Got engaged on Valentine’s Day? Wedding planning already a headache? Cloe Willetts suggests letting someone else take the strain.

The damp Perth heat pours through the branches of riverside trees as we sit in rows opposite two rustic white arches, on the manicured lawns of Western Australia's award-winning Mandoon Estate.

At the end of a pathway past a restored 1905 homestead, the arches are at the winery for the day, Valentine's Day, alongside pots of fragrant cream flowers and white tables and chairs.

The setup, an intimate and contemporary pop-up style wedding hosted by Perth-based business Iconic Pop-Up Weddings, was put together by owner Natalie Gasmier this morning and by the night's end, will be tucked away.

The pop-up wedding, a relaxed ceremony with a focus on modern decor and wedding romance, will fill a 90-minute slot before about 20 of the couple's closest friends and family members and close friends of Laura and Blair Lambert, who relocated to Perth from Wellington six years ago.


Some of them, like me, are experiencing Perth's white sandy beaches and laidback suburban living for the first time; the weather a little cooler than anticipated.

The pop-up wedding concept, an all-inclusive wedding package at a venue specified by a wedding planner, emerged in Australia five years ago and began in New Zealand a year later.

Since then, pop-up wedding companies in both countries have married hundreds of
couples wanting a balance between the full-blown big white wedding and quick-stop register office affair.

According to Natalie, who is running today's event, this new-age concept has also gained credibility because of its affordability.

"Couple's don't have to spend thousands of dollars to marry the one they love," she says.

"All they need to do is show up on the day with their marriage licence."

In both countries the average wedding costs $30,000, whereas a pop-up wedding is just under $3000.

Included is a bouquet and buttonhole for the bride and groom, legal marriage ceremony with all paperwork taken care of, photographers, a Champagne toast for each adult guest, a non-alcoholic drinks station, and light refreshments.

Add in a box of children's toys, games and a cushiony seating area below the trees and you have effortless romance that is sourced, booked and styled all on your behalf.

"Couples book a time to wed during the day, and although a number of couples wed on the same day at the same place, every couple has their own designated time and thus do not see each other," Natalie says. Essentially, the couples all share the day's ceremony costs.

According to New Zealand pop-up wedding planners Jilly and Gabi, of Auckland's Skinny Love Weddings - who have married 50 couples since they began in 2013 - lifestyle and priorities influence many couples' decision to choose a pop-up event.

The Swan Valley heat is rising as we wait for the bride to emerge from a 1950s Jaguar, the Israel Kamakawiwo'ole version of Somewhere over the Rainbow starts to play, picked as a surprise by Blair for his bride.

The couple's daughter, Sophie, moves from foot to foot beside her mother and grandfather and towards the altar, as a miniature white flower headpiece slides above her eyes.

The newly married pair decamps with photographers for shots in front of vines and the river's edge. The photography services, included in the package, will mark the day as long-term memories once overseas family and friends have returned home, and life quietly weaves back into routine.

Saying goodbye to the quiet of Mandoon, which will welcome another couple at 4pm, we head to nearby Oakover Grounds for a reception.

Other couples and their families gather for similar pop-up style weddings on a stretch of field behind Oakover's sheltered outdoor dining area; a young couple among them, eloping on their own.

With decadent canapes and pink bubbly, we watch as Sophie plays, the sun slowly setting on the afternoon.

Getting there
Air New Zealand flies direct from Auckland to Perth, with one-way Seat fares starting from $522.

For more information got to: Iconic Pop Up Weddings. Many other companies operate in NZ and around the world - google "pop up weddings" .

Mandoon Estate's cellar door and homestead brewery are open seven days a week; the restaurant is open Wednesdays to Sundays.

At Oakover Grounds' cellar door you can taste Oakover Wines, made by Kiwi Ragan Wood.