Newly Wed

Pop-UP Wedding KC brings an innovative, fun, mobile and easy new wedding option to town centered on a vintage Airstream trailer.



   First there were pop-up restaurants and dinner clubs, then pop-up stores, pop-up nightclubs, pop-up mobile food trucks and other 21st-century phenomena, creating spontaneous “happenings” on vibrant city streets. This new demonstration of economic agility and creativity probably arose out of necessity during the economic crash in 2008, when permanent rents were too high so temporary rental of an empty/vacated space, or rental/purchase of mobile truck were more accessible to budding entrepreneurs than bricks and mortar. Social media only fanned the flame, documenting the buzz these events generated. The ephemeral nature of the events also lent them a special sparkle and je nais se quois.

     Now this spontaneous sense of fun has been imparted to the sometimes stuffy and overly formal wedding business with the recent launch of Pop-UP Wedding KC, the brainchild of KC couple Chad and Rebekah Johnson, as well as Morgan Miller of Cornerstone Photography. All three professionals were embedded in the local wedding business and saw an exciting opportunity to develop a new form of no-fuss-no-muss pop-up weddings centered around one cool silver Airstream trailer.

     Since 2010 the Johnsons have owned a historic early 1900s warehouse, formerly a potato supply space among other things, which they revamped into the industrial-chic River Market Event Place for wedding receptions and other special events. Although the 4,000-square-foot space houses 20-foot ceilings, roll-up glass garage doors, a lofty party/dining space, full-service kitchen/prep area, a wood-burning fireplace, outdoor terraces and bridal loft, they were lacking a premium space for the groom to prepare, celebrate and relax pre-wedding. When the Johnsons hit upon the Airstream trailer as the solution for a groom crash pad, they soon realized the popular and mobile venue would also work as a moveable photo booth (a four-hour package is $1,000), mobile bar/lounge for private parties (starting at $1,000 for four hours)  or tailgaiting vehicle ($1,200 for six hours), not to mention a roaming venue for simple pop-up weddings about town. Thus Pop-UP Wedding KC was born this past spring.

     The first of its kind in the city, Pop-UP Wedding KC offers a fun, stylish, easy, intimate and affordable option for couples who want to spare all the trouble and expenses of a lavish, full-scale wedding, yet want something more special and customized than a trip to the courthouse.  The group plans to offer one Pop-UP Wedding event per month in KC with five slots available for weddings on the given date/location. Look for a Mini Pop-UP Weddings event to occur at a Crossroads location on Aug. 7, and visit their website for additional dates/locations.

      The full-scale Pop-UP experience for $1,500 includes an hour and a half of time, an officiant who can conduct the wedding ceremony of your choice (marriage license fee not included), professional wedding photography by Cornerstone Photography, customized invitations for up to 20 guests, bridal bouquet, groom’s boutinierre, a cake cutting with cake topper, Champagne toast for bride and groom, seating for 20 and use of the vintage Airstream trailer as a wedding backdrop in a unique KC location. Extra add-ons such as cake and Champagne for wedding guests, transportation of the wedding party and other touches can be arranged at additional expense. And, of course, a private, custom wedding at the location of your choice with use of the Airstream can also be arranged, starting at $3,500.

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      Should you want an even more wallet-friendly ceremony, opt for the Mini Pop-UP Ceremony for just $500, which includes a 10 to 20-minute ceremony and reception, officiant, photography of the ceremony and two to four couple portraits, a digital invite, use of the trailer, a simple bouquet and boutonniere, wedding cupcakes, mini Champagne toast and standing room for 20 guests. 

     Pop-UP Weddings KC represents a collective of top wedding professionals including the Johnsons, Cornerstone Photography, Sugarbean Paper Co., Weddings by Timmy, Airstream Lounge KC, and frequent collaborators such as BabyCakes and Good Earth Floral Design Studio. Want to add in your own live, acoustic (not amped) music at your own cost? You can do that too. Or the group is happy to accommodate your own digital playlist or favorite Pandora station. All  couples have to do is book the date, get their marriage license and wedding attire, arrange for any hair and makeup, and…show up!

     Chad Johnson says he wants his Pop-UP wedding concept to appeal to all kinds of couples. “We really want to cater to all — first and second marriages, vow renewals, LGBT, and religious or non-religious ceremony options, but the majority of the inquiries have been second marriages….Our team also consists of some of KC’s best wedding professionals that might be out of budget for some people to book at their normal wedding rates, but with the Pop-Up, they are able to get high-quality service from these vendors at a very affordable price.” 

     For custom instead of planned Pop-UP weddings, the locations can be limitless, dependent only on the couple’s imagination, budget and of course necessary permissions: from local vineyards to your own backyard. Recent locations have ranged from Berkley Riverfront Park to Boulevard Drive-In.

     And not to worry, while the Airstream is vintage, this 1969 Safari Land Yacht has been completely updated and kitted out as a stylish, modern lounge with air conditioning and heat, a 40-inch LCD TV, stereo system with iPod hook-up, mini-bar with refrigeration, full-length mirror, modern seating, festive Italian party lights and vintage canvas awning. And in the fall, the Johnsons will be adding a second vehicle to their fleet: a 1957 Flying Cloud. One almost expects a period-appropriate singing Elvis to shimmy out of the trailer in a sequined jumpsuit, but that would be a custom addition! The sleek backdrop of the trailer and fun option of custom locations allow couples to create a wedding as whimsical, or as classy and elegant, as they wish.

   “Overall we feel we fit well with a memorable, affordable option with real wedding professionals,” says Chad. “It’s a local elopement option, but much more memorable and unique.”

   For more information call Pop-UP Wedding at (816) 591-4346 or visit popupweddingkc.com. Their sister company, River Market Event Place, is located at 140 Walnut St., Kansas City, Mo., (816) 591-4346, rivermarketeventplace.com. For more information on rental of Airstream Lounge KC for non-bridal purposes, call (816) 839-4012 or visit airstreamloungekc.com.