Recreational marijuana use has now been legalized in eight states and Washington, D.C—and some wedding professionals in these places, and even in states where marijuana isn’t legal yet, are making it known to their clients that they are “cannabis friendly,” meaning that they are comfortable either helping clients incorporate marijuana into decor and food, or just being around it if it’s part of their client’s lifestyle.
Photographer Leah Moyers explains: “Alcohol at weddings is widely accepted, but some couples aren't really into drinking and although they might provide alcohol for their guests, cannabis is their ‘drink’ of choice.” Couples may choose to smoke before or after their wedding, or they may include cannabis buds into floral decor, or even provide a weed bar for the guests, complete with a "budtender" to offer guidance.
Wedding vendors in Colorado seem to be leading the charge in terms of elevating the image of cannabis use at weddings, providing couples with cannabis inspiration, and streamlining the business of connecting cannabis-friendly vendors to couples. One such leader in this movement is Niki McDonald who started the website Love and Marij. With the motto “Cannabis is the new champagne,” Niki’s team has amassed a directory of cannabis-friendly vendors, “wedding-friendly” dispensaries that offer discounts and wedding packages, links to cannabis products they recommend, and they’ve even started a cannabis wedding registry service.
Photographer Leah Moyers sees the move toward a more cannabis-friendly industry as part of the larger progress the wedding industry has made in recent years, saying, “There has been progress in how couples choose to declare, signify, celebrate, and take on the responsibilities of marriage.” Additionally, she says, “There has also been progress in the way LGBTQ couples are served in the wedding industry after same-sex marriage was legalized.” In general, she sees the industry celebrating more unconventional couples and celebrations.
While she has been “transparent and enthusiastic about serving same-sex couples,” she also feels that it is “necessary to distinguish [her]self as a photographer comfortable with couples using cannabis at sessions or wedding celebrations.” The way she expresses this to potential clients? The first line of her bio reads, “I’m cool with all of your dreams, eccentricities, vices, fears and ways you express love.”
Photographer Jeremy Lawson echoes these sentiments and says he is all for the incorporation of cannabis at weddings: “My goal as a photographer has always been to capture the idiosyncrasies of the couple’s relationship...It seems only natural that couples who make it a part of their regular lives should have it be a part of their wedding day.” He aims to capture an honest story and doesn’t want anyone to have to hide a part of themselves on their wedding day.
Chas Thompson is the florist behind Wildflower Portland, and she is well-practiced in incorporating cannabis leaves and flowers into her custom designs. She says, “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.” Not to mention, she finds that potential clients perceive her use of the marijuana plant to be creative and forward-thinking.
She says, “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!”
At one of her favorite weddings, she incorporated sativa branches into the floral arrangements and cannabis flowers into the boutonnieres. “You could see the boutonnieres getting smaller and smaller as the night went on, which was both hilarious and my exact intention,” she says. “It's not as if cannabis wasn't at weddings before, but bud was in the background.” She says that bridal parties, friends, and family who smoked often did it in secret because they felt they had to hide it. “Now, on the west coast, cannabis can be enjoyed at wedding receptions, and it's a detail that can be as thoughtful as the decor or the catering.” Chas looks forward to the day that wholesale floral markets offer cannabis garlands, but she knows at that point “the creatives and I will be on to something else.”