Are Flash Weddings the Next Big Thing?

Updated 07/22/14

Rebecca Gosselin Photography

We've all heard of flash mobs, but have you ever heard of flash weddings? Like the dancing mob variety, flash weddings pop up in public squares, museums and parks. They're often kept secret, and are sometimes a surprise even to the guests. For example, socialite and heiress Jane Pullman just married her fiancé, David Standish, during her family's annual Independence Day party on a yacht cruising New York Harbor.

"A lot of couples want to get married and have an epic celebration without the focus shifting to throwing a giant party," explains Maggie Winters, co-owner of Pop! Wed Co. in Washington, D.C., which specializes in helping couples get hitched in flash-style at cool locations across the city.

So does shirking tradition in favor of this flash craze sound fun? Before you abandon a classic ceremony, consider these pros and cons:

__Pro:__A flash wedding saves you and your groom the cost of a formal ceremony. "Flash weddings can be anything from a self-uniting ceremony with just the couple to a wedding with a few guests and an officiant, photographer, and an after-party," Winters says. "There are no venue rental fees."

__Con:__Security guards could chase you off during your vows — seriously! "Even though flash weddings are generally not a disturbance to the space any more than a group of slow-walking people, some venues have security and will kick you out," Winters cautions. "It's generally a good idea to check out your chosen venue ahead of time so you can get a feel for whether you're likely to get kicked out. In the case of small businesses, always ask their permission — owners are usually excited to be a part of popup weddings!"

Pro: Location options are endless. "The word 'wedding' scares off many would-be venues, because of all of the stuff that goes along with them," says Winters. "With a pop-up wedding of less than 15 people, you're pretty much the same as a tour group, except that you'll have an officiant and a photographer and they'll pronounce you legally married."

__Con:__If you're trying to stay incognito, you might be forced to conceal your wedding dress beneath a coat. And if you're sneaking on to a space, a photographer could draw attention to your crowd.

Pro: It's less stressful than a traditional wedding. "The planning is minimal, the stress evaporates, and you get to marry the person you love without a care in the world," Winters says.

While still relatively new, Winters thinks flash and pop-up weddings are here to stay. "People are tired of being told what their wedding should be," she says. "Some elements of flash weddings, like showing up in a highly public place to marry, might lose steam over time — but the idea of getting married exactly the way you want to will always stick around."

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