island weddings are planned. We want this to add to people’s day and make special memories for kids as well as adults.

“We have advertised the service locally and on some Highland and Scottish wedding pages, although we plan to work just in Lewis and Harris initially. If things take off, we’ll look at recruiting more nannies.”

For now, as it is for couples everywhere, it’s just a question of waiting for the go-ahead from the Scottish Government and then Western Isles Wedding Nannies will be ready for special wedding days galore!

You can contact Tori Macinnes and Western Isles Wedding Nannies via their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Western-Isles-Wedding-Nannies-101817658273459/