FAQ: Everything you wanted to know about pop-up weddings

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YOU’VE heard of pop-up stores and pop-up ads. Now the trend for something short, sharp and sophisticated has spread to weddings, with the arrival of pop-up wedding ceremonies.

Among those who’ve embraced the trend is Jennifer Moss, the founder of Just Married, a Gold Coast company that specialises in pop-up weddings on the beach.

And she found her inspiration in the unlikeliest of sources.

“I’d been studying event planning and design and was helping out with registry weddings at the Southport Magistrates’ Court, and the room they used was really a bit sad looking,” she says.

“There were no windows at all and there was this arch made of fake flowers that had been there for something like 10 years.

“I just remember thinking the couples deserved something a little bit more special, even if they were on a tight budget. After all it’s their wedding; you want it to be beautiful for them. And you want to make it easy for them.”

With that, the idea for Just Married was born.

As the name suggests, pop-up weddings are designed to give couples a short run with maximum impact. As a relatively new trend, they’re gaining in popularity worldwide, as people continue to evolve in their choice of ceremony and reception.

We wanted to know more about exactly what they entailed. So, we put Jennifer under the spotlight and she’s answered our (many) questions about all things pop-up weddings.

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What exactly is a pop-up wedding?

A pop-up wedding is where a beautiful but temporary venue is created and hosts a number of couples to say their vows in short, intimate, registry styled form. The organisers bring together all the professionals touches, so all you have to do is turn up, really. Pop-up weddings are about making it as easy for couples as possible and, because more the one couple, usually between 8 – 10, will be marrying in the same spot (at different times, of course), the costs are greatly reduced.

When you say professional touches, what does this mean?

The person organising your pop-up wedding does everything. For example, at our pop-up weddings we do pretty much everything, from organising an authorised celebrant and the ceremony styling to ensuring a personalised bridal bouquet is available, a half-hour shoot with a professional photographer is organised and 10 edited photos are provided on a USB. So, quite literally, the organiser takes care of everything!

Are there any added extras?

Props are a lovely added extra with the styling. Different pop-up ceremony providers will provide different things, but at Just Married we work really hard to create a beautiful environment that enhances the setting. We love touches such as natural wooden boxes, lanterns and chalkboards, which really help make it feel special. We try to make every single wedding unique.

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So, is a pop-up wedding the same as eloping then?

Yes and no. An elopement focuses on just the two of you, and if that’s what you desire, pop-ups fit the bill perfectly. But if you still want to share the moment with your nearest and dearest you absolutely can – just on a smaller scale in terms of guest numbers, which are limited to 10.

Just for people who are wondering, what’s the attraction of a pop-up wedding as opposed to booking a beach or a celebrant yourself?

Well, the obvious answer is that it’s always less stressful to have someone else do all the work. That way you can just focus on the exciting bits, like writing your vows, and then turn up. But an even better answer is to remember that because you’re sharing the day with several couples, everyone contributes to the cost of the venue, styling and décor, which adds up to some pretty significant savings. And that’s incredibly important to people on a tight budget.

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What are the legal requirements involved?

Just like any other type of ceremony, pop-up weddings require you to lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage and then wait one calendar month. But trust us, those 30 days will fly by. You also need two witnesses to sign the marriage certificate.

So, it’s definitely legal?

Yes, 100 per cent so.

How long does a pop-up wedding go for?

It varies depending on the location, but our couples enjoy an hour each, and that’s plenty of time, since the ceremony itself only takes about 20 minutes, including signing all of the paperwork.

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Can the service be customised at all?

Because the idea is to bring costs down by sharing the day, elements such as décor and styling remain the same, with a focus on neutral tones and beautiful touches that will suit a variety of couples. Where there is the opportunity for personalisation is with the bouquet and the music that plays before and after the ceremony and during the signing of the documents. So, if you’ve always wanted to walk down the aisle to Shania Twain, Green Day or Kylie Minogue, you still have that chance.

Can people bring in their own photographer?

A professional photo shoot is part of the package, so there is no opportunity to bring a photographer to the wedding. But, it’s important to remember that lower costs don’t mean lesser expertise or value for money. Each couple gets 10 edited photographs and also the option to buy extra images directly from the photographer. One thing to also consider is that in a larger wedding, many photos are used to capture memories of extended family and friends. But with the heavily edited guest list at a pop-up wedding, 10 photos offers great coverage.

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It is OK to bring confetti, or a bottle of champers to celebrate afterwards?

Not at the moment, as many venues are subject to council regulations with regards to littering and alcohol consumption. Perhaps in the future though.

Where are the weddings held?

There are pop-up wedding organisers in every state, however Just Married hold theirs on the Gold Coast’s beautiful beaches, where shoes are optional and you stand on the sand with the water as a beautiful backdrop. They also have a wet weather venue, which is a heritage building called Kirra Hill Community Centre that has a fantastic atmosphere. Other pop-up vendors hold their weddings everywhere from gardens and resorts to art galleries.

Can you still make a grand entrance to a pop-up weddings?

Absolutely. You can still send the groom ahead as per normal and then walk down towards the ceremony, with or without attendants, as your processional song plays. There’s also scope for a bit more personalisation. We encourage people to let us know what they’re after and then we try to find a way to fit it into their hour and their budget.

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Can we still have a reception?

Of course you can. In fact, it’s a lovely idea to have the wedding just with your family and closest friends and then head somewhere like a restaurant for a celebratory lunch or dinner with the rest of your social circle. Other suggestions include a beach picnic, a high tea or a champagne brunch.

“At the end of the day, a pop-up wedding incorporates all the best bits of a more traditional ceremony,” Jennifer says. It has the company of your very nearest and dearest and the chance to look your partner in the eye and say ‘I do’.

The main advantage is that it’s stress free and budget accessible. It’s about creating a beautiful foundation and letting brides and grooms build on that.

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