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.