The Wedding-Industrial Complex Has a New Moneymaker: Marijuana

The Wedding-Industrial Complex Has a New Moneymaker: Marijuana

From bud bouquets to cannabis open bars, legal weed is now a part of weddings.

 You may now toke with the bride.

The legalization of recreational marijuana in a handful of states opened the doors to all sorts of cannabis-laden commerce, from dinner service to vacation packages. It was inevitable that weddings, among the most expensive purchase an adult will ever make, would find a way to introduce weed into nuptials, receptions, and party favors.

Specialists have launched entire businesses to meet this new wedding-weed demand. In Colorado, where recreational marijuana has been legally sold since 2014, Bec Koop operates cannabis-friendly Irie Wedding & Events and is one of the founders of the Cannabis Wedding Expo, an event where brides and grooms can meet marijuana vendors. Koop offers a litany of wedding services: day-of coordination, overall planning, floral arrangements, cannabis open bars. She also offers consulting services for venues looking to bring in cannabis-inclusive events.

Prior to the legalization of marijuana, Koop worked in hospitality, including conventional catering and florals. Now her offerings range from the full-service $3,000 O.G. Kush plan—everything from day-off coordination to vendor bookings—to a scaled-back $420 elopement plan in which Irie finds the officiant, books a photographer, and makes a dinner reservation for the couple.  A marijuana-knowledgeable wedding coordinator, called a Best Bud, costs between $50 and $100 an hour for day-of-event help. 

Koop did five weddings in her first full year in business, then about twice as many in her second year. Now she expects she will have booked nearly two dozen by the end of 2017. “We have people who are already outreaching to us for 2020,” she says. “A lot of foresight coming from these so-called lazy stoners.”

The early days of legal marijuana proved difficult, Koop says, since only 10 percent of venues would even consider cannabis-related weddings. Now she says nearly a third will accommodate pot, and locations regularly call Koop to be placed on her preferred vendors list. 

Serving marijuana at a wedding reception isn’t altogether different from offering alcoholic drinks. “It’s actually cheaper than liquor,” says Adrian Sedlin, chief executive officer of Canndescent, a California grower that has put on bud bars for weddings. “There’s a lot more buzz for the buck in cannabis than in alcohol.” For a 100-person wedding, Cultivating Spirits offers a bud bar for $300 for a minimum of two hours, with an additional $100 per hour beyond that. A typical bud bar might include prerolled joints, vaporizers, and glass pipes. Some couples choose to add bongs, edibles, and cannabis cocktails to the mix.

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