How to Have a Pop-Up Wedding: Where Spontaneous Adventure Meets the Best Day of Your Life

Imagine this. You’re at your favorite restaurant, enjoying some wine and an intimate conversation with your significant other when all the sudden another couple appears in full-on wedding attire.

You watch the couple walk to the back of the restaurant, hold hands, kiss and then celebrate. It finally dawns on you that this couple just got married on the spot!

While it might seem out of the ordinary, this scenario along with many other spontaneous weddings are one of the hottest wedding trends right now, and it’s called a pop-up wedding.

So what is a pop-up wedding?

A pop-up wedding is similar to an elopement in that 1) your guest list might be small or non-existent, 2) you choose a non-traditional venue for your ceremony and 3) they feel like a special adventure. What makes pop-up weddings unique is that they can happen in any venue and are typically in and out in a short period of time. Pop-up weddings are happening in restaurants and at parks, hotel courtyards and other public places.This opens the door for random bystanders to witness your vows which can be a unique and exciting perk of having a pop-up ceremony.

While pop-up weddings might look totally spontaneous from the outside, there are still a few things that need some planning. Although the overall planning time and cost is a fraction of a traditional wedding.

So if an adventurous, spontaneous pop-up wedding sounds interesting to you, keep reading.

Image by: Daniel Pawlowski

Planning a Spontaneous Pop-up Wedding

The great thing about a pop-up wedding is you can plan as little or as many details as you want. Want to get married in a sundress and sandals? Go for it! How about having your first kiss at the location of your first date? That’s all you!

Like an elopement, you won’t be booking a traditional venue for your pop-up wedding, so you will have to decide where you want to get married. The venue is one of the unique aspects of a pop-up wedding, so get creative with it! Think about places that have meaning to you and your significant other.

Did you have a memorable first date and want to have your first kiss at the pizza place where you first met? Or maybe there is a brewery that has sentimental value to you where you could say “I do” with a cold beer waiting for you when you are done. Or maybe you love the outdoors and spending the day in a park or mountain setting would mean the most to you. Whatever you decide, it will be the right choice.

Once you’ve picked a location, make sure you can actually get married there. If it is a small business or restaurant, talk with the managers or owners before just showing up and trying to get married. They might even have a private room you could use if you don’t want to get married in front of a bunch of strangers.

Now that you have your pop-up venue, you will want to figure out who you will invite. Most couples are having a tiny wedding and inviting 10 people or less to their pop-up ceremony, but this is your wedding, so you can decide the number of guests who will attend. And with live streaming now a part of most weddings, you can include anyone and everyone via the Web.

Another unique aspect of the pop-up wedding guest list: If you pick a public location, there is a high chance random bystanders will witness your wedding! This just adds to the adventure and spontaneity of this alternative type of wedding.

Even if you have a tiny wedding and keep your pop-up ceremony small, you can still include more people for the after-party. And this doesn’t need to be a formal reception. You could invite friends and family to eat and drink at your favorite restaurant or brewery, plan a picnic in the park or host a party at your house. Whatever you do to celebrate getting married pop-up style is perfect!

Pop-up Wedding Planners and Vendors

If you haven’t caught on yet, your pop-up wedding can be whatever you want it to be. And that goes for choosing what vendors you hire too.

A huge benefit of having a tiny wedding like a pop-up wedding is that the price of using certain vendors will likely go down. If you hire a photographer, you might only need them taking pictures for an hour or two rather than a full-day event, so the price of their services might be drastically reduced.

You still need an officiant, and if you don’t want to hire a random person and would rather have a friend or family member marry you, check out American Marriage Ministries, an organization that provides free, online ordination for people who want to become officiants. And, as always, it is on couples to get their marriage license, so don’t forget your marriage license when planning your spontaneous, adventurous day!

Like a virtual wedding or elopement, there are entire companies whose mission is to help couples have the pop-up wedding of their dreams. One such company is Pop-up Wedding Houston.

Founded and operated by CEO Yvette Valdenegro, Pop Up Wedding Houston helps couples plan their perfect pop-up wedding by understanding what couples want and providing an all-inclusive wedding package. This package includes anything from choosing the location and setting up live streaming to providing a photographer and music. Also, their package includes add-ons such as hair and makeup, transportation and confetti cannons if you are looking for another way to spice up your wedding day.

We talked with Yvette about this unique spin on weddings, and she said couples are absolutely loving it.

“The ability to get married in a safe environment, quickly, without stress, and logistically taken care of seems to be a huge benefit for couples. All of our reviews talk about how their ‘expectations exceed what they imagined’.”

She also mentioned that there are tons of benefits to using a company like Pop Up Wedding Houston to help plan and coordinate your pop-up wedding.

For example, by partnering with top wedding professionals in the industry, Pop Up Wedding Houston is able to pass tons of cost savings to their clients allowing couples to save for things like their honeymoon, first home or the current economic situation.

Additionally, Valdenegro has years of event planning experience which has allowed her to become an expert in planning and helping couples have an incredible pop-up wedding experience that meets and exceeds the couple’s expectations.

So if you are looking for a way to have a pop-up wedding, reduce the wedding planning stress and still have an amazing wedding experience, using a company like Pop Up Wedding Houston could be exactly what you need.

Image by: Daniel Pawlowski

Are Pop-up Weddings Covid-Friendly?

You betcha! Like an elopement or other alternative weddings, you can easily make your pop-up wedding Covid-friendly by planning for it. If you have guests and vendors at your ceremony, you can ask them to wear masks and stand six feet apart. The only trouble you might have is if you get married in a public place where you can’t control the random people who may or may not be in your presence.

If you are getting married at a small business or restaurant, you can work with the manager to see how they might be able to arrange for a ceremony setup that is as Covid-friendly as possible. If you are in a more public setting like a park, you are outside which reduces the risk of transmitting Covid, but you will be taking the chance that random bystanders might not respect your space. Most people are respectful though, so this shouldn’t be an issue, but it is something to consider.

What Do Pop-up Weddings Cost?

The simplicity of a pop-up wedding can help couples keep the cost down which means more money in your pocket for your honeymoon and other exciting, future goals. The actual cost of your pop-up wedding will depend on what vendors you hire, a venue if you use one and an after-party celebration if you have one.

Doing all the planning on your own will be more cost effective than hiring a company like pop-up Wedding Houston, but if you would rather just show up on your wedding day and get married, using a pop-up wedding company’s wedding package could be worth the money and help eliminate most of the wedding planning stress.

What are the Benefits of Pop-up Weddings Compared to Traditional Weddings?

If you haven’t noticed by now, pop-up weddings are quite different from a traditional wedding and are more similar to an elopement. They offer more flexibility for your wedding day, are typically smaller and have a lot more spontaneity than a traditional wedding. The cost is much lower than a traditional wedding because you aren’t feeding hundreds of guests and aren’t renting a large venue to host those same guests.
By having a tiny wedding and simplifying your big day, a pop-up wedding can also be less stressful, more intimate and easier to plan than a more traditional wedding. And just because you are having a pop-up wedding doesn’t mean you have to ditch the traditional elements of a larger wedding tradition! Valdenegro says couples are packing their pop-up wedding with many of the normal wedding traditions.

“This moment is still special and we welcome the first dance, mother-son dance, father-daughter dance, toasts, and any other elements couples want to remember. Nothing special is lost…We have seen couples add their personal touches including meaningful songs, culturally traditional elements, fraternity/sorority and religious songs and dances; all expressed in beautiful ways. Couples are making sure the meaningful details they have always imagined are still included, sometimes in new ways.”

Of course, if you want to invite all your friends and family, a traditional wedding might be the route you want to go. Nothing can replace having everyone you care about under the same roof watching you say “I do” and dancing the night away together. So if that’s what you want, then a socially-distanced traditional wedding might be for you.

And don’t forget that your marriage is about more than your wedding, so don’t let other people’s expectations of what your wedding and ceremony should look like get in the way of what matters most.

Image by: Daniel Pawlowski

A Pop-up Wedding You’ll Never Forget

Alternative weddings like an elopement or virtual wedding are becoming the norm, and pop-up weddings are no exception. With lower costs, more intimate settings and the adventure and spontaneity of an elopement, a pop-up wedding could be the perfect wedding you didn’t even know you were looking for. So grab your partner, choose a unique venue and say “I do” to this awesome alternative wedding.

Tanner Krauth

Tanner Krauth is a CPA and freelance writer based in Denver, Colorado. When he isn’t hiking or hitting the slopes, you can find him writing on his personal blog. Tanner fell in love with traveling when he discovered travel rewards and has since traveled extensively, including his favorite trip, a month-long vacation to New Zealand. He is also the co-author of The Budget-Savvy Honeymoon and is excited to share his travel experiences with Honeyfund’s couples.


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