On Saturday at a Studio City event center, wedding vendor Doreen Sullivan cheerfully greeted brides-to-be as they stopped by her booth to peruse the chic, one-of-a-kind vintage vases she sells under the moniker My Bud Vase. With the right floral accompaniment, the delicate vessels—which come in colors from understated pastel pink to bold iridescent purple—make ideal centerpieces for rehearsal dinners or receptions, but still Sullivan says, “I didn’t realize they would register so strongly with weddings.” That’s because Sullivan’s vases have been retrofitted to double as bongs. “I’m so elated to be able to network and create products for the cannabis space,” she adds.
More than 300 people in the throes of planning their respective special days attended L.A.’s first ever Cannabis Wedding Expo on March 3 at the Sportsmen’s Lodge. Capitalizing on the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in California, the expo caters to couples who want to host weddings that are 4:20 friendly. “You can come here and truly plan your entire wedding, from bachelorette party to clean up,” explains expo co-founder Philip Wolf. “There are so many different aspects, so we like to have a wide variety of traditional wedding services, specialty cannabis services, and specialty cannabis products on display.”
Wolf and his fellow co-founders—Bec Koop and Madlyne Kelly—launched the Cannabis Wedding Expo in Denver, Colorado, in 2016, and hosted a follow-up event in San Francisco in 2017. Wolf’s work has included growing marijuana, opening dispensaries, and, in 2014, founding Colorado’s first public cannabis dining experience, Cultivating Spirits, which hosts cannabis pairing dinners and cannabis tours. Koop started a wedding floral design business in 2011, and in 2013 he launched the cannabis-specific bouquet company, Buds and Blossoms.
Wolf and Koop met during Cultivating Spirits’ first food, wine, and cannabis tour in 2014. As entrepreneurs in a budding industry (pun intended), both Wolf and Koop saw an opportunity to bring their businesses into weddings, but both had a hard time getting their canna-businesses into traditional weddings and wedding shows. “We knew that this was going to be a trend,” says Wolf. “We were like, ‘Screw them, let’s start our own show!’”
Wolf adds, “We feel like we were leading the way with the trend and the first to be putting it out there.”
Although there was a no smoking and vaping policy on the premises, vendors at L.A.’s Cannabis Wedding Expo displayed their marijuana-centric products and services, excitedly explaining to expo-goers their ability to incorporate cannabis into their events. Every detail was covered, from bachelor and bachelorette party favors, sex coaching, weed-infused cocktails, budtender and vape bars, catering with infused food and dinner pairings, floral design, hemp clothing and accessories, gift bags, makeup, bath products, transportation, accommodations, photographers, officiating, and live entertainment. Attendees got to touch, taste, and sample products from each of the 41 vendors while live music filled the ballroom.
There were also several vendors who offer both specialty cannabis services and traditional wedding services. Sharibella Events is a full-service event production and PR company that handles just about everything you can think of. The Flower Daddy offers floral design for cannabis and traditional weddings. The Natural Mixologist, a custom-crafted, health conscious cocktail company that plans wedding favors and menus for showers, and bachelor and bachelorette parties, was onsite with samples of its delicious smoke-infused beverages. Even some completely traditional wedding vendors like David’s Bridal, Coral Cove Resort, and Five Star Tours showed up. Non-cannabis but not-so-traditional vendors like Ms. Mae, whose tagline is “Every Fuck Begins With Mae,” were also in attendance. Ms. Mae helps plan “pleasure parties” and lingerie soirees for bachelorettes.
“There are so many different ways to incorporate cannabis into your special day, and we’re gonna see those trends start today and grow from here,” Wolf says. “Cannabis is going to be part of events to the point where it’s so subtle, it’s not a thing anymore. We’re at the ground floor of what this is gonna be.”