In the week leading up to this year’s 4/20, the internet was awash with memes and stories about how anyone that got married on Saturday, April 20, 2019 would have their 50th wedding anniversary on 4/20/69. (For the uninitiated, that’s the “weed day,” plus the “sex day,” all rolled into one.)
There were a surprising variety of responses to this: some people used the numerical epiphany as motivation to stay married, one Twitter user claimed it was proof that God exists and one blazed couple even managed to get married on a super romantic Barstool Sports live stream at the Cannabis Cup, sheerly for the gag of the date. There were Reddit threads and news segments dedicated to the once-in-a-lifetime marriage moment, and for days, thousands of people jokingly perused social media for available singles who might want to take advantage of this “major opportunity.”
For our part, earlier this week, we talked to one couple — Natalie and Matt (names have been changed to protect the high and lovers of upside-down sex) — who made the inadvertent, but fateful decision to get married on such a date — in the bizarre hellscape of legal weed that is Las Vegas, no less. Little did they know, their scheduling decision would occupy as much space in the narrative of the day as the actual wedding itself.
And so, this is what it was like to get married on 4/20/2019, exactly 50 years before the most epic day of the century.
* * * * *
So there I was, drunk, grinning and totally exhilarated after my now-husband made an impromptu proposal to me last year at the bar where I worked. We’d talked about marriage and knew a night like this was coming, but still — nothing could have prepared us for the thrill of the real thing. We were youngish, in love and ready to start our lives together.
There was only one thing left to do: set a date.
We wanted to do it this past fall, but you know, money. Weddings are expensive, and we wanted to give ourselves enough time to save. Plus, moving it further out would mean more of our friends and family could come.
So we looked at a calendar and contacted the venue to see when they’d be able to host us. As we cross-referenced the times that would work best for all involved, we realized there was only one available Saturday we could get it done before the horrific heat of the Vegas summer made the outdoor wedding we were envisioning impossible.
When we saw what it was, we just looked at each other and laughed — we would be getting married on 4/20, the international day of weed and the stoniest day of the year.
To be clear, this date had no real significance for either of us — we’d have picked any available Saturday in April had it been offered to us. And though we both smoke weed, neither of us are particularly “into the culture,” nor do we think it needs its own holiday. For us, 4/20 is just a day like any other. A quick check-in with our parents confirmed they didn’t care too much, either — they were just happy we were getting married and had something on the books. After that, we snagged the venue, sent out the invites and all but forgot any of this would be on 4/20.
That is, until the jokes started to roll in.
Almost immediately, I got several texts saying things like, “Thanks for the invite to your ‘weeding!’” Someone asked if there would be any “marriage-juana” allowed at the ceremony, and our officiant — who had taken to calling herself our “priest” — wanted to know if she should be a “high priestess” or a “just a drunk one.” A friend of mine even called to say he couldn’t come, but was wished me the best of luck on my “upcoming nug-ituals.”
I thought it would end at pot puns, but nope — it got worse. Over the course of our year-long engagement, Matt and I were subjected to anywhere between 45 to 50 reminders from breathless friends and family that our 50th wedding anniversary would be on none other than — you guessed it — 4/20/69. Yep — the only thing that could have made this wedding more numerically insane is if we said our vows at 3:11 (though I don’t think amber is the color of either of our energies).
For a while, we reveled in the comedy of our wedding date. It was pretty funny. Though it had been completely unintentional, the fact that we’d scheduled our ceremony for the most epic day of the century made everything feel just a little more special than it already did (plus, we were flattered that anyone thought we’d be alive 50 years from now).
However, the rosy hue started to wear off around the time I received what seemed like the 20th reminder of exactly when my anniversary would be. I believe it went something like this: “OMG, NATALIE, you’ll NEVER guess what date your 50th wedding anniversary will be on!”
Surprise, Katie — I’ll bet you I can.
After that, a tiny part of me would die every time someone brought up the 4/20/69 thing. I loved their enthusiasm, but it was starting to feel like my wedding was becoming less of a celebration of my commitment to Matt and more of a celebration of every 13-year-old boy’s AIM password. I couldn’t help but wonder: Had I inadvertently organized a weed wedding? Did we need to splurge for extra food to handle everyone’s post-wedding munchies? More importantly, was the epic but somewhat annoying 4/20/69 angle about to subsume the bigger story of Matt and my storybook romance?
Come wedding day, the answer actually turned out to be a resounding “nah.”
No one mentioned weed on actual 4/20, nor did they bring us any ceremonious joints or celebratory wedding bongs. No one asked me why I wasn’t wearing green or jabbed me in the ribs and said, “69, huh?” To be clear, I would have been totally psyched if they had, but nope — the weed-iest thing that happened that day was when the officiant began the ceremony by thanking everyone for coming to “Natalie and Matt’s daily 4/20 celebration.” Honestly, that was kind of a relief — given all the weedy lead-up to the wedding, I thought she was going to introduce us as Cheech and Chong. (Also, because a secret, tender part of me cares about holidays, I carried around this festive pot purse all night, but that was really it.)
After the ceremony was over, I was expecting to see some joints blazing among the guests, but I barely noticed anyone smoking pot at my “weeding” (though I’m sure it was happening). In fact, though we were smack dab in the middle of the Dispensary Depot that is Las Vegas on the highest day of the year, no one seemed to care about weed any more than they do on one of the other 364 days of the year.
Actually, it seemed like people liked making weed puns a lot more than they did smoking real weed, which kind of makes sense. We’re all thirtysomethings now — weed is no longer novel, and it’s legal in most of the places people came from. As a group, we’ve collectively been there, done that and gotten so high off it that we thought we were dying (…just me?).
All this leads me to what I feel is the only logical conclusion, here: 4/20 is dead. When the most exciting part about pot is making weed puns, and everyone at your 4/20 wedding collectively forgets marijuana exists on the one day you’re supposed to celebrate it, you know the taboo and spice of it has worn off. As Matt is so fond of saying, “Nothing is cool once it’s legal.”
And you know what? Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe weed needs to become massively un-cool and un-political in order for more states to legalize it. I’ve always preferred the medication of whiskey over weed, but there are a lot of people out there who rely on it to function and feel semi-human. If anything, my 4/20 wedding taught me that maybe we’re closer to making that easier for them than I thought. But then again, all my friends are from Colorado, where the weed flows like water, so maybe the harshed mellow and the total lack of hesh has more to do with their understandable jadedness than some grand, sweeping cultural analysis. Who knows… I’m too high for this shit.
When all was said and done, my wedding turned out to be about so much more than 4/20/69. I was genuinely taken aback by the love and the meaning of the ceremony, and was so grateful that it took the turn that it did. It was nice that I could focus on getting married to the love of my life with all my friends and family surrounding me, rather than how “stoney” things could have gotten.
As it stands, I’m 32 and Matt is 29. We weren’t necessarily planning on living until our 50th anniversary in 2069, but if we do make it that far, one thing’s for sure — we’ll be celebrating the traditional way: by blazing dabs and 69-ing each other’s decrepit bods until death do us part.