Although Cincinnati-based wedding planning business Be Married was founded just prior to the coronavirus pandemic, its unique offering caters quite appropriately to humanity's current state of being and provides a refreshing perspective on traditional wedding expectations.
Co-founded by Erica Caldwell and Kate Petach, both owners of their own individual event businesses, The Social Collective and Blue Dahlia Events, respectively, Be Married features curated pop-up wedding options for smaller guest counts at an affordable price — aimed at $5,000 or less.
Described as "a beautiful but temporary ceremony space that is created to host a handful of couples throughout the day to say their vows in an intimate and intentional setting," the pop-ups offer a one-stop-shop with venue, photo coverage, coordination, design, color palette, decor, stationery, locally-sourced sweets and florals all included and pre-planned (though couples may choose upgrades with specific vendors). The pop-up packages even include an ordained minister — or you can bring in your own if you'd prefer.
The pop-up weddings are geared toward 30 guests or less and each announced pop-up can cater up to three couples/weddings per day. Each ceremony plus reception lasts about two hours and their website will eventually display the available dates with their concepts, vendors and color palettes. If you like the look of the wedding, book the date.
They are also considering offering customizable and destination pop-ups, with a price range from $5,000-$10,000.
According to Caldwell, pop-up weddings give couples the chance to step back and refocus on what's important, fixating less on the stressful details and financials.
"In my experience, I think that the wedding industry has become very material and has made it easy for couples and vendors to lose sight of what our purpose is in these celebrations and life events. We want to encourage everyone to come back to the notion of what it means to be intentional with your wedding ceremony and give our couples a stress-free experience where they aren't worried about planning details," Caldwell said in an email interview. "The whole idea is that couples get to trust the vendor team to create and organize, and then they show up ready to marry the love of their life."
Caldwell explains that the concept isn't new, but she was introduced to it when her friend and "alpha female inspiration" Whitney Pelfrey, a Cincinnati photographer and owner of Loveland event venue and co-working space Tupelo House, began bringing light to the beauty of small weddings in 2018.
"At first, it was a difficult concept for couples to grasp at the time, if I'm honest. Vendors took to it fairly quickly as they saw the benefits and liked the idea of creative control; however, clients didn't cling to it for very long for one reason or another," Caldwell said.
"Being in the Midwest, it takes time for trends to catch on here, and it's a lot of work to keep up with them, let alone try and set a course for a direction to catch on. What I love about Cincinnati, though, is it's progressive in a lot of ways, and that makes it great for creatives like myself. Your crazy ideas and ambitions are accepted because your community wants to see you succeed and bring new things to the city. That was what Whitney tried to do, and she had enough success with it for us all to realize we couldn't pretend like it never happened."
Pelfrey, owner of Native Iris Photography along with her event venue business, is one of the vendors that Be Married works with in their pop-up weddings. Her photography business, in addition to several other well-known entities like The Budding Florist, Queen City Vignette and Mojave East (along with Caldwell and Petach's businesses) are a few of the vendors that will be working together for the November wedding pop-ups.
"This business has been a dream of many — clients and vendors alike. I am fortunate that I had an opportunity to take the risk along with having the support of countless others. Kate and I are just thrilled to see it get on its feet, and we hope people will be inspired to follow a dream or take a risk," Caldwell said.