BY: Sophie Saint Thomas
“I never wanted to be drunk on my wedding day.” Jerilyn is a medical marijuana dispensary manager and writer living in Detroit, dreaming of her wedding to her musician true love.”It’s a day I want to remember and feel completely connected to. Marijuana has always been a tool of mine to enhance experiences and memories. I remember the places I got high and how I felt, and what the air smelt like, and what song was playing with what person.” Michigan is one of 23 states that has legalized medical marijuana. And Jerilyn isn’t the only woman dreaming of a wedding that includes weed. Due to shifting attitudes and changing legalities, it seems that it won’t be long until stoner brides will not only be able to take a toke before they walk down the aisle, but serve it to their guests as well. Along with the 23 that have allowed for medical cannabis, four states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational use.
In states where weed is legal and widely socially accepted, couples have begun to incorporate cannabis into their weddings in delightful and original ways. Nathan, a music publicist from Portland, explains: “We had quite the extended family visiting from all over North America and knew that several of them were known smokers, so we just went ahead and assured everyone that we’d have some cannabis on hand when they arrived.” At his September 2008 wedding to his now-wife Kat, the couple invested heavily in herbal refreshments. “We purchased, to this date, the biggest quantity of cannabis I’ve ever bought at once… a half ounce of White Widow from our close friend and dealer,” says Nathan. “As friends and family descended on the island, we broke it off into eighths and passed it out amongst the biggest known smokers in each cabin.”
From gift bags of ganja to your traditional wedding bouquet with a touch of bud (it is a flower, after all), the growth of the cannabis industry gives going green on your wedding day a whole new meaning. Buds & Blossoms is Colorado’s first cannabis florist, creating floral arrangements you can enjoy “straight from your bouquet to your bowl.” “I feel like my cannabis couples are very eccentric,” says Buds & Blossoms founder Bec Koop. “[I’d] never done a themed traditional wedding. Now I’ve done multiple cannabis-themed weddings. Like Alice in Wonderland, or The Nightmare Before Christmas. So it’s fun that people are putting their personalities first, rather than doing what’s expected of them,” Bec started her traditional floral business in 2011, and when Colorado went legal in 2014, she launched Buds & Blossoms.
One of Bec’s partners (I’d say in crime, but it’s legal now) is Love and Marij, “the weed wedding website for classy cannabis events.” Niki Usbay McDonald, the founder of Love and Marij, is also a documentary filmmaker from New York, who entered the marijuana industry in April 2014. “[I was] out on Colorado on an assignment when I saw what the legal marijuana industry was; how many lives it was saving, how great it was for the state of Colorado. I came back saying this is amazing, we’re going to make a series, and I want to devote the rest of my life to making other people see what a good thing this is.” With her work with Love and Marij, Niki helps couples devote the rest of their life to one another — with a touch (or an ounce) of marijuana.
Conceiving a cannabis ceremony means dealing with typical wedding planning — simply elevated. “Obviously with floral [arrangements], it’s absolutely perfect. You can add it to bouquets, you can use hemp stationary,” says Molly Peckler, founder of Highly Devoted, a cannabis friendly dating coach. “Having a bud bar is amazing, having that instead of or in addition to a regular bar. Having people pass around cannabis infused edibles, I think that would be something that would be really fun,” Molly continues.
Niki is also a huge fan of the “canna-bar” saying, “Just like you may have a signature drink, you can choose a signature strain that may [mean] something significant to you and your relationship.”
Popping the bubbly has long been a celebratory stable at weddings, and rightly so — but Love and Marij is helping stoner bride have just as much fun as drunk bride. “Every time I’ve been a bridesmaid (or bride) we drink champagne in the morning, while we’re getting ready, and then the next thing is drinking champagne in the limo going over to the venue. Most limos won’t accommodate cannabis, but if you want to smoke instead of drink, there are cannabis-friendly limos that you can hire that will take you there,” says Niki. “In terms of catering, if you’re in Colorado or a legal state, you can either create a cannabis menu that caters to the dinner that you’re serving, or in some states if it’s legal there you can actually prepare some sort of infused side meal.”
Oh yes — food’s role in the world of weed has come far beyond the munchies. Chris Sayegh of The Herbal Chef caters upscale private dinners and events, marrying fine dining and cannabis infused cuisine, and offers a line of medicated frozen dinners. “I’ve made cakes for weddings, I made a dessert bar, and now I’m catering a whole wedding coming up,” says Chris. When elevating a guest’s culinary experience and state of mind, Chris stresses the importance of responsible dosing — as anyone who’s downed an entire weed brownie then spent a day hiding in a tent hallucinating and having spontaneous orgasms will tell you. “I am all about responsible dosing, and educating. So for the pesto for instance, it’s 5mg per square, and you’ll eat about three doses to make pesto for yourself. 15mg is a pretty good dose, 10mg would be a beginner dose,” says Chris. Chris makes an effort to get to know his customers beforehand to discuss their tolerance and desired high.
Another way cannabis has entered the wedding scene is through gifts given to guests (beats another set of heart-shaped measuring spoons). From gold rolling papers to custom designed joint cases, weed wedding party favors are a guaranteed good time.
Still, in bringing together generations, stoner brides still face stigma. “Much of my family would be aghast at my ‘drug use’ let alone incorporating it into the most important day of my life. However, most of the guests would participate and appreciate the option,” says Jerilyn. Molly agrees: “I think for a lot of families that’s very taboo. They have no issues sharing a drink together, but smoking together or vaping — it can be a little bit off-putting. But it’s something that can really bring families closer.” However, along with simply providing a magical night for the wedded couple, weed weddings are bringing a touch of class to the cannabis industry. “As long as I’m doing the fine dining and I’m really working to elevate the perception of marijuana, then people are not going to have much to say. What could you say? I’m putting out beautiful plates of food. They’re elegant events, people are having a ton of fun. Nobody’s throwing up, nobody’s getting too fucked up, nobody’s drunk driving, so what is there to complain about?” says Chris.
While it’s normal to want to make guests comfortable, at the end of the day a wedding is all about the couple. “The ultimate thing to remember is that it’s your wedding day, everyone is there for you. You’re inviting the people that are closest to you in your life to be there for you this moment. Especially something that’s legal now [in some states] that shouldn’t make a difference. I think if someone can be accepting of you and supportive of who you are, it’s your wedding day,” says Niki. And with a cannabis wedding, if you do get stressed out, the bud of OG Kush in your poppy bouquet is still a relaxing hybrid you can pluck out and light up.
“I’ve seen so much high stress and high tension with my traditional brides, because if one tiny thing is wrong, they tend to flip out,” says Bec. “But at my cannabis weddings… the brides are like, ‘I’ll take a puff and I’ll be fine. At the end of the day I’m still marrying my best friend.’ It’s just a different outlook because I feel like they are a lot calmer and collected, and just easy going and laid back. If a napkin doesn’t match, they’re probably going to laugh about it rather than scream about it.”