I’m tired of complicating life for brides and grooms.

Have you noticed how every engaged person really is two people? There’s the joyful person – fully present, savoring each moment of this rare brief phase of life. But there’s the anxious person, too – stressed out, confused and overwhelmed. It costs how much? We have to pick by when? You want to invite who?

Engagement is a beautiful, once-in-a-lifetime span of months capped off by an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime wedding day.

Engagement is a big pain in the ass as well.

A bride or groom can savor every instant. Or – they can be overwhelmed.

And if they’re overwhelmed, they miss it.

They can miss the joy. The fun and the adventure and the crazy self-expression can just slip right by while they’re bamboozled by the budgets and details, by trying to navigate this strange expensive world of wedding planning.

They can live their wedding year – or it can vanish in a whirlwind.

Most do some of both, of course. Like in that parable with two wolves, most engaged folks have both animals inside them, Joy and Overwhelm together, each one vying for the victory.

And God help us, wedding vendors. We’ve been feeding the wrong wolf.


Complicated rates make life harder for clients.

The wedding business is too complicated. At least, that’s what couples tell me when I ask them. How, I say, did you feel when you were finding vendors for your wedding in Chicago?

They give me one of three words: They say fun. Or else they say confused or overwhelmed.

The overwhelm comes from the sheer number of choices: How do I tell these vendors all apart? they ask me. How can everybody be Best of the Knot?


But overwhelm comes from our pricing, too. Couples are going to spend a lot to hire us to do jobs they don’t know much about. How do we know we’re getting a good deal? they ask. How do we know what’s fair? How do we know which vendors we can trust?

We try to make our couples’ lives as easy as we can – because we know removing overwhelm leaves more capacity for joy. The less confused or stressed they feel, the more they’re able to have fun. And we want clients savoring every moment of their wedding days – and of the months that lead up to it, too.

But that’s not easy when the work’s this personal. We cater entertainment services and packages to every couple’s personality. That’s complicated. Complicated services lead to confusing costs.

They used to, anyway.

Today, we’re trying something new. We’re trying something kind of scary.

Radical simplicity.


Personal can still be simple.

At Backthird, we used to charge for services. We asked our couples questions to determine every service they would need: An extra cocktail speaker? Ceremony microphones? Two musicians? Four? Reset the big room during cocktail hour?

Then we wrote contracts based on all the services they needed. Many couples paid about the same – but no two couples paid exactly the same, because every wedding’s different.

Here’s the problem: Couples are not wedding experts, so they didn’t know what services they needed. And until they knew, they didn’t know how much their wedding day would cost.

If you’re engaged, this makes it hard to budget – you don’t know what vendors cost until you meet with them. And when your needs change 6 months down the line, that leads to budget creep.

The Knot tells couples to spend 8-10% on music and another 3% on ceremony services. How do they plan for that when our rates are moving targets?

Hence, confusion. Overwhelm.

So starting now, Backthird won’t bill for services. We’ll still provide them – we’ll provide a lot of service, like we always have.

But we’ll bill for solutions. We will charge based on the value we provide.

And we provide one value: We solve sound and music for your wedding.

Starting now, we’re billing one flat rate – three flat rates, actually – to solve our clients’ wedding music. One sound system? Two? Reception? Ceremony? Everything’s included.

That’s right, everything.

Backthird founder Benjie Hughes

The details, like how many microphones or which freight elevator, are what make us experts in our industry. But we understand all that so our clients won’t have to. Our clients simply want their weddings solved.

Our clients want to think about their song requests and who should make their toasts and what sort of live band would work best during dinner time. We’ll let them. We will let them personalize it all.

But we won’t tweak the price a hundred thousand times as a result. One flat rate, zero worries. What you see is what you pay.

We’re calling it True Pricing. It’s the simplest we know how to be.

No overwhelm. No more confusion.

Hopefully, more room for joy.

– Benjie Hughes, Backthird Entertainment