Bride with Bouquet at the 2019 Cannabis Wedding Expo in Los Angeles. Bouquet by Flowers on Flowers. Credits: Vanessa Oliver.
Legalization is allowing for a budding new industry: cannabis weddings. From flower arrangements, to organizing a budtender for the celebration, there are seemingly an infinite amount of possibilities for couples taking the plunge.
Vanessa Oliver, CEO of Cannabis Wedding Expo (CWE), said that the market for cannabis-themed weddings is growing. While they have held conventions in Las Vegas and Denver, Oliver wants to expand as more states legalize. “We have some exciting announcements to look forward to including new locations we will be adding to our 2022 tour,” she tells Emerald.
Since the first convention in 2016, the CWE has grown. Now that pandemic restrictions are lessening, there is more opportunity for couples to learn about how they can incorporate cannabis into their wedding.
Bridging the gap
CWE is committed to filling a gap in the matrimony market. “We wanted to be the bridge between traditional weddings and specialty cannabis products and services,” says Oliver.
Specifically, CWE wants to give smaller companies a platform to create innovative products, and consumers to access them. “It truly is an exciting and fun opportunity to broaden their imagination by seeing cannabis in a classy and immersive setting,” Oliver says.
She encourages couples to attend these wedding expos to immerse themselves in cannabis-infused products as a way to destigmatize.
The Cannabis Wedding Expo highlights hundreds of vendors. Attendees can peruse these vendors, and see how they cater towards a cannabis-friendly wedding. From bouquets to jewelry, and even wedding dresses and invitations made from hemp, the CWE showcases different ways to be cannabis inclusive.
What is a Cannabis Wedding?
According to Brides, cannabis weddings encompass more than just budtending. Infusing cannabis into different products has become a major hit. “[T]here have been several innovative ways on how people can creatively add cannabis to their nuptials,” writes author Liz Susong. Those include cannabis infused drinks to décor.
Chas Thompson, founder of flower company Wildflower Portland, tells Brides that “more than anything, being cannabis-friendly creates a space for open dialogue. The joy in my job is knowing my couples can talk to me about the ‘taboo’ and that together we can collaborate on a vision that is honest to them,” adds Thompson. “A majority of my couples come to me wanting something unique, and because I am cannabis-friendly they wonder, what else can she do? The answer is, a lot!”
For example, there’s pot-laced flower bouquets, hair pins, bud boutonnières, flower crowns, and weed bars, which give guests an alcohol alternative.
One bride, Michelle Casanova, tells The Guardian that her dream was to take a “huge bong rip in [her] wedding dress.”
But Casanova wasn’t the only one partaking at her wedding. She walked down the aisle with a bouquet of sunflowers and cannabis, guests ate THC-infused cake. They were also treated to a dab bar. “It was like your typical wedding, but with hints of cannabis here and there,” she tells The Guardian. “Everything was really subtle, except for the smoking part.”
The wedding industry came to a halt last year due to the pandemic. Consequently, wedding planning did too. As states start to open up, couples are starting to plan and host weddings again.
“The weddings and events industry was hit hard this past year. But we were fortunate to be able to move forward with new and exciting changes,” says Oliver, CEO of CWE.
Couples, it seems, are anxious to learn more about about cannabis weddings. “This can be seen in areas like ticket sales which hit roughly 30% pre-marketing. Part of this we can contribute to the community’s eagerness to return to live events and part to the iconic culture CWE has built over time,” Oliver says as she spoke about her excitement for events to return.
Planning a Cannabis Wedding
Wedding planning is difficult and a frustrating process, add cannabis to the mix and it becomes more challenging. In an article by Wedding Favors Unlimited, legality and consent are two areas of concern that need to be targeted. For starters, couples should consider their state’s cannabis policies regarding recreational and medical cannabis.
“When making plans for the venue, consider all your guests. Some of them, especially if older, might not be comfortable with attending a cannabis reception,” states the article, which goes further into consent for all parties involved at the wedding.
For this reason, some couples are creating smoking sections, and designating them for cannabis users. Others are cutting the consumption altogether. For example, Anna and Mark Balfe-Taylor tell The Guardian that, “Mark sported a bud in his suit pocket and Anna carried a bouquet with marijuana leaves, [but] neither partook after the ceremony. “We wanted to make a statement about policy and people’s rights,”” states Mark.
As cannabis use becomes more acceptable, more people feel comfortable combining their lifestyle with life events. As a result, more couples are incorporating the plant into their nuptials, sharing their love for the herb with friends and family.