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Civilized.Life

Normalizing Cannabis Weddings, One Canna-Bar At A Time

You shouldn’t have to sneak out of a loved one’s wedding – or even your own, for that matter – to smoke a joint.

This is the decree of Love and Marij, a cannabis wedding and special events planning/advocacy group spearheaded by Stamford, Connecticut’s Niki McDonald.

The online platform, launched in July 2015, serves both as a listing service/inspiration board for prospective brides and grooms in legalized states who are looking to incorporate cannabis into their ceremonies, and as a network that advocates for the rights of said brides and grooms.

“While Love and Marij… lists the world’s first cannabis-friendly wedding vendors, most wedding vendors still fear working with cannabis, which makes it difficult for newly engaged couples to plan a wedding with cannabis,” McDonald told Civilized.

“At this moment in time, because cannabis is still federally illegal, a lot of wedding vendors… and a lot of people [in general] just don’t understand the laws or are afraid of the laws, which are ever-changing.”

Enter Love and Marij. Every day, the group works with wedding industry leaders – be they hoteliers, limo drivers, venue operators and everything in between – to educate them about the various ways cannabis can legally and responsibly be incorporated into upscale events of all kinds.

From bud bouquets and cannabis corsages to ganja gift-bags and ceremonial smokes, the ways marijuana can be married with a wedding if you can find an accommodating vendor are endless (as demonstrated on Love and Marij’s homepage, which offers a range of examples of ‘upscale imagery’ provided by cannabis-loving newlyweds).

The canna-bar is the biggest challenge

Alexander Elledge Wedding 573

loveandmarji.com / Jessica Hill Photography

But the most desirable (and often most challenging) way to incorporate cannabis into your ceremony, according to McDonald, is with a ‘canna-bar’, which serves up a range of strains to guests. The trouble with canna-bars is that in most states, you cannot serve cannabis at a location that has a liquor license. McDonald says there are always “creative workarounds” to issues like this, like the Loopr bus in Denver, which doubles as cannabis-friendly transportation to your venue and a place to recreate with cannabis outside of your venue.

Desire for cannabis-friendly event planning has always existed, surmises McDonald. Now that legalization measures are sweeping the nation, these demands are being legitimized for the first time – and the growing pains are palpable.

“The demand for cannabis weddings has always been there… brides and grooms may not bring it to the forefront of their wedding to actually serve it, but tons have a quick hit to help calm their nerves before they go down the aisle, or they sneak out to recreate,” said McDonald.

This gap in services is something McDonald first picked up on while she was still working in television production in 2014. After being sent by MSNBC to cover marijuana legalization in Colorado, she saw first-hand the lack of understanding around the potential for ‘sophisticated’ cannabis use – and the lack of access to professionals who could help facilitate it.

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www.loveandmariji.com / Ali. V Photography

“Whenever I would tell my friends back home that cannabis could be upscale, there was no frame of reference. They couldn’t picture that,” said McDonald. “I also noticed that a bunch of people I knew who were getting married wanted to have cannabis at their weddings and couldn’t figure out how to do it legally… I saw where the market needed help and figured this was the perfect cause for me to start fighting.”

While there’s still a long way to go in terms of the acceptability of cannabis-infused weddings and events, McDonald believes a societal shift of sorts is undeniably underway.

“More and more people – especially in states where it’s legal – are looking to include cannabis in one way, shape or form [in their weddings] and there are more and more service providers coming forward saying they’ll do it,” said McDonald, adding that “a comfort level is starting to emerge.”

She hopes this movement will be further burgeoned by Love and Marij’s upcoming release of a state-by-state educational infographic, which will detail for vendors (or a DIY couple) how they can legally work with cannabis for a wedding. The graphic is set to be released by early November, “for the start of engagement season.”

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www.loveandmarji.com / Ali. V Photography

“We’ve figured out all the loopholes so that anyone who wants to do this, in whatever capacity they want, can do it… These infographics will give a lot of people who are sort of on the fence about [cannabis weddings] the power to go full throttle,” said McDonald. “From there, I think it will just be a matter of seeing people do it, and [hopefully] it will just become normal.”

Banner image: loveandmarji.com / Ali. V Photography


ANON Magazine

Love and Marij: Combining Cannabis With Class

by ANON MAGAZINE

We recently interviewed Aleecia Head from Love and Marij, the world’s first website devoted to helping partners identify weed-friendly vendors for their wedding! Their goal is to break beyond stereotypes and provide tips and ideas on hosting cannabis events. Find out more about the origins of Love and Marij, some of the challenges they face, and why working for Love and Marij has been such a fulfilling experience.

ANON: First of all, what is Love and Marij, and how did it get started?

Aleecia: Love and Marij started about a year ago after CEO, Niki McDonald, finished filming MSNBC’s docu-series, “Pot Barons of Colorado”. As director and producer of the series, she was immersed in the beginning of the cannabis industry and saw an opportunity. When none of her friends back home could imagine upscale cannabis use, she wanted to create a vehicle to help showcase upscale cannabis events and help newly engaged couples easily connected wedding vendors who would happily honor their requests to incorporate cannabis into their wedding day. We hope that this sparks a conversation and eventually a revolution to erase outdated negative stigmas.

 

ANON: What services does Love and Marij offer?

Aleecia: Love and Marij is a website that lists cannabis friendly wedding vendors, dispensaries offering discounts to newly engaged couples and cannabis wedding planning advice. We also list upscale cannabis products great for wedding parties and date ideas and write about how cannabis can be used to enhance your relationship.

 

ANON: What is the greatest misconception people have about cannabis and cannabis products?

Aleecia: A lot of people doubt the medicinal properties of cannabis or don’t realize that cannabis can energize you or help give you confidence to get on the dance floor.  Ironically, most regular cannabis consumers don’t internally identify with the cartoonish rasta stereotypes and smoky marijuana leaves.  They’d rather have sophisticated and elevated products because that’s how they view themselves. Thankfully, more cannabis companies and brands are moving towards elegance and subtly.

 

ANON: How popular are weed-friendly weddings currently? Do you think this trend in event planning is on the rise?

Aleecia: Cannabis consumption events, like seasonal dinners and yoga events, are gaining popularity. It’s a good opportunity for multiple companies to support each other through experiential marketing and it helps normalize the act of smoking. We have a lot of inquires from couples who are interested in weed friendly weddings and I think this wedding season we’ll see a lot more! The largest problem in expanding cannabis events is lack of clarity in consumption laws. Love and Marij is working to bring clarity to how to legally incorporate cannabis into your upscale event with an infographic we plan to release in September.

ANON: What are your top three favorite cannabis wedding products at the moment?
Aleecia: That’s so hard! There are lots of great products out there but my top three would have to be Lucid Moods terpene enhancers, Weed Wipes organic cleaning products and Stashlogix’s hemp carry case! The best part about these companies is that they’re small business here in Colorado and even put on parties.

ANON: How do the families of the bride and groom usually react to the idea of this type of wedding?

Aleecia: Since a lot of people have family still in prohibition states, it can be difficult. But since the general public has become more accepting of medicinal marijuana it’s getting easier. Coming out of the cannacloset can be hard, especially for people who find themselves in leadership positions or who have no support system, since it’s still a federally illegal substance. The hardest part is starting the conversation. If you try to educate them about cannabis first then you may be surprised when they start asking you questions or become interested. Years of propaganda have made older generations nervous about cannabis, its effects and it’s hard to overwrite programmed fear. So be gentle, but honest, with your family if you want to have a cannabar at your wedding or if you just want to let your loved ones know you smoke.  We have articles about how to talk to your family about cannabis on our website as well as a myriad of helpful hints online from reputable sources if you need a good place to start.

ANON: What is the most challenging aspect of planning a cannabis-friendly event?

Aleecia: Finding a venue that is in compliance with the law has to be one of the biggest challenges. When people hear anything related to cannabis, weed or pot they immediately shut them down. They think of Reefer Madness happening on their land and they’ll be responsible for the first death by The Devil’s Lettuce. But once venues host a cannabis consumption event, a wedding or a private dinner, they notice that they’re more tame than most alcoholic events and the host is invited back. The number of places who have said yes to hosting cannabis events, even in the last year, has grown and I expect it to keep growing as more people start to better understand the law.

ANON: Has anyone ever attempted a cannabis-friendly wedding in a state where it isn’t legalized yet?

Aleecia: Legal or not, cannabis exists at most weddings!  Niki, our CEO, still lives in a state where cannabis is outlawed but witnessed a groom hand out pre-rolled joints in Altoid boxes to select wedding guests.  That’s when the party really started!  We get stories all the time about pre-legalization wedding trail blazers, but they prefer to keep their stories quiet. Hopefully soon couples won’t have to hide their love for cannabis or each other.

ANON: What drew you in and made you want to work with Love and Marij?

Aleecia: I came to Colorado wanting to do cannabis events about a year ago, when most people were still hesitant about consumption parties. When I first heard about the Cannabis Wedding Expo, I thought – Cannabis and Weddings?! Genius! I knew immediately I wanted the company I worked for, at the time, to be a part of it. When the time was right a few months later, I applied as an event coordinator and got a call two days later from Niki! The intent behind what Love and Marij does is exactly what I believed in and still do. Our main purpose is to normalize cannabis consumption and revolutionize the stoner stigma through elegant, elevated events and content. When Niki told me that, I was hooked and have been ever since! I get to do exactly what I came down to Colorado to do because I made connections, wasn’t afraid to be honest with what I wanted and met incredible people who have similar visions of the future.

ANON: What is something you would tell people who are skeptical about the idea of hosting a cannabis-friendly event?

Aleecia: Most people who host cannabis friendly events are skeptical because they’re unsure of the law. They vary state to state so contacting a lawyer, if you’re having a larger event, is usually the best idea. Soon, Love and Marij will offer resources on the legality of having a cannabis event in different states. But other than that, there’s nothing to worry about. Bring your own weed is the standard but if you want to make your guests feel extra fancy, hire a knowledge budtender to better educate and help with dosing. Guests who are high tend to be a bit more agreeable than their drunken counterparts and if the smoke itself is a concern then designate an area where consumption is okay.

ANON: What are some benefits of hosting this type of event?

Aleecia: Guests who are high tend to be a bit more agreeable than their drunken counterparts and there’s usually less tears or drama. You get to try everyone’s best shit and argue about who the real master grower is. Any food that you have will be the best food ever and at the end of the night everyone will remember, even if hazily, what happened instead of totally blacking out.

ANON: What’s the average cost for a weed wedding? Can you host this type of event on a tight/small budget?

Aleecia: Cannabis can absolutely be a cheaper alternative to alcohol! 1 oz of top shelf legal cannabis typically retails from $100-$175 and can comfortably serve 14-20 guests depending on how much they’d like to toke.  Smoking can help cut down on the amount of alcohol your guests drink.  $10/guest is a fair amount to budget for those interested in cannabis at weddings whereas alcohol can wind up costing $15-$30 for the average guest.  We are working on listing dispensaries that are giving discounts and incentives to wedding goers that want to buy cannabis for their wedding.

ANON: In your opinion, what’s the biggest difference between a typical wedding and a marijuana-friendly wedding?
Aleecia: Bringing cannabis to the forefront of your wedding by having a cannabar in addition to an open bar helps to unify the wedding experience.  Instead of needing to excuse themselves from the festivities, your guests who smoke can feel free to let loose and be themselves and that vibe is contagious! The legal cannabar draws interest from people you’d never expect.  A little bit of CBD might be just the thing grandma needs to take away her joint pain and get her out on the dance floor!
See Full Article Here: http://anonmagazine.com/love-and-marj-combining-cannabis-with-class/


Weed Weddings on the Rise: The Love & Marij Movement

Bride’s bud bouquet adorned with the couple’s marriage bands. (Photo by Pasiflora Photography)

WEDDING

Weed Weddings on the Rise: The Love & Marij Movement

On the day of your wedding, you expect everyone will be rather emotional. As the bride looks serenely upon her guests from the altar, she sees not a dry eye in the house, and why would she? — everyone has packed his or her Clear Eyes™. These aren’t your typical nuptials — welcome to the world of weed weddings, where bartenders are replaced with budtenders, the buffet consists of mostly edibles and the bride’s weed-ing dress is made entirely from hemp.

As marijuana continues to become more accepted in the U.S. and legal in certain states, Cannabis weddings are on the rise. As someone who considers herself to be 420 friendly and 420 curious about this movement, I decided to seek out one of the best in the biz to get the scoop on what weed weddings are all about and how they’re making their way to the Bay Area. I spoke with Niki McDonald, the Founder & CEO of LoveandMarij.com, the go to site for those seeking cannabis friendly wedding vendors and inspiration for cannabis event planning.

Here’s what she had to say:

Are you high right now?

Haha… great question!  While I’ve definitely learned that many cannabis strains can increase productivity, can’t say that I’m high right now. I love cannabis as a social experience! I’ll typically only smoke at home if there’s a great movie to watch or have an edible in order to turn my brain off at night so that I can actually get some sleep!

 

What is the typical profile of a couple having a weed wedding?

If you’re human, you fit the profile!  From bougie ballrooms to enchanted rustic barns, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a wedding where closeted cannabis consumption did not take place. While I do enjoy alcohol, the more you drink, the blurrier the night can get. Bringing cannabis into the equation is the ultimate way to freeze time and take in the magnitude of the moment to truly feel the love in the room.

Now that federal law has FINALLY embraced marriage equality, it’s time to fight for “MARIJ EQUALITY” – the freedom to legally recreate with cannabis at your wedding.

Thirteen strains along with handmade glass bowls are presented at a weed wedding in Oregon.
Thirteen strains along with handmade glass bowls are presented at a weed wedding in Oregon. (Photo by Jessica Hill Photography)

How do older guests (parents, grandparents, etc.) react to a Cannabis wedding?

Many parents and grandparents fondly look back upon their “stoner days” as the fun days and are looking for any excuse to re-connect. If they haven’t tried cannabis, they’ve certainly heard fun stoner stories and with the rise of the legalization movement, their curiosity has peaked! All of the adults that are too afraid to go out and buy cannabis on their own will LOVE an excuse to try it! If nothing else, enable them to get the social cool guy credibility at work on Monday when they tell their co-workers that they were invited to a weed wedding!

Many generations enjoy the delights of a weed wedding.
Many generations enjoy the delights of a weed wedding. (Photo by Ali. V Photography)

What are you noticing about the marijuana culture in the Bay Area as compared to other regions?

From Ganja Yoga to Mad High Tea Parties — the wide social acceptance of cannabis culture in the Bay Area has enabled the region to soar.

What are three weed wedding essentials in your experience?

TREAT YOUR GUESTS TO A CANNABAR WITH A BUDTENDER:

Cannabis can be a much cheaper alternative to alcohol.  There’s nothing de-classe about a formally dressed bud-tender presenting fine herb in ornate one-hitters and beautiful bowls. You can get jazzy with gold rolled joints or engraved serving jars.

SELECT A SIGNATURE STRAIN:

Create a sign that shares the significance of this strain in your love story! It’s a sweet and celebratory way for guests to sample and actively participate in your big day!

WOW YOUR GUESTS WITH A CANNABIS KEEPSAKE:

From cannabis candles to chapsticks, non-THC components of the plant can evoke relaxing benefits without getting you high. If the high is something you’re chasing, send your guests a Thank You KushKard with a low dose edible (5mg or less) or pre-rolled joint!

A few parting gifts for wedding guests.
A few parting gifts for wedding guests. (Photo by Ali. V Photography)

What are some of the most creative incorporations of pot into a wedding that you’ve seen?

The most creative weed wedding we’ve seen so far was in Colorado with groomsmen budineers, cannabis clones as seating cards, ganja giftbags and a glass rabbi pipe you could smoke out of! A San Francisco based couple did a legal cannabis wedding complete with a budtender distributing cannabis and volcano vaporizers in a giant tent call the Shady Waffle!

From cannabis print dresses to ice sculptures that can double as bongs to incorporating cannabis into your wedding ceremony, the sky’s the limit!

Glass Rabbi pipe.
Glass Rabbi pipe. (Photo by Ali. V Photography)

With legalization of pot gaining traction, we may be seeing more and more Canna-brations cropping up all over the Bay Area.

See full article here: https://www.bayarea.com/2016/06/18/weed-weddings/


Vail Daily

As cannabis becomes more mainstream, couples start incorporating it in weddings


Article by Heather Jarvis

Over the past few years, Rachael Carlevale has had a secret fantasy for her wedding day. With a degree in plant medicine and a relationship with cannabis, she dreamt of adding a little extra green to her bouquet, along with cannabis plant centerpieces that guests could pick off and smoke.

It used to be what she thought of as a joke, but in August, her nontraditional wedding fantasies will come true. Budtenders will be on hand to give advice about strains, her bouquet will be sprinkled with the sticky flower, and a tipi will give guests an area to indulge.

As marijuana slowly starts to become more accepted socially, cannabis weddings in Colorado are on the rise. Rather than having small groups of guests break away from the wedding to smoke in secret, couples that partake can now bring it to the forefront, giving guests the opportunity to partake with their friends and relatives while sharing in their big day.

For Carlevale and her future husband, Mathieu Davenport, however, it’s a whole lot more than simply enjoying the recreational use of the plant.

A HEALING TOOL

Five years ago, the Evergreen resident was fighting for her life after a uterine tumor landed her in the hospital. At only 23, she balked at the doctors’ recommendation to give her an emergency hysterectomy, instead turning to alternative therapies to combat the illness.

The now 28-year-old credits cannabis plant medicine as having a prominent role in her healing process, and continues to incorporate CBD oil into her regimen to keep the tumor from again becoming inflamed, along with using edibles to help ease the pain she feels during her menstrual cycle.

“I was very, very sick at the time,” Carlevale said. “I had to be fed by IVs, I was in the hospital, I was on bed rest. I was barely alive. So now I’m completely thriving and living life to the fullest.”

When the couple first started using cannabis as part of Carlevale’s treatment, they found that marijuana growers were using pesticides and fungicides that actually caused cancer, as well as using cancer-causing agents to extract CBD oil. Carlevale’s illness sparked Davenport to begin cultivating regenerative cannabis grown using the no-till method.

“He was able to create medicine that was very clean and safe,” Carlevale said. “And we were able to shrink my tumor over 20 millimeters.”

Davenport, 31, is now a certified permaculturist and runs his own consulting business to help others grow using these principles.

Their story is why the couple was chosen as winners of a cannabis wedding contest offered by loveandmarij.com, a website that assists those looking for cannabis-friendly services and providers for their wedding. The website offers suggestions on outlets for lodging, venues, florists, catering, photographers, DJs limos and more in Colorado, Washington and Oregon, with hints of Alaska coming soon.

After seven years together, Carlevale and Davenport will have their cannabis wedding on Aug. 27 at a private estate in Steamboat Springs, with the assistance of loveandmarij.com and other cannabis-friendly service providers that were part of the contest.

“We are really honored to be selected for this wedding contest, and we really want to help to shift the way people are viewing and utilizing cannabis,” Carlevale said.

HELP WITH THE PLANNING

When couples plan for their special day, careful thought is put into every detail — food, drinks, decor — and the same planning needs to be done with a cannabis wedding.

Navigating the legalities and hiring 420-friendly companies can be as daunting when added to all of the other wedding tasks, especially for couples from out of state who may not be as familiar with Colorado laws.

That’s where Philip Wolf and Elizabeth “Ebs” Waldmann come into the plan.

Wolf is the founder of Cultivating Spirits, a Summit County company that jumped into luxury cannabis tours soon after legalization. A former grow consultant, Wolf took his knowledge of the marijuana industry and combined it with his experience in event planning for TV and radio to create Cultivating Spirits, and wading into the world of cannabis weddings presented another opportunity for growth.

“At Cultivating Spirits, we offer sophisticated tours and events, and weddings kind of fit into that sophisticated event,” Wolf said. “We have the experience in the cannabis industry to guide people through the legalities, but also show them how to do it in a fun way — how to bring it up to their parents and their grandparents, how to incorporate as little or as much of cannabis as they want to into their event.”

At the end of last summer, Wolf approached wedding planners Waldmann and Johnna Patton, owners of Breckenridge-based Distinctive Mountain Events, with the idea of combining their services for cannabis weddings. Wolf provides the expertise in how to incorporate marijuana, with the wedding planners there to provide the more traditional planning services. Both companies will be assisting in Carlevale and Davenport’s Aug. 27 wedding.

“I don’t necessarily know weddings,” Wolf said. “I don’t want to sit in front of a bride and tell them how to plan wedding — even though I know how to plan events and I think I have good ideas. But weddings are a very special day, and Ebs and Johnna are the best at what they do up here in the mountains.

“So I wanted to approach them first to see if they wanted to work with us and take on that aspect, so we can come at it with what I think is the best cannabis expert and the best wedding experts. We come as a package, and we can create a magical day for somebody.”

Two summers ago, Waldmann and Patton were hired as wedding planners for a cannabis-friendly wedding at a private ranch north of Silverthorne. The San Francisco couple had two budtenders manning the cannabis bar and offered a separate tent for guests to smoke.

“It was done so well,” Waldmann said. “I think every wedding you run into unexpected problems — we wouldn’t have a job if there weren’t unexpected problems — but as far as the cannabis side, it went really well.”

Waldmann said the guests were all very accepting of the openness of cannabis consumption, and they didn’t run into any problems with it being a part of the day.

After the California couple hired Distinctive Mountain Events, Waldmann and Patton realized the potential opportunity of getting into this type of industry, but they weren’t quite sure how to proceed.

“I think the cannabis industry is so cutting edge, we wanted to be a part of it,” Waldmann said.

But the owners were also worried about how other people would perceive the business if they decided to advertise.

“That’s kind of where the partnering came into play,” she said. “Johnna and I had discussed doing something like this, but we debated on how to advertise it, and reach out to those brides, because in our business, the mom and dad still pay for the wedding. We didn’t know if that would deter them from hiring us, even if they didn’t want to have cannabis. So when Philip approached us, it was just a natural fit.”

IT’S THE SMALL THINGS

Offering cannabis at a wedding does take some logistical planning. Wolf said the first thing he discusses with the couple is how much they want to incorporate cannabis into the wedding. There are many things that go into a cannabis wedding that couples don’t necessarily think of: logistics like how to consume the cannabis, being the liaison between the dispensaries and walking them through the legalities.

After that, he said, is finding out more information about the families — how relatives are going to feel about it and how to make sure everyone is comfortable with the way it is incorporated.

Then it comes down to choosing services. Cultivating Spirits will assist couples in picking the right cannabis strains and other cannabis products. Like deciding on the right cake, couples can do pre-wedding cannabis sampling, and Wolf can help suggest proper strain usage. The company can also assist with a bud bar, bringing in knowledgeable budtenders to assist guests, or provide cannabis and food pairings or infused foods to any events.

As for the wedding planners, Waldmann said she makes sure that the vendors they are working with are cannabis friendly, even if it is just something as simple as making sure the hairdresser is fine with the bride smoking in the same room. Then they assist with the normal wedding logistics, aligning the packages they offer with Cultivating Spirits to the ones they offer for traditional weddings.

“As far as planning goes, it really doesn’t change,” she said. “It’s still a wedding at the end of the day.”

To be legal, the wedding has to be a private event on private property, and there can’t be a charge for any of the cannabis served. As with alcohol, transportation and age verification also come into play, making sure everyone who partakes is 21 and has a way to get back to wherever they are staying without driving if they have been consuming, Wolf said.

Cultivating Spirits does not provide the marijuana but can be the liaison with the purchase. This is particularly helpful for out-of-staters who may not be familiar with dispensaries in the High Country.

“A lot of times it might not be a complicated situation, but it’s the little things that people don’t think about,” Wolf said. “There are so many small things, especially when you are planning a wedding, and the more you can alleviate those, the better.”

CANNABIS WEDDING EXPO

Wolf and Cannabis Concierge Events owner Bec Koop teamed up to throw a marijuana-centered wedding expo in Denver’s Santa Fe Arts District in mid-January. The Cannabis Wedding Expo showcased 420-friendly vendors, along with special cannabis-themed offerings, such as Koop’s cannabis-infused wedding bouquets, floral arrangements and boutonnieres from her company Buds & Blossoms.

Koop had been rejected from traditional wedding expos, which is one of the reasons why she wanted to create her own. The expo, which sold out all of its vendor spots, was a testament to the rising popularity of the industry.

“It’s something that’s growing,” Wolf said. “People don’t know necessarily that they can incorporate cannabis into their wedding. It’s still too taboo for them. We have one wedding that we are doing this summer, but I think every year it’s going to grow and grow and grow. From doing the Cannabis Wedding Expo as well, you can tell that with companies. They are doing a handful of them, but they’ve grown from doing one last year to doing three or four this year.”

Wolf said the expo was a great way to bring companies, the press and the community of Denver together in one spot to focus on a budding industry.

“That was exposure … that put it on the map like hey, this is really legit.”

Wolf said the sky is the limit when it comes to ideas for a marijuana wedding, from cannabis massages, to live art, to cannabis educational handouts for guests.

“To me, it’s all about choices, and by the services that we are doing, we are providing people with that choice,” Wolf said. “If they want to utilize that choice, they can, but they don’t have to, and that’s what’s great about America is that we do have these choices. … It’s another option, and it’s great to have options in life.”

Carlevale believes that her wedding will be an educational experience for her guests, as well.

“I’m hoping they will all have a positive experience and a fun time,” she said. “I’m definitely expecting people to get a big educational experience out of this, as well as have a great time.”

SEE FULL STORY HERE


Highly Devoted

Weddings and Cannabis Form the Perfect Union Thanks to Love and Marij

lauren_brad_details_16 lauren_brad_details_18

By: Molly Peckler

When I think back to my wedding day five years ago, one of my favorite memories was the epic smoke sesh my new husband and I hosted after the reception. 15 or 20 of our closest friends piled into our suite and we proceeded to pass around multiple joints and bowls while laughing, bonding and reminiscing about the day.

I felt like such a rebel sitting on the floor of the presidential suite at a huge hotel in Chicago, smoking a joint in my big ass wedding dress. The moment was bittersweet, because it would have been so much more special to share that experience with all of my guests during the reception. In 2011, it had to take place behind closed doors. No one bats an eye at a shit-faced drunk, but the idea of a happy stoner at a wedding was too much for most people to handle.

When I launched Highly Devoted last summer, I hadn’t even heard of the term “weed wedding.” Through sheer luck, I was introduced to Niki McDonald of Love and Marij, and she blew my mind with tales of gorgeous high end weddings featuring bud bars, passed edibles and cannabis infused flower arrangements. I decided at that moment that if my husband and I ever decided to renew our vows, it would most certainly be a weed wedding.

Planning a weed wedding is very complicated due to the fact that cannabis is still federally illegal. Love and Marij is a weed wedding and cannabis event guide, and it helps to take the guesswork out of planning. It’s the ultimate resource for planning a high end weed wedding, and Love and Marij about to launch a brand new website with expanded services.

Learn about how to plan a weed wedding or cannabis event at www.LoveandMarij.com

Learn how to plan a weed wedding or cannabis event at www.LoveandMarij.com

In advance of the relaunch next week, I caught up with Niki to learn more about weed weddings and her experience as an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry.

Highly Devoted: How did you come up with the idea for Love and Marij? What goals would you like to achieve with your business?

Niki McDonald: The passion for Love and Marij was born out of a desire to speed up legalization by producing upscale and sophisticated images of cannabis use. In April of 2014, I moved out to Colorado to produce a cannabis docuseries for MSNBC.  When I tried to explain the “high end” cannabis parties I was so lucky to experience, NOBODY back home could wrap their mind around the concept.  Having spent the last twelve years in media, I knew I was charged to create a media outlet that would SHOW everyone the concept of sophisticated cannabis use and what better way to shock the world than showing upscale cannabis use at weddings!  Society readily accepts a loud and clumsy drunk but shuns the stigma of a silent and smiling stoner. That’s the issue I set out to change!

On my hunt for cannabis wedding imagery, I got in touch will all of the couples I read about in mainstream media that were planning weed weddings and learned that they plan for weed never came to fruition because their venues turned down the request. Couples that don’t drink served open bars for their guests but had to sneak out of their own wedding to recreate. That’s really when the fire really started with me.

Unclear state laws (and the federal government’s lack of support) makes many vendors not want to roll the dice on integrating cannabis into their current business practices.  The cannabis wedding movement was in need of MAJOR help, so I set out to work with the state cannabis boards and state police to create educational resources that will soon be made available to all wedding vendors in legal states!  The goal of Love and Marij is to be the ultimate destination for canna-couples to find wedding vendors that support their legal right to include cannabis on their special day!

Why do you think cannabis is such a great fit for weddings?

I love alcohol just as much as any NYC socialite, but when it comes to having class at upscale events; cannabis most certainly takes the cake.  Contrary to the stoner stereotype, there are many uplifting cannabis strains that can give you zest and energize you to hit the dance floor.  Unlike alcohol which can make your guests impulsive; saying things they may later regret, not remembering portions of the evening and possibly getting overly frisky after open bar, cannabis can allow your guests to be in the moment; taking in the beauty of the centerpieces and the magnitude of the day around them.  I for one feel great about the conversations I have with people after recreating with cannabis.  I wish I could say the same about alcohol!

Were you able to incorporate weed into your own wedding? If not, how have you enjoyed cannabis at other weddings you’ve attended?

My wedding took place in New Jersey back in 2013.  Yes, New Jersey, where cannabis was highly illegal.  I had a few sips of champagne while getting ready in the morning, but my nerves were so high in anticipation of “the moment” that I could barely eat or drink.  After talking with many brides that took a hit of cannabis before they walked down the aisle, I definitely wish I had done so as well!  I was beyond excited to be getting married but I hated the pressure of having SO MANY eyes on me.  Cannabis would have been the perfect tool to help me focus on the moment and drown out the voice in my head wondering if I looked ridiculous or not!

A groom showcases his bud boutonniere and vape.

A groom showcases his bud boutonniere and vape.

Guests at my wedding definitely snuck off to recreate with cannabis just as I have occasionally done at other weddings.  I used to think that sneaking away was part of the whole cannabis experience but having lived both sides of the coin, parties are SO much better when you can legally recreate with anyone you’d like at any time you’d like.  I want every bride, groom and wedding guest to experience that freedom should they want it!

Your background is in television production, and you were the showrunner for one of my favorite cannabis docu-series – “Pot Barons of Colorado”.  How did that experience affect your view of the cannabis industry?

Thanks Molly!  I’m so touched that you loved the series!  Pot Barons forever changed my stance on cannabis.  I’ve always been a “go-getter” and while cannabis speaks to the creative in me, growing up, I never wanted to do anything that would hold me back from getting a job.  I loved hanging out with my friends while they were high; it’s much easier to be sober around a group of high people than drunk people, but I couldn’t bring myself to smoke.  After realizing that the entertainment industry really doesn’t care if you’ve tried cannabis, I loosened up a little bit!  I was always in favor of legalization because I knew that it was a harmless plant and that most things we eat and drink on a daily basis are processed and way worse for you than cannabis but I had no idea HOW DIFFERENT legal cannabis is from the illegal market.

I didn’t believe medicinal cannabis was real until I met countless cancer survivors and other severely ill mothers, children and people from all walks of life who shared their stories about how awful their life on prescription drugs were until someone in their life begged them to try cannabis.  The cannabis industry is so tightly regulated in legal states that it’s safer to be in a dispensary than it is a supermarket!  Unlike your dealer’s basement, every plant on the market gets an RFID tag and is tracked by the government from seed to sale.  In Colorado, all cannabis transportation is manifested so the government knows when it’s going to the lab and when you go to a dispensary to get cannabis from a budtender, it’s given to you in childproof packaging with lab results specific to the actual plant on your container so you not only know what strain you’re getting, but the cannabinoid ratios as well!  I was a cheerleader and gymnast and have a lot of residual shoulder damage so strains with higher CBN counts typically take away my shoulder pain.

Were you interested in entering the cannabis industry before “Pot Barons”, or was that your first introduction into the world of legal cannabis?

Pot Barons was definitely my entry into the cannabis industry.  I was the president of my high school SADD club for two years so this endeavor is definitely a huge shock for many people in my life but it’s something that I believe in.  Now I’m making up for lost time!

You recently held a contest giving away a free weed wedding in Colorado. What are the most unique ways to utilize cannabis in a wedding?

You can light up in your limo, put buds in your bouquet, hotbox your hotel, serve a bud bar along with your open bar and create ganja gift bags!  If you click through the vendors section of our website, you’ll see the earlier adapters to the movement who are all willing to create endless new possibilities for you!

What is your best piece of advice for people who are interested in becoming cannabis entrepreneurs?

The cannabis industry is still federally illegal and state laws change RAPIDLY.  If you’re going to get in, you have to truly LOVE what you and believe in your message.  EDUCATE YOURSELF on the legal market and learn to solve a problem.  Accept the fact that not everyone will be 100% behind you right now, but if you’re doing something that you truly believe in, the industry will welcome you with open arms!

Learn more at Love and Marij, and sign up for our email list for updates about L&M’s new website and expanded services. Title image courtesy of Ali V Photography

Source: http://highlydevotedcoaching.com/weddings-and-cannabis-form-the-perfect-union-thanks-to-love-and-marij/


TheKnot.com

3 Weed-Friendly Wedding Planners Tell Us All About Planning Cannabis-Infused Nuptials

theknot

By: Ivy Jacobson

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.

See Full Article Here: https://www.theknot.com/content/weed-marijuana-wedding-planning


Global News Canada

Marijuana and marriage: Colorado couple blazing trail with weed weddings

By Patricia Kozicka

Matt Davenport and Rachael Carlevale consider themselves to be pioneers in the budding (pardon the pun) business of weed weddings.

When the Colorado couple ties the knot in August, marijuana will play a major role in their big day. The two felt it’d only be fitting since they credit it for saving Carlevale’s life.

The 28-year-old used her fiance’s homegrown supply after being diagnosed with a uterine tumor. She believes it helped shrink her tumour 22 millimetres.

So one of Davenport’s cannabis plants will be right up there with them at the altar — as well as in the 31-year-old’s boutonniere and his bride’s bouquet.

The two will also have a special teepee designated specifically for pot smoking, and a couple marijuana-infused desserts. (They’ll be clearly marked so “nobody will accidentally eat a cannabis brownie.”)

Even the invites will be made of hemp.

Their three-course rehearsal dinner will feature cannabis-food pairings, which Carlevale thinks will be a great way to ease her family into the whole thing.

She admits her parents were a little surprised when she first told them about her cannabis wedding plans.

“It’s all new to them. My family lives in a state where cannabis laws are still very grey,” the 28-year-old said.

She ran her wedding plans by her parents after beating out 11 couples for a giveaway at the world’s first cannabis wedding expo, put on this past January by Love and Marij.

It took some convincing, but the Carlevales approved.

“Cannabis saved our lives and inspired our relationship to blossom, from soil to seed to flower,” the couple wrote in the winning contest entry.

The package they scored will cover the weed-related expenses and venue, which many find to be the priciest part of a wedding budget.

Other couples who’ve incorporated weed into their weddings have “budtenders,” serving up different strains of Ganja to guests.

“People are accustomed to alcohol. That’s so normal to have at weddings. But it doesn’t always bring people together,” said Carlevale.

“Cannabis brings a sense of peace.”

It’s just a matter of time before the taboo surrounding weed is broken, she believes.

Right now, those who smoke marijuana at weddings often do so in secret.

“All I could think about whenever I snuck off to smoke weed at someone’s wedding was whatever I was missing out on or that I feel like I’m doing something wrong,” said Love and Marij CEO Niki McDonald.

By putting it out in the open, she argues, that stigma (along with people’s paranoia) can go away, allowing them to fully enjoy the moment.

“It can be a very reflective, and a very social tool for a lot of people,” McDonald said.

“If cannabis is used before a ceremony, I feel people take in that ceremony, take in the meaning of the words. It becomes more poetic.”

When marijuana is officially legalized in Canada (the feds set a date of next spring to introduce legislation), expect weed weddings to also crop up north of the border.

If you choose to partake in the trend, though, you may want to avoid getting too buzzed. Especially if you’re in the wedding party or are the bride or groom.

Global News asked a lawyer if there are any legality concerns if a couple signs their marriage papers under the influence.

He said you’d “have to be so out of it, you didn’t know what you were doing,” which might be tough to prove when you’ve planned your weed wedding months in advance.

Read full story here:  http://globalnews.ca/news/2650626/marijuana-and-marriage-colorado-couple-blazing-trail-with-weed-weddings/


Culture Magazine

by Sheryll Alexander

Cannabis at weddings is a fascinating trend in personal expression and enjoyment, and it’s about to become a booming industry. From creating full on “weed bars” with everything from budtenders pairing strains to each meal’s course, to cannabis flower buds showing up in the bride’s bouquet, the cannabis wedding is definitely an innovative emerging lifestyle trend.

Of course, ground zero for the cannabis wedding biz is Colorado, but Washington and Oregon are fast becoming canna-wedding innovators.

In reality, couples have been exploring cannabis clandestinely at their weddings for decades. Today, however, legalization is marrying cannabis to the business of getting married.

Digital entrepreneur and documentary filmmaker Niki Usbay McDonald saw the trend starting, years ago, and decided to get busy. She created a website catering to couples who are seeking cannabis providers, consultants and services for their upcoming nuptials. So, she created and branded LoveandMarij.com.

At Love and Marij, canna-loving couples can explore wedding vendors who understand their needs when it comes to venues, hotels, florists, photographers, DJs, limos and much more. McDonald says she has helped couples source everything they would need for a bud bar.

“The wedding industry is a $300 billion business and—right now—cannabis accounts for zero. We are looking to change that.”

For example, her Love and Marij biz has helped a Colorado couple outfit a “cigar and herb bar.” Or, how about the Seattle couple who met in a dispensary and had cannabis added to their bouquets and other gifted items because their venue would not allow smoking onsite? One Oregon couple even set up a secret cannabar in the middle of a magical forest for their toking guests.

Love and Marij is also a place for wedding guests. Here, family and friends can shop for cannabis-themed wedding items such as gold-foiled rolling papers, hemp bath bombs, mini “hitters,” gold-covered lighters, a sophisticated line of evening bags and accessories to hide your stash in style and a customizable wedding party thank you gift called “pot pockets,” which is an embossed three-joint carrier that extinguishes a lit doobie when the case is closed.

However, McDonald is marching confidently towards the entrepreneurial altar with her Love and Marij Cannabis Wedding Registry. Eventually, 21-and-older guests will be able to purchase a couple’s favorite strain as a wedding gift or as part of the wedding party puffing ritual. For now, however, this world’s first cannabis wedding registry is signing up dispensaries who want to sell to weddings and other offshoot parties.

What does this canna entrepreneur see in her crystal ballroom for the future of cannabis weddings five years or even a decade from now? “The wedding industry is a $300 billion business and–right now–cannabis accounts for zero,” explains McDonald. “We are looking to change that.”

And she’s not just stopping at a website. McDonald is helping the ignorant media, by holding marketing mixers and even a Cannabis Wedding Expo to educate companies on how to provide wedding- and media-friendly marketing materials to couples, journalists, editors and even venture capitalists.

“We want to show the world cannabis really does pair with classy weddings,” she says. For example, McDonald says “mainstream” engaged couples get preferential treatment all along the wedding route from buying the engagement ring to picking out the menu, hotel and cake, among many other “perks” and discounts couples are offered before they sign a contract.

Plus, these cannabis experts are also on hand to craft cannabis experiences for all wedding events such as the engagement party, the bridal shower and the bachelor and bachelorette parties.

As for now, McDonald says—at least in legal states—those who are planning weddings may want to consider creating a supportive space for toking guests.

“At every wedding, the smokers always miss out because they are not incorporated into the scene,” she says. “It’s time we all celebrated together.”

McDonald says she foresees these “weed weddings” as just the beginning. “I think the next level is cannabis food and wine pairings.” In fact, she is working with cannabiz Cultivating Spirits to craft a “food-and-cannabis tasting experience for venues and dispensaries.”

The future certainly seems bright for “weed wedding” providers as five more states potentially go legal in 2016, including the California goldmine. McDonald of Love and Marij calls it a “revolution” and “the turnaround.” Only time will tell if this marketing niche will work well in this groundbreaking, new canna-weddings world.

Source: http://ireadculture.com/canna-wedding-wond...

Huffington Post Brazil

Author : HUFFPOST BRAZIL

January 21, 2016

Casamentos 4h20: noivos e noivas dos EUA começam a incluir maconha nas festas

HuffPost Brasil

Publicado: 21/01/2016 14:40 BRST Atualizado: 21/01/2016 14:42 BRST

Hora do casamento? 4h20, claro.

A indústria cada vez mais poderosa da maconha está ampliando cada vez mais seus horizontes. E se até mesmo celebridades já começaram a fazer endossos para linhas específicas de sementes e plantas, o que seria dos casamentos?

Festa, convidados, lembranças, buquês, roupas, adereços... A lista de tudo que a Love and Marij faz é enorme. Rola até "bar" específico no produto. É chegar, pedir e consumir.

Tudo isso no Colorado, estado que legalizou o uso recreativo e medicinal e já fatura milhões de dólares em impostos.

No último domingo (17) foi a vez da Cannabis Wedding Expo, a primeira feira de exposições temática do combo maconha + casamentos. A variedade, como você pode imaginar, foi enorme.

Expositores, produtores, fornecedores e produtos desenhados para o consumo da erva - bongs personalizados, cachimbo ou seda -

. A Love and Marij ainda presta assessoria para fotografia e alimentação. Até aqui, esse tipo de celebração só é possível em quatro estados: Alaska, Colorado, Washington e Oregon, todos ao lado Oeste do país.

Os casamentos canábicos foram muito bem exploradas nesta reportagem do The New York Times. Se quiser se aprofundar mais, dê uma olhadinha.


HuffPost Brazil

Posted: 21/01/2016 14:40 GMT Updated: 21/01/2016 14:42 GMT

Wedding time? 4:20 a.m., of course.

The increasingly powerful marijuana industry is increasingly expanding their horizons. And if even celebrities have started to make endorsements for specific lines of seeds and plants, which would be of weddings?

Party, guests, souvenirs, bouquets, clothes, props ... The list of all the Love and Marij does is huge. Scroll to "bar" in specific product. You get to ask and consume.

All this in Colorado, a state that legalized recreational and medicinal use and have invoice millions of dollars in taxes.

Last Sunday (17) was the turn of Cannabis Wedding Expo, the first fair of thematic exhibitions of marijuana weddings + combo. The variety, as you can imagine, it was huge.

Exhibitors, producers, suppliers, and products designed for the herb consumption - custom bongs, pipes or silk -. The Love and Marij also provides advice to photography and food. So far, this kind of celebration is possible only in four states: Alaska, Colorado, Washington and Oregon, all to the west side of the country.

The cannabis marriages were very well explored in this report in The New York Times. If you want to go deeper, take a peek.
Source: http://www.brasilpost.com.br/2016/01/21/ca...

Headline Global News

Author: Rachel Cruz

January 20, 2016

Gives new meaning to being "high on love."

By Rachel Cruz | Jan 20, 2016 03:13 AM EST

Weed, or marijuana, is beautifully set in this groom's boutonniere as part of a cannabis wedding. (Photo : Twitter Photo Section)

Colorado held the very first Cannabis Wedding Expo at the Denver's Point Gallery Sunday to showcase vendors who can provide brides and grooms their very own weed wedding.

Seen at the event were various wedding products like cannabis-inspired foods and drinks, flowers, wedding favors and decorations. However, it was also a great way for marijuana-loving couples to come up with creative ideas for planning their ceremony properly, according to Fox Denver.

"I think the way that's it's presented is still so elegant and yet it still has that edgy feel of being on the edge of prohibition," said Shelby Barsh, a woman planning her own wedding who has been looking for different options.

Colorado made marijuana legal in 2012, but there are laws covering its sale, purchase, possession and use, per the local government's official web portal. Vendors at the expo were also there to guide brides and grooms on how to do a proper weed wedding without going against the law, including considering which guests to invite and where to have the celebration. The event was off-limits to those under 21 and no cannabis was sold on the premises, according to Daily Mail.

"Cannabis can be incorporated into events and weddings in classy, modern and sophisticated ways. It doesn't have to be totally in your face. It can be on a discreet level - or it can be loud and proud around your love of the bud," said Bec Koop, a wedding florist who helped organize the event, according to The Cannabist. "So let's be honest - it's always been there, it's been a part of almost every party and event scene, so why not incorporate it? The expo is really an opportunity to showcase this new trend that's not going away."

Online wedding event guide Love and Marij sponsored the event, according to San Francisco Gate. On its website is a growing list of couples who have had a cannabis-themed wedding and there are also tips and leads for brides and grooms.

Source: http://www.hngn.com/articles/171308/201601...

Yahoo News


Vice

Vice Daily Love and Marij

Nice Day for a Weed Wedding: We Went to Colorado's First Cannabis Wedding ExpoVO

by Gabby Bess

LOVE AND DRUGS

JAN 19, 2016

Now that pot is legal in Colorado, ganjapreneurs have set their sights on the wedding industry. At the state's inaugural Cannabis Wedding Expo, we saw vendors showing off weed catering businesses, hotbox ready limos, and heart-shaped joint holders.

When I stepped off the plane I was completely disoriented. Feeling a bit like Dorothy in Emerald City, or Alice through the looking glass, I wasn't in New York anymore. I was in Colorado, on Mountain Standard Time, and for the remainder of my weekend trip I would never quite remember whether that meant I was two hours ahead or behind. There was snow on the ground and the sky was pale and sunny as I waited for a car outside the Denver International Airport; it wasn't cold, but it looked like it should be. I was jet-lagged, sleepy, and slightly confused, but luckily all the locals already had me sorted out: If I wasn't here for the Steelers vs. Broncos game, it could only be for one thing: legal weed.

After taking my bags and offering me a bottle of water to counteract my burgeoning altitude sickness, my Uber driver promptly hit all the talking points about his hometown: the recent influx of millennials (emphasized, I thought, as if he was saying "aliens") and the tech industry, gentrification, the projected billions of dollars cannabis will bring in for the state and the millions it already has. Last year, he said, Colorado made more money from taxing marijuana than they originally knew what to do with. I asked him, jokingly, if he was also employed by Denver's tourism bureau, and then I asked what he thought about all the change. He said he felt positive about it, not least because of the ease with which he could now stock up on vape pen cartridges.

Since Colorado legalized the drug under Amendment 64 in 2012, anyone over the age of 21 can purchase weed like groceries without getting arrested, fined, or a second glance—and, so far, the federal government has pretty much left the state alone. This might just sound like a long-overdue policy that makes sense and is perhaps inevitable for the rest of the United States, but to see it and experience it, practically, for the first time felt like an alternate universe. No longer a clandestine operation for the denizens of Colorado, or an excuse to incarcerate people of color, weed was everywhere: My unofficial tour guide and I passed an obvious weed dispensary, which he said outnumbered Starbucks locations in the state, every few feet. He pointed out the manufacturing plants along the highway that were now being used as growhouses. By the end of my ride, I saw more puns on weed-related words than I thought were possible. I had a feeling that this was my Mecca.

Indeed, Colorado is for stoners, though that's not the state's official slogan just yet. Anything you could conceivably think to do, here you can do it with weed, and there's a lot of money to be made from it. If you want to rent a vacation house, Bud and Breakfast is Colorado's 420-friendly version of Airbnb. If you want to go out, there are cannabis bars that substitute the plant for alcohol. And if you want to get married in the state, why not have a weed wedding?

"Why not?" was general sentiment behind Denver's inaugural Cannabis Wedding Expo on Sunday, where vendors on both sides of the aisle came together for the first time to start a dialogue about what cannabis can do for brides- and grooms-to-be, as well as for the wedding industry itself. As I walked up to the local art gallery where the event was held, I was greeted by a white stretch limo that had promotional water bottles lined up on the roof. I poked my head in. "What's this for?" I asked the driver. He explained that he was one of the vendors at the expo, and he was offering his limo service to wedding parties. "So... if I wanted to rent this limo for my wedding I could hotbox it, legally?" He nodded and smiled, "You sure can."

Read More: Why More Women Are Having Sex on Drugs

Inside the expo, spanning the gallery's three floors that were soundtracked with pulsing music, 25 other vendors were also hoping to get the word out about their weed-friendly services, which ranged from cannabis bouquets to "budtenders" like Andrew Mieure. "This is my first networking event," said Mieure, the founder of Top Shelf Budtending. He's dressed as he would be when he's behind the cannabar, in a crisp button-down with suspenders and a bow tie. Mieure only started his company a few months ago, but since the weed wedding industry is still so new and emerging, he said, there's not much competition. "There's not a lot of companies that are doing this yet," he said. "If you need bud at your wedding or party, we bring all of the accessories and expertise. At the wedding, we would rope the area off, make sure everyone who entered was 21, and give everyone a wristband prior to consuming."

 

The Top Shelf Budtending booth

In Colorado, marijuana is tracked using radio frequency identification (or RFID tags) that follows each bud from the grower to the dispensary. Every step along the way requires a specific license that's regulated by the state's Marijuana Enforcement Division. That means that third-party businesses like Mieure's can't legally sell weed along with their budtending services. The bride and groom, or any client, have to buy and supply the weed, or they have the option of shopping with Mieure's expertise at a dispensary. "I'm basically a consultant," he explained. "I'm telling people what strains would be best, making sure people are consuming responsibly, and ensuring that they're having a good time. I'm not actually selling any [cannabis]. The client is basically providing the bud for their guests; under Amendment 64, anyone over the age of 21 and older can give up to one ounce of bud to someone else over 21. That's the only way we can get away with this," he said.

While clients generally look to weed as an alternative to alcohol, they don't have to choose between the two. "Alcohol is [legally] allowed to be served alongside cannabis, but I wouldn't recommend mixing the two," Mieure said. "I think, personally, weed is a safer alternative to alcohol, and it costs about the same as an open bar. A little bit of weed goes a long way." A budtender's job is also to make sure the guests don't get uncontrollably high. "We keep guests to a 20 MG limit for edibles, and a one- or two-joint limit on the bud itself."

If you want to get more creative with cannabis consumption on your wedding night, LA-based Christopher Sayegh, who goes by the name the Herbal Chef, was also at the expo. "I do cannabis-infused fine dining," he told me. "So that means multi-course meals that are individually dosed [with THC]. The dosage is completely customizable to everyone at the table because you want to be able to enjoy the whole meal without getting too high." For the stoner who is also a discerning foodie, Sayeg sources local ingredients and often bases dishes on what he's just foraged or hunted. He's worked with clients who have their medical cards in California and is looking to expand into Colorado's recreational space; he's booked to cater two weddings in the state this September. "People still aren't used to eating savory edibles," Sayegh explained. "They're more used to the sweet stuff. At these dinners my clients are usually trying this stuff for the first time. One time I went dove hunting and used the doves for a dinner. I served them on wooden plates that I carved from tree trunks and made a turmeric hash to represent the earthiness of where [the doves] died. Then I smoked [them] using the hay that was all around the area [where they] died. Then I made a cannabis-infused dove sauce."

Read More: How Marketers Are Capitalizing on Pot's New Lady Demographic

Surprisingly, this wasn't the craziest dish he's made. "I made a Caprese salad for desert," he said, adding that he comes up with his best flavor combinations while stoned. "I am absolutely in love with cannabis. I love the culture. Everyone is friendly, and there's this great sense of community. Plus, who doesn't like to get high and eat food?"

Exactly.

The event was heavily populated with members of the weed industry, but there were, of course, civilian couples genuinely looking for wedding inspiration. One couple I spoke to had an all-weed-everything wedding in the works. The bride planned to have a custom-made wedding gown made from an abstracted pattern of the weed strain she and her husband grow, Cherry Kush. Her wedding colors are purple and gold, like the THC crystals on the strain, and they said pictures of the strain would also be hung at the reception as artwork. "We just want to have a fun wedding that represents who we are," the bride said.

For those who might want a more subtle look, Janay Andrews (or Janay A), a wedding dress designer from Kansas City who had a booth at the expo, makes custom wedding dresses out of hemp that can be indistinguishable from a traditional gown, though she was just commissioned to make a dress incorporating a bodice of beaded weed leaves. Andrews isn't married, nor does she have immediate plans to be. When I asked her if she would ever consider a cannabis wedding, she responded: "I want to have a mushroom wedding!"

Opening up the wedding industry to 420-friendly vendors and clients was one of the primary motivations for the event, the founders of the expo, Bec Koop (of Colorado's first cannabis florist Buds & Blossoms) and Philip Wolf (of the cannabis tour companyCultivating Spirits), explained. Koop, who creates bouquets and "budtonniéres" using cannabis plants, was rejected from traditional expos, so she decided to start her own. "As people start to see cannabis as a normal part of daily life, it just makes sense to also have it at your wedding," Wolf said. "The wedding industry is a a multi-billion-dollar industry, and as more states opt for legalization, cannabis will play a big role in it."

The expo was BYOC (bring your own cannabis), complete with a smoking lounge, so by the end of the day, the event felt more like a wedding itself than a convention. More stoned than I've ever been in my entire life, I almost forgot that the main reason for the event was commerce; it was hard not to have a good time when everyone in attendance was liberally sharing joints, vapes, and anything else smokeable or edible. Maybe that was the point, I thought, as I stared at a melting ice sculpture that was laser-etched with cannabis leaves: Almost everything—weddings and wedding expos included—is better with weed.