Thanks to the steady increase of states with legal recreational cannabis, some newly-married couples have opted to incorporate a little green into their wedding day festivities. Cannabis bars are becoming a growing trend at weddings being held in legal states like Washington, Colorado, and Oregon; in fact, an Oregon couple recently pulled off hosting a cannabis bar as part of their big day.
I chatted with Elizabeth Corr and Nora Sheils of Bridal Bliss, an event planning service that caters to Portland and Seattle-area festivities, to get the details of how they were able to accommodate their clients’ request for a cannabis bar at the couple’s lovely summer wedding in the woods (photos courtesy of Jessica Hill Photography).
How long have you been working in the wedding industry as an event planner?
Bridal Bliss is currently in its 13th year of business. After graduating from Gonzaga University and working several years in the bridal industry, Nora decided it was time to take her expertise to the next level. Bridal Bliss opened its doors for business in 2002. Elizabeth graduated from the University of Portland and decided to dive in head-first, joining the Bridal Bliss team in 2009.
When and where was this wedding?
The wedding date was August 8, 2015, on a private property in West Linn, Oregon. The couple was absolutely amazing. We were lucky enough that the bride wanted to get married at her childhood home — the venue could not have been more picture perfect for the wedding day.
How was the event structured?
The ceremony was held in the backyard that overlooked a beautiful pond, and the reception was held down the road in a big open field next to an old Christmas tree farm. We designed the field with a large tent full of tall colorful flowers, natural linens, cafe-style chairs, and large green garlands strung across the top of the tent.
After dinner and toasts, guests were invited into the woods, which had a large natural opening. With a little bit of pruning and cutting back some branches, we were able to have this area decorated with cafe lights, lounge furniture, and a dance floor. The party was rocking until the wee hours of the morning!
Was this your first “weed bar” request?
Yes, this was a first for Bridal Bliss. We were thrilled at the opportunity as we knew that it would also be a (legal) first for Oregon. We love working with couples who are creative and have unique ideas for their weddings!
Was the “weed bar” a “joint” request (sorry for the pun) from both the bride and the groom, or was one more into the idea than the other?
The groom is a master grower in California. When Oregon legalized the recreational use of cannabis, it was a no-brainer for the couple. While both the bride and groom wanted to treat their guests to a true Oregon wedding, the groom was more hands-on with the actual offerings and tent setup. He loved picking out different cannabis strains and hand-blown pipes for the tent.
What did it take to set everything up? How did you end up pulling it off?
It was very smooth. The groom supplied us with different varieties of cannabis and pipes. He had a general idea of how he wanted the tent to look but left it up to our team on the actual day to beautify the tent. We also arranged for water and snacks to be continuously supplied throughout the night from the catering company. One of the best decisions the groom made was to hire a budtender from Nectar. The budtender (like any bartender) oversaw the distribution of product and made sure guests were being safe.
How did the “weed bar” play into the rest of the wedding thematically?
The weed tent was set up in a different location from the reception tent and was marked by a sign with a simple green cross. It was not the center of the reception; rather, it was just another activity the bride and groom were hosting.
Was there also alcohol offered, or just cannabis?
Yes, there was alcohol being served at the bar inside the main reception tent. The bar offered beer, wine, and a limited selection of liquor.
Was transportation secured or were guests responsible for their own transport?
Yes, absolutely! Transportation was provided for all guests who wanted it.
Were there any negative remarks from guests or family members regarding the “weed bar,” or was it an overall success?
We considered it a huge success when we heard from a guest afterwards that they didn’t even know the weed tent was at the wedding. The bride and groom did not want it to be a focal point, but rather something that guests could enjoy if desired. It was discrete but not hidden, which made all guests at the wedding feel welcomed, even if they did not want to smoke.
Would you plan another “weed bar” concept for a wedding or event?
Of course! We love working with clients who want to offer a unique experience for guests.
What did you learn from this experience that you can apply towards future events?
We learned that while it is legal in Oregon, there are still laws that we had to make sure to follow. By being safe and following the laws, we were able to sit back and know that guests could enjoy this unique experience.
Would you host a cannabis bar at your wedding or next function? If so, which strains and products would you offer?