Marriage and marijuana: Expo for couples with 'high' expectations on their big day
Toronto's first Cannabis Wedding Expo shows couples how to incorporate weed in their wedding
There are no shortage of monikers for cannabis: weed, marijuana, herb, bud, Mary Jane.
But developer of Cannabis Wedding Expo Philip Wolf did notice a shortage in exposure for cannabis services, prompting him to create the event.
"There was a lot of young entrepreneurs [on] the hospitality and service side of cannabis, and there wasn't any way to market yourself," said Wolf, who started the Colorado-born function in 2015.
From hemp gowns, buds in bouquets and flower vases that double as bongs, the 12th edition of the Cannabis Wedding Expo made its Canadian debut in Toronto this Sunday.
With over 50 wedding experts, special cannabis vendors and bud-tenders, the event is for couples seeking an alternative way to tastefully incorporate weed in their weddings.
"People are really utilizing cannabis, not only at weddings but events overall and so they want to get inspired on ways that they can do so," said Wolf.
Wolf says he wants to normalize cannabis use at social events and show people that alcohol isn't the sole choice.
"I think we're seeing a paradigm shift with people wanting options whenever they are out ... even if someone doesn't want to drink, you see a glass of wine and half the time you'll pick it up. It's important to me for people to have options," he said.
'Bring your own bud: BYOB'
Since cannabis was legalized last October, people have looked for fun, new ways to incorporate it into their special days.
Bud-tender Clayton Armstrong and co-owner of Bud Buffet says he wants to end the negative stigma associated with cannabis.
"Gone are the days of toking in the shadows," he said, citing one of his company slogans.
Bud Buffet offers luxury smoking and vaping accessories at special events, working with event planners to make sure "everything is moderated down to the last gram."
"The best thing to do is bring your own bud: BYOB," said Armstrong.
And while bud can overshadow booze at the bar, it can do the same at the dinner table.
Jonathan Sora's company, Higher Knowledge, which conducts cannabis training sessions, says they will work with wedding bud-tenders to teach them how to pair three strains of cannabis with a three-course meal.
"[Like] how people pair wine with different food, why can't we do the same with cannabis?" said Sora.
He says there's been a lot of interest in his company so far and people have been very supportive.
Cannabis laws can be a buzzkill
While cannabis has been legal in Canada for just over a year, the laws about distribution are still a bit hazy.
Naz Neufeld, co-founder of floral design company Thyme Studio, says it's a "fine line" when it comes to adding buds to her flower arrangements.
"We would deliver [the bouquet] and then the bride would have to give us the bud ... Unfortunately, back to that fine line, where [us] putting the bud in and then giving it to her could be considered distribution," Neufeld said.
"We wouldn't want to tap into that yet until it's nice and clear," she said.
For now, people are showing interest in "weed weddings," and cannabis advocates think it's the start of something big as legalization laws progress.
"Recreationally, our guests at the wedding are interested in [cannabis] so it's something that we're considering," said bride-to-be and event attendee, Magnolia Pancorbo.
"People are going to start to be looking for this," said Wolf. "And as we continue down legalization, they'll be looking more and more to incorporate [cannabis] in different ways."
With files from Natalie Nanowski