photographer: Callaway Gable | planner: David Pressman Events | décor: Lilla Bello | venue: The Houdini Estate
The Best of | Los Angeles | Weddings

This Fairytale Wedding Twisted Tradition with Cannabis-Studded Florals, Custom Velvet Sneakers, & Vodka That Transformed Into Gin

Once Upon a Time in Las Vegas

Every love story has a beginning. For Sarah and Brent, it began almost 13 years ago in Las Vegas — a fantastical city built on glamour and imagination. It didn’t take long for the two to develop a strong connection. Sarah, a successful Las Vegas business woman known as “the Sorceress,” possessed a unique ability to help friends find insight into their true beings. As the owner of Coterie, the clothing boutique at the center of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s “Downtown Project,” she knew Brent was destined for big things. She gave Brent the initial seed money to start his career as a cannabis entrepreneur. With the help of his brother Barry, Brent formed Tradecraft Farms, a family-owned cultivator and purveyor of cannabis and cannabis products.

For the next 12 years, Brent’s cannabis-based business continued to grow throughout Oklahoma, Los Angeles, and Vista, California — with products sold nationwide via retailers. At the same time, the two fell deeper and deeper in love. In addition to having two beautiful children with Sarah (and another on the way), Brent has long been a father to Sarah’s son from her first marriage. While pregnant with Ivy, the couple decided it was finally time to tie the knot. Having already once walked down the aisle, Sarah knew that she wanted a wedding that portrayed the magic of her life with Brent. With a focus on throwing a great party (with a wedding ceremony thrown into the mix), they began to plan their wedding day.

Cannabis Wedding at The Houdini Estate in Los Angeles, CA
photographer: Callaway Gable

A Vision is Born

From the beginning, Sarah knew that she wanted to host her wedding at The Houdini Estate in Laurel Canyon — she had visited the venue early in her pregnancy with Ivy and booked it on the spot. She envisioned something “magical and unexpected.” Eschewing traditional summer-wedding color palettes and décor, Sarah imagined a scene that was both theatrical and sumptuous. With a vision forming in her mind, she knew it was time to find her wedding planner.

Bespoke wedding planner David Pressman of David Pressman Events received a message on his website from Sarah. She explained how she hoped “to create an evening of magic under a full moon” and make her guests “feel that they stepped into another realm.” The planner and bride-to-be met, and after four hours of talking and developing a close bond, Sarah knew that David could transform her dreams into reality.

By the time they met with Wanda Wen of Soolip to decide on Save-the-Dates, Sarah and David had decided on the “look” of the celebration. As David shares, that meant “a deep, moody color palette with unexpected floral specimens.” Dried flowers and cornucopias of fresh fruits would go hand-in-hand with natural mosses, hanging vines, and green amaranthus.

The Not-So-Secret Ingredient

They also knew that the wedding celebration would pay homage to the thriving cannabis market across California — with floral designs and consumable products grown at Tradecraft Farms. To safely incorporate cannabis into the celebration, David understood that communication with guests had to start from the very beginning. For Sarah and Brent, that began with their save-the-date cards and invitation suites.

Beige envelopes made from Kraft paper evoked the dime bags of the 70s, while maple leaves gave a subtle nod to cannabis leaves. Other beautiful details included custom wax seals (with an elegant horse imprint) and velvet-wrapped metal cards — a foreshadowing of the animal motifs and velvet Curry-colored linen with gold-silk Shantung napkins by La Tavola Fine Linen that would be featured throughout the wedding reception.

Cannabis Wedding at The Houdini Estate in Los Angeles, CA
photographer: Callaway Gable

Perfectly-Hued Cannabis Florals

While most people think of Cannabis as a product, it is also a lavish plant — beautiful in its own right. David found subtle ways to incorporate cannabis into the wedding décor, starting with bouquets and boutonnieres that featured a mix of cannabis flowers and buds in a hue grown specifically for the celebration. Sarah chose a particular strain to produce the desired color palette. Sarah also showed David how to trim the flowers and remove the stalks from each plant. A few days before the wedding, David met with the grower to gather fresh cannabis plants from Tradecraft Farms and deliver them straight to the florist — eschewing the need for any refrigeration that would affect the fragrance.

In addition to the beautiful floral arrangements featured throughout the ceremony and dinner reception, Owner of Lilla Bello Toby Kassoy also designed bouquet and boutonnieres that fused cannabis with traditional blooms. The toss bouquet showcased dried cannabis and dried roses, creating a combination of soft and moody tones. Brent’s boutonniere — switched mid-day for freshness — boasted black Scabiosa buds, seeded eucalyptus, and rubicon spray rose bud.

A Kid-Friendly Celebration

When it came to integrating consumable cannabis products into the celebration, David used the same degree of sensitivity that he uses for tackling any wedding matter. “A lack of clear, unambiguous communication with guests,” he says, “can turn any wedding celebration into a disaster — with or without cannabis products.” From the beginning, Sarah and David decided to “kid-proof” the celebration by not mixing cannabis with any other food items. David shares, “That meant cake or anything that might catch the eye of a child who would have no reason not to eat something that looked tasty.”

Cannabis Wedding at The Houdini Estate in Los Angeles, CA
photographer: Callaway Gable

A Magical Concoction

To create the cocktail menu, David reached out to CEO and Chief Liquidizer Claudine Kielson of Scarlette Bartending, home to Laboratory by Scarlette. In the end, Sarah chose to feature a specialty “Apple Bong Sour” cocktail, as well as a full-spectrum of CBD-infused tinctures. Guests also had the option of indulging in THC elixirs, crafted from Tradecraft Farm products — as well as visiting an experiential station that transformed vodka into gin with the help of Japanese coffee siphons. Cannabis herbs and a CBD-infused “Butterfly Pea Pod Tea Tincture” were available upon request.

Bartending station vodka transformed into gin and with cannabis infusions.
photographer: Callaway Gable

Thoughtful Planning & an Imaginative Dining Experience

As guests arrived at The Houdini Estate for a pre-ceremony cocktail hour, with tray-passed hors d’oeuvres and custom cocktails, Fifth Avenue Gospel Choir performed against a backdrop of luxuriant summer foliage. Staff made sure that no one was given an infused drink without their knowledge and that all finished cocktail glasses were immediately cleared. This vigilance continued with the post-ceremony cocktail hour and sit-down dinner crafted by Jennifer Naylor Catering and Special Events and inspired by the fantastical dining scene in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”

The Clock Strikes Midnight

As soon as dinner ended, guests received a take-away gift of 2oz infusion gift bottles called “The Last Word” — with custom-designed labels signed by Sarah and Brent. Guests were then whisked away in Uber SUVs to Kimpton La Peer Hotel for a rooftop dance party. Midnight approached, and the fairytale continued with an adult-only afterparty in the Courtyard Bar until 2AM, where guests had the option of enjoying stick.e.vape pens in a designated vape-friendly smoking area. 

Cannabis Wedding at The Houdini Estate in Los Angeles, CA
photographer: Callaway Gable

A Planner With a Few Surprises

Of course, as David reminds us, “Whether it’s a cannabis wedding or not, it’s the personalized details and thoughtful planning that distinguish a bespoke celebration.” For David, that meant going the extra mile from the moment that he began planning the wedding. David’s intuition and knack for understanding his clients means he was able to find the perfect event partners for Sarah and Brent on the first try.

Knowing that a motif of horses and snakes would be present throughout the celebration, David began collecting on-theme napkin rings — then secretly ordered uniform rings from China as a surprise for Sarah. Additionally, he surprised Sarah by having the Fifth Avenue Gospel Choir learn a beloved song for her recessional. Other special details included finding the perfect pair of new Varvatos suede boots from David’s own closet and having custom-velvet sneakers with embroidered monograms designed for Brent and his two brothers. As David confides, “Now, more than ever, it’s important to have fun with people.”

Custom embroidered velvet sneakers for cannabis wedding.
photographer: Callaway Gable

Keep reading for more more detail on the fun and creative elements from Sarah and Brent’s beautiful cannabis wedding, as planned by David Pressman Events. 

Sarah wears a beautiful Magnolia gown by Galia Lahav, shoes by Christian Loubtoutin, along with “The Pale Empress” — a double crown with a matching “Gold Birdcage” veil by Viktoria Novak.

Material from Sarah’s customized gown was transformed into a chic dress for daughter Ivy — while sons Jack and Noah wore whimsical floral-print suits.

photographer: Callaway Gable

All three brothers sport tuxedos from the John Varvatos Collection, while Brent dons a stylish bowtie from Turnbull & Asser in London.

Prior to the ceremony, Sarah enjoys a few moments with officiant and dear friend Charles Ressler, along with her bridesmaids who are artfully decked out in Galia Lahav and Ralph Lauren. 

Brent and Sarah exchange vows in the presence of their friends and family against a backdrop of lush roses and verdant foliage.

Cannabis Wedding at The Houdini Estate in Los Angeles, CA
photographer: Callaway Gable

Guests enjoy a sumptuous sit-down dinner at The Houdini Estate, complete with luxe golden linen and elegant furnishings by Town & Country Rentals.

In addition to a stylish free-form cake designed by The Butter End Cakery (with the help of Brett), guests enjoy a molten-chocolate dessert.

The happy couple says goodnight to their children before heading to a vibrant afterparty at Kimpton La Peer Hotel.

All images used in this feature were captured by the photography team at Callaway Gable.