When guests get invited to a wedding, they might be excited about the open bar, but some couples are opting for a more non-traditional way to celebrate — with cannabis. While the presence of marijuana at weddings isn’t exactly new, the openness of weed weddings means partaking of this substance at celebrations is not like it used to be.
The National Institutes of Health estimates approximately 49.6 million people aged 12 and older in the United States used cannabis in the past 12 months. Globally, cannabis sales in 2021 were estimated at around $28 billion with sales projected to reach a whopping $35 billion this year, according to research from BDSA, a cannabis-data company. Data shows us that the primary use of cannabis in the U.S. remains recreational for 89.5% of adult users. Around 10.5% report using it solely for medical relief and 36.1% report a combination of both medical and recreational purposes.
As legalization continues around the country, some couples are saying “I do” while surrounding themselves with friends, family members and marijuana.
Where Weed Weddings Are Taking Place
Brides and grooms have probably been using marijuana at weddings for as long as weddings have been a thing. However, before legalization, use of the substance had to be more secretive, with no standards of cleanliness or hospitality. This created an opportunity for professionals who could come in and serve weed to guests in a safe and congenial way.
Cannabis-friendly weddings are only legal in states where recreational use is already allowed. Currently, that’s 21 states, including Colorado, Oregon, California, New York and Illinois. Washington, D.C. and Guam have also legalized it.
Pre-Weed Wedding Etiquette
As with all regulated drugs, hosting a cannabis wedding means abiding by numerous rules. For starters, assuming you’re abiding by state laws, recreational use is only valid for adults over the age of 21.
Proper etiquette necessitates an abundance of transparency. Both vendors and guests should receive plenty of notice. Amy Shack Egan, founder and lead planner at wedding planning company Modern Rebel, told the New York Times that it’s best to treat cannabis like you would alcohol or serious food allergies. Safeguards should be put into place to ensure children aren’t able to access it, and guests who choose not to participate don’t end up accidentally consuming. It’s critical everyone is aware ahead of time of what kind of event they’re being invited to.
“My biggest recommendations are via your wedding website, your invitations and an email to all your guests in advance of the event,” Egan told the Times. “People have a lot of feelings on cannabis, and it’s best to be upfront so there are no surprises.”
She also recommends reducing the alcoholic beverage service and making sure late-night snacks are available for when the munchies hit.
How To Host Weed Weddings
If marijuana use is legal, cannabis services can be woven into weed weddings in several different, personalized ways, such as providing guests with products to consume or offering CBD-infused food and beverage options.
For example, you could include a rolling station for blunts with customized weed strains, as this Twitter post illustrates. This is similar to a wedding in which cocktails are created in honor of the bride and groom.
You can also build your wedding around a cannabis theme. Consider cocktails, food, decor, wardrobe, field trips and more.
Consuming Cannabis In Food Or In Place of Alcohol
While alcohol is traditionally served at weddings, not all couples are big drinkers. THC- or CBD-infused beverages offer an alternative to wine and champagne for cannabis-curious guests.
“People have increasingly turned to cannabis to relax and alleviate anxiety, and cannabis in any product form has become a popular alternative to alcohol.” Stacia Woodcock, a dispensary manager at Curaleaf, told Brides. “Beverages are the fastest-growing segment in the cannabis industry, as they offer a similarly social alternative to alcohol.”
Couples have the opportunity to set up an additional bar at their wedding that dispenses cannabis to guests through a budtender available for guidance. Andrew Mieure, CEO of cannabis experiences company Top Shelf Budtending, claims it can be cheaper than alcohol.
“You’re probably looking at, I would say, half and sometimes quarter the cost of what it would be to have a fully stocked bar,” he told Delish.
Some couples may choose to have a cannabis bar as an alternative to a traditional bar, while others might scale down the available alcoholic offerings instead. Unlike most open bars, cannabis is micro-dosed and monitored. Combining cannabis and alcohol isn’t safe for everyone.
Alternatively, foods that include the herb can be featured on the menu. Cannabis caterers may offer both food and drink options with creative preparations that are perfect for any style of wedding. These food vendors can create multi-course meals for guests, desserts included.
At weed weddings, the bride and groom are responsible for securing the cannabis. After that, the cannabis caterers or budtenders can take over, making everything from mini joints to edibles to meals. Cannabis caterers work hard to ensure a safe environment for everyone from first-timers to seasoned users.
Incorporating Weed Into Wedding Decor
While some couples want to make a big splash with weed-themed decor, others prefer a classier, more subtle approach. Just as you would with any wedding decor theme, couples can decide how much or how little to incorporate into centerpieces, apparel, floral arrangements, party favors and food.
The fun doesn’t have to stop after the last dance. Cannabis floral arrangements can be taken home and consumed days later — or on the honeymoon, as long as state lines aren’t crossed.
Other Ways To Incorporate Weed Into Weddings
It turns out there are unlimited ways to incorporate weed into weddings, from smokable boutonnieres to bong centerpieces. This might mean kicking off the festivities with a marijuana toast rather than with a glass of champagne. Or it could come in the form of gifting guests with small favor bags of cannabis products to consume at their leisure throughout the weekend.
Or, incorporate creative cannabis consumption into your transportation options. Shuttle guests in high-end cars with craving-friendly snacks to dispensaries as part of your wedding activity itinerary, or add cannabis elements to bachelorette and bachelor parties, rehearsal dinners and more.
For brides and grooms looking for the right vendors for their weed wedding, the Cannabis Wedding Expo brings businesses across the industry together, such as budtending companies, venues, cannabis caterers, DJs, florists and more. Established in 2016 in Denver, the expo expanded to several other cities where recreational marijuana is legal before the COVID-19 pandemic. The expo hasn’t yet announced dates for 2023.
By Emily O’Brien, for Newsy.