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COVID-19 or cost stopping you from wedding planning? SLO Pop-up Weddings might have the minimony for you 

Jaime and Alec Buxton had their dream wedding planned for 2020: a traditional ceremony with close to 100 of their friends and family there to celebrate with them. But the pandemic stopped the Buxtons and many other couples from tying the knot in the way they had originally envisioned.

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"We postponed it a couple of times," Alec said. "It got to the point where we started to have to really finalize the details, and we realized that there was no end in sight to the pandemic. At that point, it was like, 'OK, when are we ever going to get married?'"

The Buxtons decided to do a mini wedding in late 2021: 35 guests; a small, intimate ceremony; and way less fuss.

"This smaller wedding had both less planning involved in it, less impact on our friends and family, less cost impact, but also we just wanted to get it over with," Alec laughed. "Not in a negative way, but we were just tired of waiting."

The Buxtons hired Korinna Peterson, founder of SLO Pop-up Weddings, to help them plan their small and intimate wedding. Peterson also does full-blown weddings through her company Le Festin Events, but the pop-up division specializes in planning smaller weddings and elopements across the Central Coast, offering an easier and more affordable option for clients who just want to keep it sweet and simple.

click to enlarge ALL IN ONE SLO Pop-up Weddings' all-inclusive packages allow clients to throw the mini wedding of their dreams, minus the stress. - COURTESY PHOTO BY LOVERIDGE PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Courtesy Photo By Loveridge Photography
  • ALL IN ONE SLO Pop-up Weddings' all-inclusive packages allow clients to throw the mini wedding of their dreams, minus the stress.

"There's two different kinds of couples out there," Peterson said. "One who wants the full-blown wedding, and there are others who definitely just want the smaller, more intimate elopement."

Within the past two years particularly, Peterson has seen the demand for those smaller weddings grow.

"There are a lot of couples who were propelled to elope or have these mini weddings, but they still wanted to get that feel of a ceremony and reception," Peterson said. "I think a majority of the people are definitely looking at the cost factor."

For the Buxtons, hiring a wedding planner wasn't originally in the budget. But once they switched gears to planning a mini wedding, they realized it was well worth it.

"I think when I originally started planning our wedding, I was like, 'I could never get a wedding planner, I couldn't afford this,'" Jaime said. "Then when I started talking to Korinna, she just was so affordable. To have someone help coordinate, it was amazing."

Peterson has witnessed a new type of wedding emerge in recent years: It lies somewhere in between an elopement at the courthouse and a 200-person celebration.

"Originally, when I started the pop-up division of my company, it was really based more toward the traditional elopement: two people, a photographer, a coordinator, the officiant, and then flowers. One hour, and everybody's happy," Peterson said. "Then, within the last five years or so, a majority of our clients have requested if they can have maybe five people attend, to now we're having 20 to 30 people attend."

click to enlarge TYING THE KNOT SLO locals Jaime and Alec Buxton opted for a mini wedding, planned by SLO Pop-up Weddings. - COURTESY PHOTO BY TAYLER ENERLE
  • Courtesy Photo By Tayler Enerle
  • TYING THE KNOT SLO locals Jaime and Alec Buxton opted for a mini wedding, planned by SLO Pop-up Weddings.

This trend became a necessity during the pandemic, as couples like the Buxtons were forced to cancel their bigger plans and opt for something smaller. But once the "I dos" were all said and done, the Buxtons said they wouldn't have had it any other way.

"I think we both agree that we were both happy that we actually did a smaller guest count," Alec said. "The intimacy of that was nice."

Jaime added that with the smaller guest list, it was easy to keep the party rolling after the wedding.

"We took a small party bus into San Luis Obispo, and most of the guests got to ride on that," she said. "If we had done a really big wedding we wouldn't have been able to do that, and spend that extra time with people."

click to enlarge MAKING IT HAPPEN After months of COVID-19 postponing their special day, the Buxtons finally got to tie the knot with an intimate ceremony in Harmony. - COURTESY PHOTO BY TAYLER ENERLE
  • Courtesy Photo By Tayler Enerle
  • MAKING IT HAPPEN After months of COVID-19 postponing their special day, the Buxtons finally got to tie the knot with an intimate ceremony in Harmony.

Since Peterson also plans full-scale weddings through her company, she's able to use the connections she already has in the wedding community to put on smaller weddings without the huge price tag.

"Our package is all in one: You get the photographer, the officiant, a coordinator, we handle the flowers. We really customize the ceremony," Peterson said.

Whether a couple chooses to have 20 or 200 attendees, Peterson said all the weddings she plans come back to sharing your special day with the people you love the most.

"I think the pandemic has made a lot of people realize the really important people in their life." Δ

Reach Staff Writer Malea Martin at mmartin@newtimesslo.com.

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