Weed-friendly planners, budtenders, designated consumption areas — cannabis consumption is no longer banished to the outskirts
When Caledon, Ont.-based musicians Witch Prophet and Sun Sun wanted to tie the knot after 10 years of dating, they couldn’t find an affordable venue.
“When we were living in Toronto, we kept trying to find venues where we could have this love party, but every time we said ‘love party,’ they’d say, ‘you mean a wedding?’” says Witch Prophet, who also goes by Ayo Leilani. “Any time a wedding was brought up, the prices were way too expensive. So we waited about four years because there was no way I was spending $50,000 on a party.”
After moving to a farm about an hour outside of the city and gaining plenty of experience helping to organize shows and music festivals, they realized they could have the wedding right there on their property. An added bonus? They could have an outdoor cannabis-consumption area under the stars to make sure their weed-smoking guests felt welcome.
“It was really just very comfortable,” she says. “A lot of my relatives said they never knew a wedding could be so relaxing.”
It’s been a little over a year since cannabis legalization, but it’s hardly a weed free-for-all in the streets or at parties. Late this past fall, popular wedding venue the Berkeley Street Church hosted Canada’s first Cannabis Wedding Expo — an opportunity for weed-friendly wedding planners and ancillary business owners to showcase their wares to weed-loving future brides and grooms. The Bud Buffet, for example, is a budtender who will help guests choose a strain or show them how to use expensive party-friendly gear like a Bello “vapor tap.”
And Rolling Greens, a golf course in Smiths Falls near Canopy Growth’s headquarters, is the only venue in Canada that welcomes weed consumers because both smoking and drinking alcohol is welcome on golf courses.
“Being a golf course, it’s the only business in Canada where you have the great outdoors, and the whole property is licensed for alcohol. And people have always been able to smoke cigars and cigarettes,” says Gordon Weiske, director of entertainment at Rolling Greens. “Now you’re able to enjoy cannabis wherever smoking is allowed. It’s the only business where you can have a liquor license and allow smoking on the same property.”
So far, the golf course hasn’t booked any weddings, although they have hosted workplace events. But it does beg the question— just how popular is cannabis consumption, and in the age of legalization, is there really a market for weed weddings?
Planner Amanda Chapman of Open Sky Weddings, who was also at the expo, says that her clients are increasingly bucking family traditions and expectations and instead highlighting their own values and interests when they tie the knot. While she hasn’t yet planned a weed-focused wedding, she is intent on reducing the stigma surrounding cannabis consumption at important events. Last year, she art directed a weed wedding-themed photoshoot to show her Instagram followers how cannabis consumption can fit in nicely at a classy affair like a wedding. But she says that when cannabis-loving couples get married, they usually incorporate bits and pieces into the event, such as low-dose edible party favours or well-labelled pre-rolls — it’s not the focus of the event.
“I find that couples want to include little bits of cannabis — setting up an outdoor consumption space, for example,” she says. “It’s about creating spaces and making it comfortable for consumption. Not everyone will be educated about cannabis, and some people might not even attend if they think there will be weed everywhere. It’s on a much smaller scale.”
But beyond a smoking area and party favours, it’s possible that the best way to accommodate cannabis consumers at a wedding is to think about a lot of the same things you should always consider anyway: delicious food and snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, beautiful things to look at, comfortable areas to take a load off, and good tunes. But if there are a lot of cannabis consumers coming to the event, you may want to prepare yourself for a different vibe than your average booze-fuelled wedding.
When they got married on August 24, Witch prophet and Sun Sun made sure their smoking section was close enough to the party so that parents could keep an eye on their kids, but far enough that they weren’t blowing smoke anywhere near them. Beyond that (and a very special, expensive joint for the happy couple), they made sure guests had plenty of delicious food to munch on as day turned to night. Instead of hiring a DJ and trying to get people dancing, they had a campfire and provided cozy places to hang out and talk under the stars.
Witch Prophet says she wasn’t expecting non-consumers to spark up, but they did.
“I had a lot of people who had never smoked weed before decide that this is the day,” she says. “They know that me and Sun Sun smoke a lot of weed — even my uncle tried it for the first time. But it was because people felt safe and comfortable.”
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Written by Kate Robertson