PROSPECTING

’Til Death Do Us Pot

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY LEIGHLANI WIGLITTON
If you’re saying ‘High do,’ cannabis-friendly wedding planners know just how to get the cake perfectly baked.

Never mind old, new, borrowed and blue. The big new consideration for some California weddings is infused or not-infused.

After all, with marijuana now legal in California, a bride and groom who are being joint in holy matrimony wouldn’t want their wedding guests to unintentionally stagger home stoned. So wedding planners can now specify just what sort of edible-marijuana goodies will be available to guests.

“We always do half infused and half not-infused,” says Chris Sayegh, who runs a Los Angeles-based catering business called The Herbal Chef. “And we always do low dosage. You don’t want to force anyone into an experience they’re not ready for or don’t want to have.”

Welcome to the brave new world of cannabis weddings — call them “weedings.” Yep, that’s a thing in the brave new world of legalized marijuana. The state’s legalization of recreational reefer has opened the doors for an avalanche of new business opportunities — including, of course, the high-priced world of weddings. Just about every component of a traditional wedding can now be modified to include a nod to marijuana, and an enthusiastic cadre of vendors and event planners is eager to assist with every dope detail.

“It’s going to become commonplace with weddings,” Sayegh says of cannabis-themed nuptials. “I think this is going to be an excellent industry to be in.”

Sayegh has already catered several weedings, some taking advantage of local laws before full-state legalization at the beginning of this year. He infuses carefully dosed cannabis into his dishes and, yes, because of the time and research that goes into properly dosing high-end cannabis cuisine, his catering runs “slightly more” than a comparable chef.

Other states that have previously legalized marijuana, like Colorado and Washington, have already seen their share of cannabis-themed weddings. Becca Stamey hired Irie Weddings and Events to lovingly tend the bud bar at her Colorado wedding this past August. Stamey and her husband, avid medical marijuana users, headed to their local dispensary and selected three strains of carefully curated cannabis, which they turned over to the team from Irie. “My husband and I put a lot of thought into what kind of high we wanted guests to experience,” she says.

The bud bar, complete with apothecary jars full of pot and live joint-rolling demonstrations, was a hit — especially with curious out-of-town guests. “We had some people who were a little taken aback by it, but everyone really embraced it,” Stamey says. “It was amazing. People are still talking about it.”

Professional wedding planner Ivy Gaitatzis, the owner of San Francisco’s Voulez Events, caught on early that cannabis weddings were going to be a trend.  “I’d been getting requests from to-be-weds and clients, you know? ‘How do we do this? How do we incorporate cannabis into our weddings?’” Gaitatzis recalls.

She immediately began researching the laws and legislation around California cannabis use. “You need a wedding planner that’s going to understand how to comply with the laws of the city and the county that the venue is located in,” Gaitatzis says. For example, “San Francisco is easiest.”

She’s now the San Francisco coordinator of the multi-city Cannabis Wedding Expo, a full-fledged industry event featuring dozens of vendors, budtenders, cannabis-infused samples and the hallmark of any wedding expo: the gift bag, no doubt a significant upgrade from the old nickel bag.

Colorado-based companies with names like “Love and Marij” are capitalizing on the trend, and some marijuana dispensaries offer gift registries. But California planners aim to catch up quickly. 

“We’re all kind of making this up as it goes,” Gaitatzis said, “and my primary priority is making sure that when it comes to cannabis in the wedding industry, it’s of the highest standard — pun intended.”

Keep reading: After spending nearly 50 years as a stoner hero and advocate of marijuana use, Tommy Chong finally finds himself on the right side of the law.