With the average price of an American wedding now coming in at $31,213, it's no surprise that some couples are looking to cut costs. Wedding favors? Don't need 'em! Flowers? Plastic is fine! DJ? My best friend from high school's boyfriend will do!
However, there's one expense that many brides and grooms-to-be are willing to spend an arm and a leg on: booze. After all, how many of us want to sit through a wedding without getting a little fucked up first — even if it's our own?
Unfortunately, alcohol doesn't flow from trees (damn you, useless trees!) but there is a natural alternative that some couples are seriously considering: cannabis. Not only is it all-natural, but it's also cheaper: According to weed wedding experts Mic spoke with, serving pot at your wedding can cost a lot less than serving alcohol (like, $5,250 less).
At the first-ever cannabis wedding expo in Denver, Colorado, on Sunday, Mic spoke with two different wedding planners who explained that serving cannabis on your big day could save you a buttload of cash. We did the math and quickly found out they were right. And isn't saving money on your big day what every bride and groom wants? You know, aside from that whole love thing.
Doing the math for a wedding with 100 guests, and skewing toward the pricier end, the total cost to get your wedding stoned AF is $350 for an ounce of quality bud. By comparison, an open alcohol bar — as calculated by Lauren Randolph, founder of My Hotel Wedding, can cost anywhere from approximately $20 to $80 per person depending on what you're serving and where you're serving it.
Using the formula Randolph recommends — seven drinks per guest at $8 per drink — serving booze at an open bar wedding can cost about $56 dollars per person in bar consumption alone, rounding out to a $5,600 total for the wedding's alcohol. That makes the savings of a wedding with quality bud vs. a wedding with cheap booze about $5250, or the approximate cost of a used Fiat.
Ebs Waldmann, a wedding planner with Distinctive Mountain Events who is just getting into the cannabis nuptials business, told Mic that an open cannabis bar is much cheaper than an open alcohol bar, in part because marijuana is so much stronger than alcohol in smaller quantities. "When people begin to drink, they continue to drink, and drink, and drink," she said. "When you smoke, it's much easier to smoke with intention. Especially if you have a budtender."
Budtender services can include helping to source strains, providing smoking devices, recommending edibles, and serving weed. They're also great for ensuring overeager guests don't go bonkers on some pot brownies. "They can tell your guests, 'Here's one serving. You can't come get another piece for an hour and a half,'" explained Waldmann.
She added that a cannabis high lasts longer and is easier to control than intoxication from alcohol. "You try a little bit of this, a little bit of that," she said. "You've got a bong or different methods of smoking, you know it's going to last a lot longer. When it comes to edibles, you can eat just a tiny little piece and you're good for hours."
Sal Albert, a wedding planner for all the cannabis-friendly weddings at Bella Vista Estates, told Mic that although she's only been involved in one such nuptial so far, she already has three weddings in the works for February, and predicts an upswing in the future — largely because stoned wedding guests are generally more friendly and chill than drunk ones.
"Your wedding party [is] more fun to be around because they're not breaking things," Albert said.
Albert also added that a little weed at a wedding goes quite a long way. "An average wedding is 80 to 150 people and if they're all going to get as stoned as they possibly could, it's still an ounce," she said. "Maybe half an ounce. That's like $100. Cannabis is not that expensive anymore. We are dealing with an industry that is flooded with amazing products. Competitive prices means competitive quality."
Andrew Mieure, who recently launched his company Top Shelf Budtending, echoed the wedding planners when it comes to price. As he told Mic, his standard budtending package is $250 and includes a consultation, budtender and full bud bar with rolled cones and glass accessories. (If you just want a budtender to provide a la carte options, you can procure their services for a reasonable $25 per hour, which is about on par with the average cost of a bartender for most alcohol open bar weddings.)
So if you're planning a wedding this year and trying to cut corners on costs, a cannabis wedding might provide a good alternative (provided you abide by the marijuana laws in your state and your friends and family are down with that sensimilla as well, of course). And if you've already gotten married with an open alcohol bar, as Albert wisely pointed out, "You can always renew your vows in Colorado!"