There’s a pandemic on – and weddings and events are on again as well. That means we’re getting asked most every day to make confusing, risky ethical decisions about where and how to practice our profession.

In this video, I explain the one question we keep coming back to in the Backthird office as we navigate this storm.

How should we work a wedding now? What can’t we do? Asking this single question every day is helping us decide.



In the video, I mention how we’re offering Backthird wedding clients the change to pivot to an online event at no extra cost. You keep your wedding date, you keep your wedding vendors. You just agree to keep your guest list to 50 or fewer people, and to shorten your reception schedule by 3 hours (so guests go home after dinner instead of staying late to drink or dance).

We use the time we would have spent rocking your dance floor to build you a Huge Little Wedding digital event instead, and let you party all week long with guests who couldn’t be with you in person.

Want to know more? I’ll be blogging about how the Huge Little Wedding pivot works tomorrow. Watch this space.



Chicago says in a group of 100, there’s a 1 in 3 chance someone is infected. At 250 people, the chances are 2 in 3.

Social dancing is commonly understood to be one of the most dangerous things you can do.

The longer your event, the better the chance of spreading infection.

Illinois’ guidelines for meetings and social events are here. They include keeping dance floors closed (page 4, item 6) and limiting attendance to 50 people or fewer (page 5, item 1).

My assertion that when you put people in the same room for 6 hours, give them alcohol and play dance music, they will never follow distancing practices is based on 15 years of personal event experience. But also, we’ve been doing events – and I’ve asked every other wedding vendor I’ve been able to, online and off. So far, the only stories I’ve heard about crowds following the rules were stories in which events were shortened, seating was rearranged to encourage distancing and discourage dancing. The vast, VAST majority of DJs and photographers and wedding planners have all told me the same thing: “At dinner, guests take masks off and they stay off for the rest of the night.”

This is no surprise, because our brains are really not equipped to make complex risk evaluations in the moment. That’s why we believe the most loving thing is not to put your guests in dangerous situations in the first place.