Cannabis Wedding Expo LA

By Khara Pechtes

Khara is the LA Rep for Bloomfield and massage therapist at Therapeutic Synergy for women. Catch her in action at Ganja Goddess Getaway teaching yoga on Sunday morning.

IG: @khpeaches

I woke up to a gray and rainy morning in Venice getting ready to make the journey over the hill to the 1st Cannabis Wedding Expo held here in LA. I never imagined I would attend something like this, mostly because it wasn’t offered in the past. Now that cannabis is recreationally legal in California as of January 1st, 2018 this has definitely inspired many businesses to think creatively. The banquet hall held about 25 booths, a perfect size allowing for easy conversations and connections. Many cannabis events are often filled with loud music, cannabis consumption, and chatter, but today attendees showed up to this classy and sophisticated non-consumption afternoon well dressed and ready to network. It has been fascinating to see the evolution of traditional businesses taking a creative twist in a rather niche market and finding ways to incorporate cannabis into special occasions.

I was drawn to a table with several multi-tiered cake stands and vibrantly colored desserts. I spoke to Michelle Araneta of Babinka Treats, her signature mini donuts were adorable and delish! Araneta, like many other women, are embarking on this venture doing it all, the baking, the marketing, and working her own events. She invited me closer, noticing I was fixated on a purple cupcake that was easily spotted on the dessert table. The color purple comes from Ube, (pronounced OO-BAE) it’s a purple sweet potato and a personal favorite common in the Philippines and other Asian countries. Her eyes lit up and said, “You know Ube?”. You can see the playfulness she exudes through her desserts, colors you dream of and bite-sized pieces that are too easy not to eat. She caters to your individual needs by incorporating, “Nostalgic childhood favorites and making [her desserts] aesthetically pleasing.” Having cannabis infused desserts that pop with color and personality are a fun way to personalize and express your style. The edible gold heart-shaped glitter on top made it taste that much better.

As I continued to zig zag through the rows of vendors I arrived at Grassfed’s booth, which was precisely set up with their signature Vape Bar. As you can imagine it was hard to fight the urge to consume, vapes were set up, and cannabis were in jars, but only for display. They certainly drew a crowd of those who were interested in what they provide and how to incorporate their services into the next soiree. Dan Braunstein and Tomer Grassiany founders of Grassfed have created the first, and currently the only, event production company that takes a completely smoke-free approach to cannabis. They utilize a leading concentrate vaporizer brand Vape Exhale & flower companies like Bloomfield to create an un-intimidating, sophisticated, and health conscious way to enjoy all the different terpenes and flavor profiles. “Grassfed views cannabis as a way to enhance experiences, while staying active and engaged, and is paving the way for classy social cannabis consumption.”

A group of ladies were buzzing, gathered around a glittering and mirrored table showcasing one of a kind pieces by Doreen Sullivan of My Bud Vase. She launched the brand on the celebrated “420 Cannabis Holiday”, April 20th, 2016, how apropos; timing is everything. Sullivan has been an entrepreneur in her own right with 30 years of expertise as the current CEO of the advertising agency Post No Bills, she knows how to market brands like no other. Her artistic pieces come in glass, ceramic, and porcelain, a perfect solution to the sophisticated smoker, which provides a classy and alternative way to consume, helping to normalize cannabis socially. Sullivan is an advocate for changing the stigma of cannabis use and what that means to women today. “It’s one thing to talk about the medicinal purposes of cannabis…but then you see something that’s classy to use and [also functions as] home decor, both things nicely fit in with your lifestyle.” Sullivan’s pieces are so lovely you’ll want to showcase the vase on your dining room table or on a shelf in your living room, it’s an artistic expression of a different kind, ‘just add flowers.’ I can’t wait to get my hands on an Aurora, such a dreamy iridescent indigo rainbow hued vase, love! It’s a mix of ‘I Dream of Genie’ and crystal novelty decanters seen on shelves in fancy hotels. Knowing that you have options for stunning pieces of art for yourself or as a gift for your best girlfriends, I too look forward to “Laxing” as Sullivan has coined it, what more could a girl ask for?

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Decorations are a true expression of any occasion. What is the theme? What are the colors? These details add to an event with the ambiance that has been created. Camille Ochoa of Canna Reign knows all about the little details, her company offers cannabis inspired home and event decor. Ochoa’s hanging decor are made of soft tissue-like paper and are feminine, but bold in color, yet the cannabis leaf is almost unnoticed until you come in for a closer look. Cannabis leaves, and other fun patterns like pineapples and the word “Love” are some of the intricately cut out designs she has created, just what you need for your next cannabis inspired celebration. I was glad to finally meet her in person after seeing her decor at Lit Yoga. Excited to show her my website, Therapeutic Synergy, with her decor subtly visible in the background, she smiled. It’s wonderful to see how we are all connected through cannabis in a circular way.

Canna Reign’s “Little Flower” prayer/worship banner, 3.5″x5″ and 5.5 feet long when fully extended. via @cannareign .

As my afternoon was coming to an end, I found a beautiful nook of hanging flowers and greenery, totally Instagramable, with a table full of floral arrangements from Flowers on Flowers, they are California’s first and only team of Cannabis Florists based out of San Diego. I was quickly adorned for the first time with a cannabis flower crown, this one had fake cannabis nugs but looked so real. Leslie Monroy a member of the Flowers on Flowers team said, I would be, “festival ready, they’re easy to take with you anywhere, and great for any special occasion, especially a wedding”. I’ve noticed other floral companies experimenting with this idea with Valentine’s Day having just passed. A few brides walked the floor at the expo holding an elegant bridal bouquet, they were artistic and the aroma was divine. Sign me up, I’m ready for the bridal toss!

Overall, the Cannabis Wedding Expo was a fun exploration of key brands bringing new ideas to a traditional industry. I ran into other leading ladies and gentlemen and several familiar faces who came to support each other in the cannabis space here in LA. We’re just one conversation away from knowing the person that owns or runs a company you’ve following on Instagram. Or meeting a new friend who might be your plus 1 at the next event you attend. Some say LA is a too big to connect, on the contrary, I feel the cannabis industry is a close group of people who are welcoming and passionate about cannabis and aligned to help improve and normalize its’ use. Many know, it’s no easy task to stay in the game, with regulations changing what seems like daily. Hopefully, we can remain focused and continue to advocate the abundant healing effects this beautiful female plant provides, even on your special day.

Featured photo by @crazykcp