In June, we launched Huge Little Wedding – an entirely new approach to online wedding celebrations. The events our couples throw aren’t Zooms or livestreams, which broadcast the “real” event to online guests. Our online celebrations ARE the real event.
Guests talk and toast and interact, just like they would at your reception. Because this IS your reception. It’s just all online.
We went this route because we knew, increasingly, that wedding couples would have friends and family who wanted to truly take part, but who could not be present because of coronavirus. We wanted a way to let online guests feel like guests, not viewers. We wanted to let them all participate.
And now that Illinois has entered Phase 4 of its reopening plan, we’re more convinced than ever that this option matters.
Why? Because Phase 4 events get weird and awkward as the night goes on. In a pandemic, you can make your wedding fun or safe. But probably not both.
And that’s not good enough. That’s why we’re letting every Backthird client “pivot” to a safer celebration with Huge Little Wedding – at no extra charge. We're recommending this anyone with a wedding planned before March 2021. No one knows when we'll have a vaccine widely available, but that seems a reasonable guess for now.
If you’re a Backthird client, here is what you need to know.
If you've booked a Backthird wedding in 2020 or 2021, you can end your physical event early and move the afterparty online - for no extra cost.
We'll ask you to make your wedding safer in two ways: Cut your guest list to 50 people or fewer. And end your party 3 hours earlier.
In exchange, we'll design you an online celebration at no extra cost.
If your wedding is before March 2021, consider this option seriously. We’re not requiring this approach, but honestly, we recommend for most couples getting married before the end of the pandemic.. We don’t want to spend the last 3 hours of your wedding watching guests stand around, get bored and leave – and we will not spend them watching guests get drunk and break health guidelines.
That means, unless you’re sure your guests will have a good time standing 6’ apart wearing masks from 9pm to midnight, this may be for you. “Short and small” is safer, and an early end time lets your physical reception go out with a bang and not a whimper.
But there are a few things you should know.
Step 1: Make it official.
If you’d like to move your afterparty online, your first step is to fill out this form and let us know.
Your AM will reach out to make sure you’re clear on how a Huge Little Wedding works. We’ll ask you to sign a contract amendment and a new Huge Little Wedding contract. We’ll also ask you to sign our COVID addendum if you haven’t done so already.
We’ll ask you to make a payment at this time too, just like you would if you booked Huge Little Wedding as a brand new client. But the payment comes out of your balance due. This means full amount you’ll pay for all your Backthird services doesn’t change; you’re just making one payment now and then reducing what you owe before the wedding day.
In other words, the pivot’s free to you.
Step 2: Shorten your schedule.
When you agree to move your afterparty online, you agree to cut your DJ time by 3 hours. In most cases, this means we’ll still play your dinner music and a first dance, if you want one. But no open dancing. If your party was originally planned from 6pm to 12am, we’ll end at 9.
We recommend you notify your other vendors of this change. Start with your venue, so they can abbreviate your schedule if they need to. Tell your photographer and videographer as well.
Your vendors will all need to make small changes to their plans to wrap up early – but they shouldn’t be upset. You’re doing them a favor. You’re reducing their work load and shortening the time their staff are risking possible exposure during a pandemic. This is good.
It’s also possible for you to keep your party time and just send your DJ home early. If you want your guests to stand around in silence for 3 hours, we won’t stop you! We don’t recommend it – more time in one place means more risk of infection, and there won’t be lots to do once your DJ is done. But it’s your party. You’re still in control.
Step 3: Rethink your guest list.
To move your afterparty online, we require you cut your guest list to a maximum of 50 people.
But you could go lower. To make sure your wedding can go forward even in another outbreak, aim for 10 – that’s what the state would require if health experts asked Governor Pritzker to move back into Phase 3. (Right now, Illinois is doing well. But I’m just saying – in my business, we consider every possibility.)
Cutting your physical guest list is the first step – but you also get to make a guest list for your online celebration. Gather names and emails for the people who you wanted at your physical event but couldn’t have. But invite other folks as well, if you wish. That’s the beauty of an online celebration – anyone you love can be there. They’ll see your physical wedding. And they’ll participate in the toasts, games and conversations that happen afterward. No matter where they are.
Step 4: Arrange for video.
This free bundle includes Huge Little Wedding’s “Basic” service – which means we’ll design and MC your online celebration, but you’ll need to submit video of your ceremony and first dance for us to work with.
That means you’ll need a video plan – but it’s not difficult. This post explains exactly what you’ll need.
If you’ve already hired a videographer, show the video post to them and ask if they can create the video for you.
If you haven’t, consider upgrading to our “Visual” service.
Or, if you don’t mind the casual approach, ask a friend or family member to shoot for you.
Step 5: We do the rest.
Once you’ve signed the paperwork, rethought your schedule and your guest list, and made plans for video – you’re ready to enjoy your celebration.
We’ll guide you through the rest of the Huge Little Wedding process, which includes meeting with your online MC a few days before the wedding so we can personalize your online celebration. It’s the same approach we use for your in-person celebration – in fact, if possible, you’ll have the same DJ for your physical party as you do to MC your online celebration.