With This Weed, I Thee Wed
While some brides may mark the beginning of their nuptials with a glass of champagne, Tricia Cleppe-Fortier opted for a refreshment of another variety.
“I woke up and the first thing I did that morning was smoke a joint,” Ms. Cleppe-Fortier said. “It helps center me. There’s a ceremony to it as well that is kind of beautiful — just having a moment to yourself, rolling up.”
After getting engaged in November 2019 and encountering a series of pandemic-related delays, Ms. Cleppe-Fortier, 30, a digital strategist at Brandwidth, a marketing agency in Manhattan, and Stewart Fortier, 31, a tech entrepreneur based in Brooklyn, tied the knot on April 23 in Oak Island, N.C. Sixty-five guests attended the wedding, an intimate waterfront event at a locally managed beach house.
“The whole vibe at our wedding was an extended dinner party,” Ms. Cleppe-Fortier said, adding that because she’s a longtime user of recreational cannabis, it was “very naturally part of the whole weekend.”
At their welcome party, for example, the couple — who live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn — hosted a poker night where both cigars and joints were rolled and available for guests. Though marijuana use is illegal in North Carolina, they openly consumed, taking advantage of the remoteness of their location.
“It was pretty easy to keep it on the low and not in the house, but on the balconies and right nearby,” Ms. Cleppe-Fortier said.
Friends of the bride gifted her joints throughout the weekend, and ensured she was never without. One bridesmaid placed a joint and lighter at her table setting so she could indulge during the reception, where guests enjoyed more pre-rolls, in addition to champagne, cocktails, fried chicken and a tater tot bar.
Though cannabis remains classified as a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act, the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health estimates that nearly 50 million people in the United States used cannabis in the past 12 months. The majority of adult use is recreational, and to date, 19 states (including New York) have legalized the adult use of marijuana for recreational purposes. (Recreational cannabis is also legal in Washington, D.C., Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.)
As the stigma surrounding cannabis use fades, it’s becoming a more common fixture at wedding celebrations.
But before planning a cannabis-friendly wedding, you should know the local laws and regulations and understand and follow the rules about how and when to consume. Proper etiquette entails giving guests and vendors plenty of notice.
“My biggest recommendations are via your wedding website, your invitations and an email to all your guests in advance of the event,” said Amy Shack Egan, 30, the founder and lead planner at Modern Rebel in Manhattan. “People have a lot of feelings on cannabis, and it’s best to be upfront so there are no surprises.”
Ms. Shack Egan suggested that cannabis be treated like alcohol and serious food allergies. Safeguards should also be implemented so that children do not have access to it. Guests who don’t want to partake should be able to avoid infused edibles or secondhand smoke. It’s also important to hire vendors with experience in cannabis weddings and to consider limiting alcohol service.
“Our clients who have offered cannabis and alcohol typically scale back their liquor consumption or just offer wine, beer and mocktails,” Ms. Shack Egan said. “Late night snacks become even more important — don’t skimp on that so your guests can have their munchies moment.”
With cannabis use on the rise among young adults, Ms. Shack Egan has observed that more couples want to include cannabis in their nuptials, when it’s safe and legal.
“I’m excited about the ways couples are rewriting the rules and reimagining their love parties so they feel seen and celebrated,” she said.
When the cannabis lifestyle brand House of Puff started in 2018, its founder and chief executive, Kristina Lopez Adduci, 36, noticed an increase in the bridal cannabis market.
“Little by little, we started getting inquiries from brides specifically,” Ms. Lopez Adduci said.
Whether they were having a bridal shower or a bachelorette party, these customers were seeking to bridge the gap between their big day and their penchant for marijuana. Ms. Lopez Adduci said brides were requesting gift boxes that could be customized with various House of Puff products, like its pastel-hued pipes and rolling trays.
“That was four years ago,” Ms. Lopez Adduci said. “And then now, all these states are legalizing adult use. Finally, after many conversations and emails, we had to invest in gift boxes because we’ve gotten so many inquiries from brides saying, ‘Hey, I want to get this.’”
In Las Vegas, Maxine Fensom, 64, the founder and officiant behind Las Vegas Cannabis Weddings, is noticing more interest in marijuana-themed nuptials. Ms. Fensom invites couples to celebrate their love for each other and cannabis by exchanging vows in a growhouse or inside Planet 13, one of the city’s recreational dispensaries.
Ms. Fensom’s first cannabis weddings took place this year on Valentine’s Day, and she estimated that she had officiated 20 such ceremonies to date. Packages vary: Couples can choose from bouquets and boutonnieres with cannabis buds instead of traditional floral arrangements, (non-infused) cakes decorated with weed art and more cannabis-themed accouterments.
“And there’s more to come,” said Ms. Fensom, who’s already taking bookings for April 20, the unofficial holiday for marijuana users. “And I reckon Valentine’s Day next year will be super, super busy, probably New Year’s Eve as well.”
Ms. Fensom officiated the ceremony for Yvette Ojeda, 52, and Marco Graj, 39, real estate investors based in Miami who got married Oct. 22 in the dispensary. Initially, the couple had called off their nuptials when tragedy struck; Ms. Ojeda’s brother died in a car accident and she said it didn’t feel right to move forward with their original plan of a large Las Vegas wedding.
They decided to elope, but when their search for a classic Elvis impersonator to officiate was underwhelming, they considered other options. A “weed wedding,” as Ms. Ojeda described it, would not only be different, but it would also be a fitting tribute to her brother, who was a disabled combat veteran and an avid cannabis consumer.
“It was like he was there with us,” Ms. Ojeda said. “Because we were constantly saying if he would have been here, he would have loved this, he would have loved that. It was very emotional for both of us.”
Open consumption in Las Vegas is prohibited, but with marijuana consumption lounges in Las Vegas possibly on the horizon for as soon as 2023, it will be easier to find a place to legally consume marijuana in public. Regulating open consumption would be the next phase for the cannabis free market, and it will expand the possibilities for couples. Planet 13 has applied for a license to operate a consumption lounge and is awaiting next steps from the county.
“We’ll actually be able to create this full cannabis wedding experience that ties in consumption,” said David Farris, 28, the vice president of sales and marketing at Planet 13. “If we fast-forward a year from today, what we will be doing is going to be light-years ahead of what we’re able to do now.”
Here are a few innovative ways that couples have included cannabis in their wedding celebrations.
A Cannabis Toast
Ball Family Farms, an indoor cannabis farm in Los Angeles, organized a cannabis toast for 150 guests at a wedding in October. The company’s founder and chief executive, Chris Ball, created a bar-inspired setup at the reception, where he spoke with guests about their proprietary strains and answered general questions about cannabis.
“I’ve been to plenty of weddings and everyone can’t wait to get up there and get a glass of wine or champagne and kind of relax,” Mr. Ball said. “So to see everyone lined up at that cannabis bar waiting to get some smoke was really surprising, in a good way.”
In California, the sale or consumption of alcohol is generally prohibited in the same place where cannabis is being consumed or sold. The staff at the event space, Vibiana, set aside 45 minutes during the reception for the cannabis toast, pausing alcohol service and handing out pre-rolled joints to guests who wanted to smoke.
There was also a designated smoking area outside in the courtyard. Mr. Ball said about 90 percent of those in attendance participated in the cannabis toast.
Curated Cannabis Gift Bags
Having worked in the cannabis industry for more than a decade, Lauryn Livengood, 37, a senior brand director at Pax, an electronic vaporizer company,was inspired to incorporate the plant into her Oct. 15 wedding in California. She and her husband, Benjamin Thorne, 41, a freelance user experience researcher, were having an open bar and were considering open cannabis consumption as well.
Their venue, the Avalon Palm Springs, asked them to weigh other options. Under California law, adults 21 or older can use, carry and grow cannabis, and are permitted to consume it on private property. It isn’t allowed in public places and property, however, and business owners can regulate how they choose.
Ultimately, the couple landed on handing out cannabis gift bags as party favors, a gesture their venue approved. Ms. Livengood carefully selected 18 products, including pre-rolls, facial serums, hand-painted chocolates, bath bombs, traditional flower and rolling papers, as well as chips and gummies.
“People were stunned,” Ms. Livengood said. “We really wanted to provide something for everyone so we made sure to include a wide variety of experiences.”
Ms. Shack Egan tells couples that when they offer cannabis to guests, they should caution against overconsumption. Also, have proper transportation services in place for everyone to get home.
“Weddings are a beautiful opportunity to celebrate your partnership and your community,” she said. “But all of that will get lost if you aren’t safe about how you celebrate.”
Elevated Edibles and Beverages
With their wedding date set for April 20, 2024 — a date picked in part because it’s 4/20 — two cannabis entrepreneurs, Maggie Wilson, 37, and Brandon Dorsky, 38, are already planning their cannabis-themed affair.
The couple, based in Los Angeles, owns Fruit Slabs, which makes cannabis-infused fruit treats, so edibles will naturally be present at their wedding. Other ideas they’re considering? Cannabis beverages and two chocolate fountains, one infused with cannabis and one without.
“We want everybody to have a good time,” Mr. Dorsky said. “We are intentionally going to make sure it is not just a good party, but a memorable and unique weed experience for the majority of attendees.”