3 Weed-Friendly Wedding Planners Tell Us All About Planning Cannabis-Infused Nuptials
It's true: Because of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, some 4/20-loving couples are now looking for ways to include weed in their wedding day—from bud bouquets to special edibles at the reception. And while we don't expect it to become as popular as, say, the signature drink at cocktail hour, the weed-friendly wedding planners and experts we talked to gave us reason to believe that we can expect to see more of it over the coming years.
Name and Company: Niki McDonald, LoveandMarij.com, based in Colorado
Sound Bite: I'm a New York City native who came into the cannabis industry by moving out to Colorado to direct and produce MSNBC's Pot Barons of Colorado. After spending eight months on the ground in Colorado learning the ins and outs of the legal cannabis industry, I created Love and Marij to shatter outdated stereotypes and show how legal cannabis can pair with class at upscale events.
How long have you been in the wedding industry? Wedding planning: 2012; cannabis wedding planning: 2014
What are some different ways you've incorporated weed into weddings? In legal states, the sky's the limit! You can light up in your limo, put buds in your bouquet, serve a signature strain, hotbox your hotel, serve a bud bar with your open bar, give ganja gift bags and beyond.
Have there been any challenges finding weed-friendly vendors to participate in weddings? While cannabis remains federally illegal, and with state laws constantly in flux, many wedding vendors have a desire to integrate cannabis into their day, but don't want to assume unnecessary risk. Other vendors want to service their cannabis clients but feel as if the taboo of marijuana will paint them in an unfavorable light with their non-cannabis clients.
Love and Marij is working to marry the cannabis industry with the wedding industry. In states where recreational cannabis is legal, we're working with state cannabis regulators and the state police to bring clarity to cannabis laws, allowing more vendors to comfortably exercise their legal right to work with cannabis.
Though efforts like the Cannabis Wedding Giveaway and the world's first Cannabis Wedding Expo, which was held last January in Denver, our mission is to unite the brave pioneers of the cannabis wedding movement and create to prove to the world that cannabis can coexist with class.
Who are some of your favorite weed-friendly vendors? The Cultivating Spirits experience is my personal favorite bachelor/bachelorette or rehearsal dinner experience. It's not about "getting high"—it's paring a small hit of specific cannabis strains to bring out the flavor of food, wine and craft beer. The Herbal Chef trained under Southern California's top chefs in Michelin-star restaurants and has prepared some of the most incredible infused meals I've had to date. And Cannabis Concierge Events is an expert cannabis event planner who can make your wildest cannabis dreams come true. If getting a buzz isn't your thing, there are hundreds of ways to use the cannabis plant for medicinal wedding day befits from CBD (Cibaderm Cannabidiol) based skin care products to transdermal patches that can take away the pain of high heels or dress slacks.
What's been your favorite weed wedding feature? Our favorite cannabis wedding innovation has been the concept of a cannabis wedding registry service at legal cannabis dispensaries. My favorite part of planning my own wedding was the upscale treatment large department stores give you when you're signing up for your registry and I wanted to replicate that luxe treatment in dispensaries. Through Love and Marij's cannabis registry service, you can make an appointment with a dispensary's top budtender to help you select your signature strain. We've started the process in Colorado and are about to extend the service into other states
What are your favorite fun edibles to create at the reception? In lieu of champagne, I love the idea of a sparking cannabis toast with Dixie Elixirs. Companies like Sweet Grass Kitchen and Julie's Natural Edibles offer low-dose strain specific edibles so guests can achieve an intended feeling. If you're a chocolate lover, s'mores made with Incredibles chocolate makes for the perfect nightcap!
For anyone looking to serve up edibles as an alternative to smoking at their wedding, we highly recommend hiring a budtender for the evening to properly administer dosing. For guests that are new to edibles, the most common mistake is having too much, too soon. To guarantee a good time, our recommended milligram dosage is 3 to 5 mg of THC for a first-time consumer. For many tipsy people with a sweet tooth, it's hard to practice self control. Since it can take up to two hours to fully feel the effects of an edible, a budtender will help your guests avoid the common mistake of thinking they're ready for seconds before they truly are.
While homemade edibles can make for a sweet personal touch, save your baking for home. For a large group of guests, our advice is to stick with licensed edibles manufactures that print their lab results on their products. This will better regulate the potency of what your guests are getting.
Name and Company: Elizabeth Corr, Bridal Bliss Event Planning, Oregon and Washington
Sound Bite: We always want to be sensitive to different viewpoints, so we try to give vendors all the information prior to a weed wedding so everyone is well aware of the happenings.
How long have you been in the wedding industry? 2016 marks our 14th year in business!
What are some different ways you've incorporated weed into weddings? By far the most popular request is a weed bar with a budtender.
Have there been any challenges finding weed-friendly vendors to participate in weddings? Not yet. Along with being legalized here in Oregon, we've found that Portland is very weed friendly.
Who are some of your favorite weed-friendly vendors? Caterers! When we're incorporating weed into a wedding, we find that the caterers love coming up with fun food ideas. We encourage our clients to have a late-night snack and the caterers do a great job coming up with fun menu ideas, such as fried chicken with dill pickles and honey-dijon mustard on little drop biscuits. Devil's Food is a great catering company, and The Party Place is a rental company in Portland that's supplied us with bars for the weed bar and great lounge furniture for guests to relax while enjoying them.
What's been your favorite weed wedding feature? We had a client who didn't want the weed bar to be front and center. We decided to place it away from the main reception area. To let guests know about the weed bar, they had a wood sign made with a green cross (image below). The simplicity of the sign was perfect and a great way to let guests know without having it right in front of them.
photo by Jessica Hill Photography
What are your favorite fun edibles to create at the reception? We've had a weed bar with edibles, but it's really important to have a budtender available who can talk about and control the edibles. Edibles can affect each person differently, so it's important that guests are aware of the difference between an edible and smoking.
Sound Bite: It's all about education, moderation and discretion in many cases. Knowing how to present cannabis and in what dosing varies with each client and their guests. Knowing the right questions to ask and how to work within the laws and regulations is key. Our motto from the Cannabis Wedding Expo was that we wanted to "change this from a trend into a tradition." We'll be hosting the second Cannabis Wedding Expo in late September 2016 in Denver. There'll be an expansion of this business into other states by 2017. Also, I have dealt with my fair share of bridezillas on the traditional side, but with my cannabis wedding businesses, I haven't seen one yet! They're always far more relaxed and down to earth.
How long have you been in the wedding industry? Since 2011, when I started my traditional wedding floral design business, Bec's Blossoms.
What are some different ways you've incorporated weed into weddings? Into flowers, party favors, hemp wedding dresses, a wedding ceremony with a "unity bowl" (a double hitter glass pipe with two flames to light one bowl, allowing the couple to take their first "married hit" together), budtending bar and custom labeling for edibles.
Have there been any challenges finding weed-friendly vendors to participate in weddings? Venues are the most difficult to lock in. I have a team of vendors that I work with to ensure we have open-minded ones available for all couples looking to incorporate cannabis into their day. This was why myself and Philip Wolf, founder of Cultivating Spirits and the cofounder of the world's first Cannabis Wedding Expo, came together to host the expo in January. We wanted to bring this topic to the surface and educate the public about how they could incorporate cannabis into their wedding day and have like-minded vendors available for all services.
Who are some of your favorite weed-friendly vendors? Top Shelf Budtending. They're a fantastic company full of knowledge and class to help educate the consumer at weddings and special events.
What's been your favorite weed wedding feature? The unique personalities and themes that I've seen. Most of my traditional brides stay very close to typical traditions and customs, whereas my cannabis couples are more willing to have their wedding day be more unique. My first two cannabis weddings were themed—Alice in Wonderland and Nightmare Before Christmas. So much fun!
What are your favorite fun edibles to create at the reception? Fun custom labeling, but not necessarily different edibles. It's tough, because every edible still has to go through testing and can be very expensive to make something unique for the recreational user without it getting very costly.