Twenty-eight years after Bob Marley romanticized marijuana, the drug has earned top billing in the ultimate love-fest: weddings.
In Washington, Colorado, Alaska, and Oregon—the four states where it’s recreationally legal —“weed weddings” have gone from a fun idea to a lucrative reality. Through sites like Cannabride.com and LoveandMarij.com ganja-loving bridges and grooms can find everything from 420-focused caterers to kush-pushing florists.
The most recent event to generate buzz is that of a couple in Portland, Oregon, who opted to serve marijuana instead of alcohol at their wedding. Whitney Alexander and John Elledge’s “weed tent” featured 13 varieties of cannabis, chic white couches, a budtender, and free transportation following the event. Alexander, whose new husband is a longtime medical marijuana employee, says they went to great lengths to ensure the safety of their guests.
"The tent was set well away from the rest of the reception, and facing away from the crowd to control where the smoke went," the bride told The Huffington Post. "There were actually guests that had no idea it was there until after the fact." According to the state’s Measure 91, which legalized marijuana in November of last year, serving marijuana is only legal where alcohol isn’t being served.
The couple, who don’t consume alcohol or marijuana, were happy to surrender booze for bud. The guests, it seems, were too. Elledge said he was “shocked” by how much of a hit the “cannabar” was—it even attracted an 81-year-old who hadn’t smoke since the 1960s. “I’m still getting a couple of texts a day from guests who enjoyed the weed tent,” he said.
While undoubtedly the most famous weed-themed wedding thus far, Alexander and Elledge’s wasn’t the first. A Colorado-based weed wedding and event guide company called Love and Marij has successfully carried out three weed-themed weddings in the past three months—one of which also featured a cannabar.
The first was on May 30 with a couple in Colorado, Maria and Eric, who were more interested in a cannabis aesthetic for their ceremony than actual bar. The two aimed to achieve what Love and Marij called a “refined and sophisticated wedding,” that would “[blow away] the common perceptions associated with cannabis use.”
They may have done just that. Immaculate photos of the fresh-faced couples are, at first, seemingly representative of a typical outdoor wedding. Upon closer look, they paint the picture of a subtle cannabis-infused ceremony more focused on the flower itself then the high it produces. Among the features: an eco hemp and silk wedding dress, a bud-infused bouquet and boutonniere, cannabis leaf pizzelles, and silver vape pens. The venue, a cannabis-friendly bed and breakfast, didn’t allow actually smoking on the premises. (Allegedly.)
A month before the now-famous Oregon weed bar, a San Francisco-based couple named Jenny and Ryan opted for a full-service weed bar at a private 420-friendly ranch in Colorado. To ensure their guests could smoke or vape freely and feel comfortable enough to relax afterwards, the couple brought a colorful “giant dome” they call “the shady waffle” all the way from SF. Filled with comfortable lounge chairs and couches, it provided a perfect way for guests to unwind.
The multi-colored shady waffle is either a work of genius or an easy target for ridicule, depending on who you ask. In photographs, it seems to combine the fun of a gym class parachute and the crunchy granola of a Portlandia wedding episode. A bluegrass band plays inside as colorfully dressed hippies appear to be dancing the jig.
The woman behind the event, Johanna Patton of Distinctive Mountain Events, admitted to being a bit skeptical when the couple called her initially. But after the success of the ceremony, she’s ready to help others find the same high. “If you don’t believe it can happen, you just haven’t been to one,” she says of weed weddings. “There wasn’t anything low end, sneaky, dirty, or ugly about the experience. It just happened. I don’t think anyone flinched.”