A first toast to the newlyweds is a time-honored wedding tradition; it’s a way to express goodwill to the new couple and join in raising a glass with the wedding party and guests. But imagine flipping the script and offering a “first toke” instead.
That’s exactly what some couples in cannabis-friendly states are doing.
Bec Koop, owner of Irie Weddings and Events, has helped host approximately 30 cannabis-friendly weddings since 2014. She started as a florist, incorporating cannabis flowers into bouquets and “budtonniers” for weddings under the name Buds and Blossoms.
At one of the weddings Koop hosted, the guests were provided with half gram joints to join in a first toke rather that a first toast.
“As soon as the bride and groom arrived, we handed them their personally requested joints and sparked them and their guest’s joints so that they could have their wedding reception started off right,” she says.
While cannabis use is becoming more socially-acceptable, Koop recommends couples who choose to throw a cannabis-friendly wedding have open discussions before the big day with any guests who might be offended by the decision.
“At that time, choosing a specific consumption area or method of consumption is key to keep it discrete if necessary,” Koop says. “The couple should also consider how to delicately handle the topic of children at their wedding. Some venues prefer not to have minors present if there is cannabis. Other venues are more accommodating, but typically request to have separate area designated for consumption where IDs are verified and kept minor-free.”
When Gary and Katie Wyman married in the national forest outside of Denver, Colorado in 2016, their wedding had many elements not typically seen at an American wedding — including dream catcher decorations and a yoga practice — but marijuana was nowhere to be found. Since the ceremony, however, cannabis has become a bigger part of their lives due to a devastating diagnosis: Just months after their wedding, Gary was diagnosed with ALS, a disease that affects the motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord, causing muscles to waste away at a rapid rate.
“My husband was diagnosed three months after our wedding with ALS — a terminal illness that leaves you completely paralyzed,” Katie says. “One thing that has really helped Gary throughout his progression has been the use of cannabis and CBD.”
Because of that special relationship with cannabis, Katie and Gary choose to celebrate their first wedding anniversary with a photo shoot at the International Church of Cannabis in Denver.
“We had more of a traditional wedding a year prior, so this was a fun way to change it up and do something fun and unique,” Katie says.
The International Church of Cannabis has been open for about a year. Members of the church are known as Elevationists and bring cannabis into their practice within the space during Friday evening services.
Co-founder Lee Molloy says the church actively welcomes members of all religions.
“Through the cannabis rite, all ways are revealed as pathways to the same eternal questions,” Molloy says. “Our life stance is that an individual’s spiritual journey and search for meaning is one of self-discovery that can be accelerated and deepened with ritual cannabis use.”
Molloy adds that those who might think the church is nothing more than an excuse to smoke cannabis deeply misunderstand the state of Colorado’s adult use law.
“This is Denver — we can all legally consume cannabis here already,” he says. “No, all we are doing is claiming our constitutional right to freely practice our religion. And, as importantly, we are giving beautiful, loving couples a chapel in which they may celebrate their love and partake of the cannabis sacrament in peace.”
And how does the church navigate through Colorado’s Clean Indoor Air Act, which explicitly bans activities such as smoking cannabis inside?
“Carefully,” he says.
Interested in hosting your own cannabis-friendly nuptials? Here are six tips to help make sure everything goes off without a hitch:
Incorporate Cannabis in Tasteful Ways
There are many ways to bring buds into your wedding day, ranging from subtle to superstar smoker status. Those afraid of offending wedding guests can take the safe route and give out hemp lip balms as party favors or wear hemp silk wedding dresses and suits. Those who aren’t afraid to take the plunge and declare their undying devotion to the world’s favorite flower can leave joints on the tables for guests or incorporate cannabis buds into their bridal bouquet.
Make Sure Guests Don’t Get Too High
“We ensure that we have full understanding of our clients and their guests,” Koop says. “If the majority of their guests are cannabis novices, we typically suggest strains for the guests that have a lower potency than for our guests who may be more comfortable with cannabis. We also always have complimentary water stations setup so that the guests are always staying well hydrated.”
Koop also has an emergency plan that she calls her “Oh sh*t kit.”
“This kit contains various remedies to help balance the effects of overconsumption,” she says. “There are many factors that can lead to someone becoming uncomfortable, so we take the time to ensure we understand how they are feeling and help them feel comfortable again as fast as possible.”
Make it Memorable
The ways to commemorate the moment with cannabis are as wide-ranging as wedding traditions themselves. A few ways to keep remembering the special day include keeping a slice of infused cake or a bud from their bouquet for the first anniversary.
“Many couples are starting new traditions on their wedding day, like taking a first hit together before their first kiss or a first toke rather than a first kiss,” Koop says.
Find the Right Venue
Having the perfect wedding starts with finding the perfect location. In the case of a wedding that integrates cannabis, it becomes even more crucial to ensure you have a pot-friendly venue.
Koop offers some tips:
- “Always speak with the venue coordinator about their cannabis policy prior to signing the venue contract. Never lie to them!”
- “Look for venues that are on private property and privately owned.”
- “Be flexible with your cannabis preferences and see where you and the venue can meet in the middle if they are apprehensive. Some venues may not want cannabis on their property, but may allow the guests to rent a party bus and park it on their property for it to serve as a private smoking lounge for your guests.”
- “Most venues feel more comfortable if the client hires a professional budtender to help with the moderation, education and discretion.”
Wear it With Pride
There are different ways to include cannabis in a wedding beyond fabrics made from hemp silk. Koop says some options include women wearing cannabis buds in their hair or guys can wear a “budtonniers” or have “a vaporizer slyly tucked into a gentlemen’s breast pocket on the front of his suit.”
Take it Offline
Couples who don’t feel comfortable including cannabis into their ceremony can still have cannabis as a part of their special occasion by incorporating it into bachelor and bachelorette parties.
“Whether you go on a dispensary or grow tour, you can always find fun ways to explore the new cannabis industry,” Koop says. “A bachelorette or bachelor party could also be a paired dinner with your favorite strains of cannabis and your favorite foods or wine as a special dinner for your special guests, or even for your entire rehearsal dinner if you’re not comfortable having it on your wedding day. Even simply renting a fun cannabis-friendly party bus and going to a concert could serve as an amazing bachelor or bachelorette party excursion.”
TELL US, would you incorporate cannabis in your wedding?