A New Breed of Entrepreneurs are Creating the Perfect, Cannabis-Themed Wedding
Wedding season is approaching, if not already here. And in cannabis-friendly states, a growing number of people are tying the knot with ceremonies and/or receptions that have incorporated marijuana into their celebrations.
“I think it’s definitely becoming more normalized and the stigmas are starting to drop off,” says Bec Koop, co-founder of Denver-based Irie Weddings and Events.
Koop is one of the cannabis industry entrepreneurs who have combined their career paths with legal marijuana and have created a profitable niche for their work.
She began working in the mainstream wedding industry in 2011 but branched out into cannabis wedding and event planning in 2014, soon after Colorado legalized recreational, adult-use.
Her original “cannabis concierge” service was later re-branded, and has since taken off. Koop and her partner Madlyne Kelly did 12 cannabis-themed weddings last year and have a dozen more booked for this summer; including a 300-plus person wedding where the couple “wants it totally cannabis-friendly.” And more weddings have already been booked with their company, up through to 2020.
A big part of this industry, Koop tells Blunt Network, involves educating event guests about cannabis: what it is, the different types of strains and how to consume it in moderation.
And that education, she says, has helped to make the idea of a marijuana-themed wedding more acceptable – even to customers who might have considered it too exotic just several years ago.
“The big educational push, that piece of it, is helping to break those barriers,” she notes. “And truly cannabis has always been a common denominator among all demographics and social economic statuses.”
Koop says there’s an even split among her clientele between Coloradans who enjoy a cannabis lifestyle and people from other states where recreational marijuana use remains illegal.
“I think in Colorado, in particular with people who work in the (cannabis) industry, it’s very culturally acceptable and people are very happy to incorporate it, as they do incorporate it in their everyday lives,” she says.
“But we have a lot of folks who come from out of state, who are doing a destination wedding, and it’s kind of the ‘When in Rome’ situation. So the opportunity is here for people to enjoy cannabis on their big day.”
And that enjoyment can be done tastefully at a cannabis wedding – with “budtenders” at a separate cannabis bar advising reception guests on what to imbibe and how.
Clients, Koop says, have to purchase legal marijuana themselves for their events.
The cannabis is then incorporated into the festivities in a variety of ways, including smokables and edible cannabis. There is also a growing market for wedding floral decorations that feature cannabis buds among the other flowers.
“With our business we do the bud bar setup, the floral arrangements, the day-of coordination, the wedding planning,” she says. “We can even help you find a honeymoon destination. But bud bar services are the hottest trend in the cannabis wedding world now.”
Koop says it’s only in the past year or so that business has become this brisk, as people consider cannabis as they would alcoholic beverages at their weddings and other events. In the past, just like in the traditional wedding industry, she’s had to deal with a lot of competition and rivalries. She’s also had to deal with simple push-back to the concept of a cannabis wedding.
“In the beginning I got high-fives and hugs, but then I had a woman tell me to get out of her F-ing booth, and she did not say it that nicely, at a wedding expo,” she remembers. “And there were a lot of people like, ‘no, we will not work with you.’ And now we have people that want to get on our vendor lists.”
As interest in cannabis-themed weddings and other events grows, Koop advises would-entrepreneurs to stay open to new opportunities and new connections — and to be prepared to pay their dues as they start out.
“Do your homework: talk to a lawyer, pay for a consultant who really knows what they’re doing,” she adds. “And study up on the laws and make sure you’re ahead of the game. There’s a lot of gray area and you need to know, (so) that you’re always protected. So make sure that you’re doing things for the better good and not just for yourself.”