By Marisa DeZara
Replace the stench of stale whiskey breath with the aroma of marijuana smoke from a “weed tent” and you have John Elledge and Whitney Alexander’s wedding reception. On August 8, 2015, in West Linn, Oregon, these newlyweds hired a budtender to distribute marijuana to their guests in an “open bar” style. The budtender had 13 different strains of marijuana from which the guests could choose.
The groom, who works as a marijuana cultivator in California, deemed marijuana more appropriate than alcohol for his wedding. “The oldest person in the tent was an 81-year-old woman who hadn’t smoked weed since the ‘60s. She loved it,” Elledge said.
“My fiance, John, has been in the medical marijuana industry in Oregon for years,” Alexander told The Huffington Post. “We were happy to give our guests, especially the ones from out of town, a unique experience.”
Under Oregon’s Measure 91 and according to Mark Pettinger of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, having a marijuana tent is entirely legal—as long as the tent is located “on private property where no liquor license is involved.”
The couple ensured that all guests were comfortable by positioning the tent away from the reception, so as not to bother people with secondhand smoke. As non-traditional as a marijuana bar may seem, guests found it to be quite enjoyable. “There were actually guests that had no idea it was there until after the fact,” Alexander said.
Nora Sheils and Elizabeth Corr, wedding planners at Bridal Bliss, told HuffPost Weddings that guests continued to dance the night away, like any other wedding. Not to mention that the wedding cake probably seemed much more indulgent after a couple puffs of weed.
What is the likelihood of the “weed bar” trend growing? Judging from the success of John and Whitney’s reception, it is very likely that budtenders will begin to have gigs outside of the pot shop environment. Marijuana consumption is emerging as a commonplace behavior, and this wedding reception is a clear example of it.
Denver-based wedding planner and florist, Bec Koop, has also made strides to normalize marijuana in marriage ceremonies. Her business, Cannabis Concierge, incorporates marijuana flowers within a traditional bouquet, creating an aesthetically unique arrangement, but it wasn’t easy in the beginning. “When I first started calling wedding venues, they would hang up on me,” Koop told MJINews. Now, her business has evolved. “It’s crazy to think where I was even three years ago,” Koop added.
The marijuana industry encourages people to think creatively when it comes to starting a business. Industry crossover is a huge opportunity, as seen with the convergence of the wedding and marijuana industries. A great idea and a little entrepreneurial spirit goes a long way in the marijuana marketplace.