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

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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/