The age of the coronavirus has spawned all sorts of new ways of doing things, like shopping, learning, and communicating. It has also given birth to a growing way of getting married: pop up weddings.
Lauren Gunn, recently ordained to marry couples by the Universal Life Ministry, will marry people wherever they like - on a beach, at their home, at her home, in a park, or even in a drive-by ceremony.
The key difference between a pop-up wedding and an event wedding is the number of people present and the cost. The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is now about $26,000. Gunn's fee for a simple ceremony is $69.
That's why a lot of people are saying "I don't" to big weddings these days. Pop up weddings are planned quickly and with little fuss. They are a bit like elopements, but with a crowd around the wedding couple. Couples can choose to hire a photographer and layout food and beverages if they want. But a lot of guests aren't expecting anything too elaborate.
Wedding planners say the pop-ups focus on a sense of adventure. The venue is usually in a public place, where random bystanders can watch and wish the new couple happiness. The number of pop up wedding companies is growing, according to wedding planners. There are all sorts of companies that can be found on the web: Poptheknot.com and Mad Dash Weddings, to name two.
And the weddings conform to New York State requirements about social distancing. The wedding usually consists of fewer than 10 people, and does away with the thousands of dollars it may cost in food and entertainment at a catering hall.
Her business, Pop Up Vows, started only a free months ago, kicked off by the coronavirus, which prohibits large gatherings in an age when a lo of people are hurting for money.
"I don't see many people going back to large weddings" even once the virus pandemic is over, said Gunn, 47, of Long Beach. "Pop Up Vows lets people keep things simple and short, or even long, if they want."
She married a couple just a few weeks ago. They were going to have a big wedding at the posh Allegria Hotel in Long Beach. Some 50 people had been invited to attend when plans were being made before the shut down caused by the coronavirus. The couple, who asked to remain anonymous to protect their privacy, had checked out bands, flowers and foods.
"Then everything got shut down," said the groom. His fiancee said they should just elope. But, he reasoned, she had never before been married, and should have some sort of service., They came upon Pop Up Vows.
Ten people were on hand for the ceremony on the beach at Point Lookout. There was a champagne toast, but no real party. A lot of people are not in the partying mood these days.
"It was all great," the groom said. He admitted to being somewhat disappointed there was not the big wedding he and his fiancee imagined. "But we wanted to get married," he said.
Her website is www.popupvows.com