La Vida Más Chévere de Childfree Latinas

Saying "I Do" Without the Diapers: 5 Rules for a Childfree Wedding

July 09, 2024 Paulette Erato Episode 67
Saying "I Do" Without the Diapers: 5 Rules for a Childfree Wedding
La Vida Más Chévere de Childfree Latinas
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La Vida Más Chévere de Childfree Latinas
Saying "I Do" Without the Diapers: 5 Rules for a Childfree Wedding
Jul 09, 2024 Episode 67
Paulette Erato

Wanna share your thoughts? Send a text!

What's the "proper" way to tell your guests you want a childfree wedding? From the etiquette of hosting an adult-only affair to the most tactful ways to convey this message to your guests, we're all over this sometimes-taboo topic.

Childfree couple Paulette and Ryan Erato have some experience in this arena. And after going viral on Threads for asking the question, "what do YOU think is the classiest way to say “this is a childfree wedding?”,  with over 4,000 commenters chiming in with their thoughts, lots of people have opinions and questions about it! 

To give the happy couple guidelines, this episode covers the 5 steps to hosting your own childfree/adults-only wedding. Including the dos and don'ts of addressing invitation envelopes, filling out RSVP cards, and explicit notations to ensure the child-free message is received (hopefully with grace).

We also share some of the most classy and clever ways to word your childfree wedding invitations, as suggested by the Threads community. From setting clear boundaries to offering free childcare at the wedding venue, there are a wide range of approaches to make your adult-only wedding an enjoyable experience for all.

And stay tuned for part 2 of this story, as Paulette and Ryan read the worst and funniest advice received on this thread.

Want to send in your childfree wedding story? Submit your story at pauletteerato.com/childfreewedding

To get the full show notes—including links to all the comments—and an episode transcript, go to PauletteErato.com/shownotes. This is episode 67.

Even though comments are turned off, you can still check out the viral thread here.

Support the Show.

Like what you hear? Reach out to send your thoughts, and don't forget to grab a limited edition LVMC baseball t-shirt. Check it out at pauletteerato.com/shop.

How to reach me:

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Wanna share your thoughts? Send a text!

What's the "proper" way to tell your guests you want a childfree wedding? From the etiquette of hosting an adult-only affair to the most tactful ways to convey this message to your guests, we're all over this sometimes-taboo topic.

Childfree couple Paulette and Ryan Erato have some experience in this arena. And after going viral on Threads for asking the question, "what do YOU think is the classiest way to say “this is a childfree wedding?”,  with over 4,000 commenters chiming in with their thoughts, lots of people have opinions and questions about it! 

To give the happy couple guidelines, this episode covers the 5 steps to hosting your own childfree/adults-only wedding. Including the dos and don'ts of addressing invitation envelopes, filling out RSVP cards, and explicit notations to ensure the child-free message is received (hopefully with grace).

We also share some of the most classy and clever ways to word your childfree wedding invitations, as suggested by the Threads community. From setting clear boundaries to offering free childcare at the wedding venue, there are a wide range of approaches to make your adult-only wedding an enjoyable experience for all.

And stay tuned for part 2 of this story, as Paulette and Ryan read the worst and funniest advice received on this thread.

Want to send in your childfree wedding story? Submit your story at pauletteerato.com/childfreewedding

To get the full show notes—including links to all the comments—and an episode transcript, go to PauletteErato.com/shownotes. This is episode 67.

Even though comments are turned off, you can still check out the viral thread here.

Support the Show.

Like what you hear? Reach out to send your thoughts, and don't forget to grab a limited edition LVMC baseball t-shirt. Check it out at pauletteerato.com/shop.

How to reach me:

Buen día, mi gente, and welcome to La Vida Más Chévere de Childfree Latinas, the only Spanglish podcast for childfree Latinas y Latines, helping us liberate ourselves from the toxic cultural brainwashing we all grew up with so that we can design our best lives instead. I'm your host and resident childfree Latina, Paulette Erato. Today we are continuing to talk about childfree weddings because weddings by themselves can be a big, toxic mess. Am I right or am I wrong, babe? You are totally right. It's gonna be a total sludge fest. A sludge fest. They do tend to bring out the worst in people, which Ryan and I have some experience with. We're not going to talk about that today, but the wedding industrial complex does exist, and they'll make you feel bad if you don't spend the three month salary on your engagement ring, or if you don't mortgage your entire future for the wedding of your dreams. It's terrible, and maybe one day we'll attack that head on, but today we're talking specifically about childfree weddings and what that looks like. Because I made a post on Threads recently, and it went viral! Who knew? As of this recording, the post asking "wedding invitations. What do you think is the classiest way to say this is a childfree wedding?" Has over a million views. It's over 6, 900 likes, over 4, 000 comments, and 212 reposts or rethreads. I don't, I don't really know what they're called on this platform. Anyway, so why not take some of these great responses and some of the not so great responses and talk about it with my husband, who is cute and adorable and also a childfree man. That was a very popular post you had. I'm curious to see, like, which way it went. Oh, well, actually, other creators have started stealing it and reposting it as their own content. So now I know I've made it. What a form of flattery. Yeah, plagiarism. Another thing to deal with in this world. Anyway, for the audience, I've asked El Husbando Ryan, to join me because Ryan and I had a childfree wedding. Two of them, right baby? We did. How did you feel about that? Well, two is better than one. Like, two breakfasts are better than one breakfast. Two slices of pizza are better than one slice of pizza. You might remember Ryan from our episode on Puerto Rico. If you haven't heard about that big life lesson, I'll leave you a link in the show notes. I will also leave a link in the show notes to the original viral post. I've since turned off comments because, again, 4, 000 of them is enough. But we're going to read you some today. Obviously, since there was 4, 000, we're not going to go through all of them because some responders clearly did not understand the assignment. They tried to turn it into a moral debate about whether or not childfree weddings should even be a thing. My favorite response to that was pointing out that in Bridgerton, you never see the kids at one of these balls that they're having all the time, which is both true. And hilariously off the mark because everyone you see in Bridgerton, which is a fake show about fake people, is the equivalent of modern day millionaires, if not billionaires, which we're not. Right, babe? Are you, are you secretly a billionaire? I was gonna say, all those people are pretty rich in that show. Yeah, which we're not. We're just normal schmoes. And I'm going to assume everybody who is in my comment section also a normal schmo. I don't think there's a lot of billionaires lurking in my comments. So, what we're going to do this episode, we're going to talk about the proper etiquette for this kind of thing, because that exists. There are actual social rules for invitations, which aren't toxic. They're very good rules and many comments actually pointed that out. And then if we have time, we're going to address how these things work in practice and whether or not everyone in that situation is a rational, level headed adult, which it turns out most people are not, is a different story. So wedding invitations. What is the etiquette for hosting a wedding that you only want to have adults at? We've managed to nail this down to five ways to ensure that the message for an adult-only affair is delivered properly. So here are the five steps to making your wedding a childfree event. Step one. The first thing you do is address the invitation to only the people who are invited. So if you were inviting Ryan and I to your wedding, which we'd love. Especially if there's like an open bar or something. You would address it to Mr. and Mrs. Ryan Erato or just Mr. and Mrs. Erato, because those are our names. If you were inviting our make believe children, of which we have none, but let's pretend, it would be addressed to the Erato family. So you see the difference there. So that's step one. And when you're planning a wedding, you will learn all of these things. You will end up Googling everything. In fact, we Googled the proper way to do this on our wedding invitations. So step two is to fill out the RSVP card that you insert in the invitation, that card that is going to be mailed back to you. You fill that out with the explicit number of people that you expect to come. So again, if you're addressing it to Mr. and Mrs. Erato, you as the person hosting it would fill in the RSVP card with the number two on our card. That would signal to us, in case we missed who the invitation was addressed to, that only the two of us are expected to attend. If we had kids and you were cool with us bringing all of them, and let's pretend for shits and giggles in this scenario that we have seven kids, because it's all make believe, then you'd write a nine on that line, and we would understand that all of us are invited to attend. Can you imagine having seven kids? We don't even have seven plants. No, seven's a lot of anything. If you, as a wedding invitee, receive a card with a number on it, sometimes it'll be blank, and that's great. That's between you and the host. Congratulations, you probably can bring a plus one. But if there is a number on it, please don't cross it out, and add a higher number. If you got a two, don't bring three or four. That's not how it works. You can cross it out and write in a lower number. Say you got a two and there's only going to be one of you. That's cool. That way the happy couple can invite someone else on their secondary guest list if there is one. Or if you're solo and you want to bring a plus one, but you're only given one seat on your RSVP card, it is rude to show up with an extra guest they didn't account for. Weddings are expensive. Our wedding was on the less expensive side, but it was still like, what, 50 bucks a head, babe? Plus tax, plus service charge. It adds up. Yeah, it came out to about $70 a person. And that adds up if everyone starts disregarding these social rules. You can definitely ask a couple if you can bring a plus one because once those RSVPs start rolling in and people send their regrets, inevitably there might be one or two spots, but that's not a guarantee. So don't go in with that expectation. Besides, weddings are a great place to meet people. Did you ever meet hot babes at weddings, babe? Hmm. I've come to meet them at the bars. I met you at a bar. You did meet me at a bar. What's the next step in having a childfree wedding? So step three, you've addressed your labels and all that, and now you want to explicitly put somewhere on the invitation that the event is adult-only. Some people might not mind if there are kids at the ceremony, given that there's roles for the younger kids, like ring bearers or flower girls and all of that cool stuff. If you want to be escorted down the aisle by a child, that's cool. And that can be really cute. But if you don't want that, that's also cool. Uh, if you don't want them at both the ceremony and the dinner, then you can say so because you can set those boundaries. Boundaries are good. They're very healthy. So just putting the words like adults-only somewhere on the invitation, pretty sure that's what ours said, right, babe? Maybe. I think so. We did expect a few kids at a very short 20 minute ceremony. So ours said adults-only reception to follow. That actually makes sense. Yeah. Yeah. So we kind of set the boundary, like it's cool for the beginning part, but then it's going to be adults-only afterwards. Right. And in fact, a lot of people in the comments had wording for this, and we will get to that in a little bit. The fourth thing you should do, especially if you have a wedding website, is include this information on the site front and center. Like if you have wedding FAQs, I'll have links in the show notes to examples that some people posted. One question was, can I bring my kids? And the answer to that was. Only if they're over 21. Yeah. I mean, at that point, they're not really a kid, right? They're an adult. The fifth and final step to ensure that the adult-only or childfree message gets across is you have to tell people verbally, get that out there as soon as possible, as far in advance as you can. We told our families as soon as we could, right? We knew from the jump, we were having a childfree wedding. We got engaged in April of 2015, and then the wedding was set for October of the following year. So we had about 18 months to plan for that, and we just, we got that information out ASAP. In fact, our wedding was at a brewery, so we could have used that as an excuse, as like the venue wasn't going to allow it. But that wasn't true for us because it was technically a restaurant, but you might end up with a venue that does have those restrictions and it's totally okay to use that as an excuse that does take the pressure off you because it's a legal thing at that point. No one wants to get sued. No one wants to risk losing their insurance. And so, something to think about. Pick your venue wisely, but also just get that message out there. Anything you want to add, babe? Anything from your own personal experience? Just maybe be ready if people don't like your rules and they don't want to come because of that, you have to be prepared for that. Some people don't like that you don't want to have kids there. Yeah, and again, a boundary. You need to be comfortable enforcing that boundary. Alright, let's get to the fun part about how to properly address the invites, reading people's responses. I think we only have time to do the ones that actually answer the question, "what do you think is the classiest way to say this is a childfree wedding?" But next episode, if you'll come back, babe, we can do the really hilarious ones because there was some really good stuff in there. And we can even talk about the debate this sparked, because people can't just answer a simple question. They have to make up stories in their mind, and then they attack from that point of view, which is just a consequence of being on the internet. One of those stories is that I hate kids, which is patently untrue. In fact, the older I get, the more I actually like them, which is surprising to me. Babe, do you hate kids? Only the ones that don't taste very good. I mean, yeah, little chubby kids are nice. Let's get down to what people actually said in this viral thread. At painting underscore pagan said, my wedding site states it right on the front page. No guests or plus ones under 21. The Q and A section of my site looked like this, and I'll have this in the extended show notes over on the website. So, the first question is, can I bring my kids? Answer, only if your kids are over 21. But my kid's really cute, are you sure? Yes, we are. Next question. Surely you don't mean my kids, right? Answer is yes, we do. I mean, that seems pretty clear, pretty clear boundaries from at you training or nah. This is how they handled it. So they also have like an FAQ thingy on their website. Can I bring a date? No, unless a plus one is specified. Please bring only yourself. No surprise guest. Uh, and our kids welcome by invite only, please again, no surprise guest. So that one was very polite. Very polite. At Kushed Kate, great name, wrote alongside the invite, we had three inserts, and one was the RSVP card that said this. Please use our wedding website to RSVP. Although we love your little ones, this is an adult-only affair. Again, very polite. From at, Denny, underscore, Dela. It's all about location and time. Nobody brought children to our wedding that started at 8 p. m. in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. The venue was the Great American Music Hall and it was located next to a strip club. That's cool. I should have just had it at the strip club. Know your audience. The Tenderloin district, not known as a child friendly area. Venues next to strip clubs, also not very child friendly venues. Again, know your venue. At Mama Kasey Life wrote, as much as we love your children, this is an adults-only event. That's simple and to the point. Brand with Deanna, I would just assume it's childfree. Call me old fashioned, but wedding invitations are for you and your plus one, not you and your entire family. Maybe it goes back to how you addressed them in the first place. I mean, I'm with Brand with Deanna. We should all assume that weddings are not for children, but people just don't operate that way, unfortunately. At moi. by. yelena wrote, Mine had, though we cherish your little ones, we made a choice to have our special day an adult-only event. P. S. It was a rooftop event, which again, picking that venue to ensure that nobody brings kids because you don't want kids jumping off the roof. At Sugar Pusher, that's a cool name, they just said this is a childfree wedding and they put that on their wedding website. So simple. Again, clear boundaries. Um, a person from Belgium whose name I am not going to be able to pronounce, but again, all of these will be in the show notes, wrote, I'm in Belgium. Weddings here are usually a ceremony, reception, then move to a different location for dinner and party. It's kind of the habit to have the kids with you for the ceremony and maybe the reception, but then everybody goes home to change into the extra nice clothes and take the kids to the babysitter. The wedding party then goes and has a photo shoot, then everyone comes together for the evening part of it without children. I like it that way. Best of both worlds, kind of. The next wedding I'm going to specifically stated to have a children's reception as well, so we know they're welcome for a longer part of the wedding. Which was a cool insight into a different culture's way of approaching this. And Ryan and I spent our honeymoon in Belgium, so we like that. Yes. We can have another wedding and then another honeymoon to go there. Okay. Promise? Yes. From at the dot Ashley dot Darlene. The classiest thing is to be straightforward and clear. Being vague and flowery leaves room for, well, that's what that meant? They, they are correct. Being straightforward is the classiest thing to do. At Roy dot bleh wrote, adults-only message is clear, but doesn't mention child. The word child itself makes people overly sensitive, lol. And I agree with Roy. People are too sensitive sometimes. At dahee dot forex. They recently got an invitation that said it just like that. No kids invited. Straightforward. Again, no flowery language. At Aja Sacks wrote, adult-only, or leave your littles at home, or come party without the kids, or 18 plus. So thank you for those four options, Aja Sacks. Yes, I like those. They all sound like fun times. At Tania Bradkin, We have decided to make our wedding day an adults-only event. We cherish children and look forward to celebrating with them at future gatherings. Thank you for your understanding and support. A little bit more words, but still direct. MXIB 90. With regret due to venue constraints, children attending are by invitation only. That way, if you do have certain kids, your immediate family is covered. At Michelle Nicole dot X wrote, we wrote, we promise we love your kids. However, we want you to relax and enjoy the evening. So we politely ask that the celebration remain adults-only. Simple as that. Smiling emoji. The next one we have is from someone who actually sold wedding invitation. This room is at AR March. When I sold wedding invitations, we used to advise just putting it on your invite of something like adult reception. And also being clear who the invite is for. Mr. and Mrs. Jones means something different than the Jones family or Mr. and Mrs. Jones family. If more RSVPs come in for an invitation than you invited, then you have to navigate the awkward call, text, or email. It could be awkward. And unnecessary, because people don't know etiquette. So we're here trying to educate people that whoever it's addressed to is who's invited. I really appreciated this next response. Atjenboo215 wrote, Why do people want to bring their children to someone else's wedding anyway? Like, bring a date, have a good time, eat a good meal, and shut the fuck up. Anyway. Those are good rules. She also asked ChatGPT for us. This is what ChatGPT said. It gave four answers. One, to allow all guests to relax and enjoy themselves, we have chosen to make our special day an adult-only occasion. It's very nice. Number two, we love your little ones, but we request this be an adult-only occasion. Okay? Number three, to give all our guests the opportunity to celebrate without having to worry about little eyes and ears, we politely request no children. It sounds like it's going to be like a rap concert or something, like a heavy metal show. Or there's going to be sex happening. Right in front of our eyes. Finally, we appreciate your understanding in making our wedding day an adults-only event. So, four different ways to say the exact same thing. I think that last one was probably the best. From ChatGPT. Yeah. From at Gail Galvonoran, I know the easiest way is not to include the children's name on the envelope. Mr. and Mrs. Not the Smith family, but some are so dense that they don't get the hint and you have to spell it out for them. So yeah, just Mr. and Mrs. Smith, but no family. It's the hidden code. Finally, I like this comment. At Freckled Mama wrote, A small but obvious notation under the location info of adults-only or adult-only reception. I think some long statement of we love your kids, but blah, blah, blah is so unnecessary. As a mom of eight, I too enjoy childfree events. Every couple deserves the day they envision. Thank you, Freckled Mama, because that's not the typical response I was getting from parents in that thread, so it's nice to read something from a sane individual. Also, how did you have eight kids? I hope she gets a day off. She needs it with all that. I hope she does too. She does deserve that. And I think that's the bottom line, that you have the day you can afford, make that as beautiful and as memorable as possible within your budget. There were also a couple of suggestions that the wedding host should pay for babysitting. And while I think that's a very nice gesture and it's something you and I expected we would do, we did include that in our budgeting. It's also, awfully presumptuous. And let me explain why. One is you're demanding that as the host, they spend their money for your decisions of having children after they're already paying for your food and your drinks. I mean, we had an open bar at ours. Those are not cheap. And yes, I get the childcare is expensive. We also understand that. That's part of the reason Ryan and I don't have kids. We want to spend our money in a different way. So assuming that the host has to pay for your childcare when they're not inviting your children in the first place feels wildly inappropriate. It reminds me of another post I made, I think this was on Instagram or TikTok, where a woman posted on Reddit that she and her four friends were going out to dinner, and every month somebody else picks up the check. Well, that month it was her turn, and she's the only one without kids. And yet they all told her she had to pay for the babysitting, too. And she's like, wait, what? That's not part of the deal. Anyway, what do you think, babe? Anything you want to add? Yeah, I mean, like, look, if they need to be, like we talked about earlier, they need to be flexible. People aren't going to make it because you're wanting to not have kids. And if you really want someone to be there because they're like BFF or something, by all means, if you want to help them, if they needed your help to pay,, like that's all on you. But it shouldn't be the expectation of if you're not having kids at a wedding that you have to pay for the kids that are not at your wedding. I do think a special note needs to be made if you're having people travel to your wedding. Because they won't necessarily be able to get local childcare or leave their kids for however long they're coming to your wedding. That being said, even offering childcare still isn't good enough for some people, and you just have to be okay with that. The truth is, if you're going to have a childfree wedding, you have to understand that some people are just not going to make it, and you have to be okay with that. You don't get to have it both ways. Childcare is expensive. And so is attending weddings. So asking people to do both is not necessarily feasible. And that's just the reality. We had a few cousins on my side who couldn't make our wedding because of childcare issues. And we offered babysitting and still that wasn't going to work out for them. So we just had to accept it. They didn't want strangers watching their kids, right? Yeah. I think you just have to decide on what's more important to you, having everybody at the wedding or having the wedding that you want. Yeah. It's an invitation, not a summons. Just because you invite someone to your wedding doesn't mean you get to dictate that they be there. Again, social niceties. It's nice in theory, but it could still blow up in your face. And if drama happens, you're well within your rights to rescind an invitation at any time because if it's going to cause drama for you, you've got enough going on while you're planning a wedding that you don't need the extra stress. Just be like, okay, don't come. But then be prepared for other guests to also take offense of that. And then maybe your guest list goes from like 90 people to 40 people, right? It's fine. It's fine, right, babe? It's fine. Everything is fine. I mean, then there's more drinks for everyone else that are left. Silver lining. More food, more drinks, more good times. So anyway, there were two people that did suggest the child care thing. And I kind of, I want to touch on that because there's some nuance here. So why don't you go ahead and tell us what Mama Stachy said or Mamu Stachy. Mamu Stachy. Would like to suggest giving a contact number for the family member, like an auntie or something, who's coordinating a central place for the babysitting. Uh, that's a great use for teens not invited and make sure they get paid. If you have any like older cousins or something that would be willing to and able to, or watch younger children, make it worth their while and pay them. That's sticky because this is going to vary family by family. If a couple of the teenagers are willing to do that, great idea. Kick them a few bucks, order some pizza, make sure they're prepared to take care of however many kids end up in that room. Because that's asking a lot from teenagers, especially if they're outnumbered. And then Mark underscore A underscore Schaefer, what did he say? So it sounds like he's getting married soon. And they said, we're offering free child care at the facility where the wedding is taking place so that your kiddos will be well taken care of during the festivities. What they put on their invite. That's a nice gesture. It's a very nice idea. But like we said, reality might just not work out with that either. You got to be okay with that. Yeah. Like you said, some people might not want to just drop their kids off somewhere random. And also a lot of venues might not have that available, that availability nearby. Right. So a lot of things to juggle there. So yeah, childfree weddings are great, but you might get pushback and that's just the reality of the situation. Well, like you said, I'm just reiterating that childfree weddings are awesome. They're fun. And if you get a chance to have one, you should do it. You should have two weddings. If you have kids and you want to have kids at a wedding, have a kid full wedding and then have a kid free wedding too. Yeah. Nothing's stopping you. I mean, my brother's weddings have all had kids at them and they were fun in a different way than ours were. Ours were a place where adults could let their hair down and not worry about it. My younger brother had his son as his best man at his most recent wedding this year. And that was sweet. And he gave one of the most amazing best man speeches I've ever heard. We were all brought to tears. I'm going to choke up if I keep thinking about that, but he's also 16. He's a little bit older than five. Or a baby, he's not in diapers. So you get to choose the restrictions if you're going to have one. Like maybe you don't want anyone under 13. Maybe you don't want anyone under five. You want someone old enough who can like sit through the wedding or whatever the reception and the only thing we had to worry about at our wedding were the planes flying overhead. Every so often, instead of babies crying, so pick your poison. There was, there was a plane that came in just right at that 20 minute mark when we thought we'd be done. That's okay. It worked out. I also forgot my vows. So all kinds of things can, can go awry on the day of your wedding, regardless of who's there and who you invited. It's all about at the end of the day, at the end of the wedding, that you're now with this person for the rest of your life. No matter what happened on that wedding day. Yep. Yep. Yep. Yep. Highly recommend a courthouse wedding just to get the paperwork out of the way. Anyway, stay tuned for next time because Ryan's going to come back and we're going to talk about the really funny and even distasteful responses we received. I even asked people to send me the worst ways to get the message across. And wow, my Instagram friends delivered. So that's next time on La Vida Más Chévere. If you would like to share your childfree wedding story, whether it's about your wedding or someone else's, come and spill the tea. There's a link in the show notes on how to share that. I'd love to hear it from you. Babe, how do we end this show? That's a burrito. Hey, mira, if this episode made you feel some kind of way, dígame. DM me on Instagram, or send me a text. You can do that right from your phone. If you want to be a guest on the show and put your story out there too, check out the guest form on my website at pauletterato. com slash guest. Yep, just my name, pauletterato. com slash guest. Y no se te olvide que hay más perks when you join the newsletter. Todos estos links están en los show notes. Muchísimas gracias for your support y hasta la próxima vez, cuídate bien.

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