Planning a wedding is stressful. There’s a caterer to find, cakes to test, tables to decorate, and at the end, a big bill.
Up until recently, alternatives to that approach were limited. Then, in 2014, Trish Derry started the Pop Up Pittsburgh Wedding Co.
Derry specializes in stress-free, low-key weddings. Her pop-up nuptials are advertised as “weddings in a box;” Derry calls them the “in-between.” The ceremonies are bigger than a courthouse marriage or elopement and not big enough to break the bank, but still contain all the trimmings and style of a traditional wedding.
In 2015, Derry put on her first pop-up wedding at The Historic Pump House — a venue she now returns to every year — her first couple a pair of CMU grad students. Since then, she’s created ceremonies for couples at Bar Marco, The Edgewood Club, and Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens.
The Pop Up Pittsburgh Wedding Co. has four wedding days a year, one in every season. Up to three couples can be married on each day. Ceremonies last 90 minutes and come with nuptials, a champagne toast (for the newlyweds only), a small cake and cupcakes for guests, florals, a professional photographer, invitations, and the pop-up company’s signature popcorn bar. The entire package totals at $3,700, far less than the average $32-38,000 spent on a wedding.
To pull this off, Derry relies on a tight team of vendors for flowers, treats, and final touches. (She typically has an hour of turnaround time between weddings.) Derry owns Vintage Alley Rentals, a wedding decor warehouse, which she uses to style each pop-up. Up until the wedding day in July of 2019, Mixed With Love Cake & Cookie Co., has been supplying a small cake for the newlyweds and cupcakes for guests (there will be a new baker for 2020 weddings).
Derry has a pool of six photographers that she pulls from for each event. Florals — each bride receives their own bouquet — are handled by Sapphire and Lace Event Design. K Flowers Design handles invitations.
The three ceremonies, though in the same venue and with identical decorations, are not without personality. Family and friends — the bride and groom can invite up to 40 guests — are present for the ceremony and refreshments. Couples have the opportunity to bring in memory tables and photos to add a few personal touches to the space. Ceremony design is completely up to the newlyweds. The bride and groom can add readings by family, personal vows, or religious language if they see fit.
The Pop Up Pittsburgh Wedding Co. is already close to selling out on wedding dates for next year. Derry is planning a Bohemian inspired day at Tree Pittsburgh — the bride and groom get to plant a tree — and a garden pop up at Hartwood Acres Mansion. She’s also introducing a new luxury series in collaboration with Common Plea Catering for the 2020 weddings. It’s the first time any of Derr’s pop-ups will have light bites and a professional DJ.
Derry calls her pop-ups the perfect solution for “the off-beat bride [and] the modern bride who wants to get hitched in amazing style but in a laid back and stress-free environment.” Her slogan says it all: “We do it all for YOU — all you do is show up & say I do.”