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Themed Carnival Weddings : Themes are a Whimsical Way To Celebrate Your Vows

Updated on May 27, 2012

Get Creative With Your Fun Carnival Theme Wedding

You can really up the WOW factor for your guests and really make your I DO day an event to remember with some fun planning and creative energy! If you are planning a late spring/ summer/ or early fall wedding, consider creating a wedding reception inspired by the whimsy and fun of summer carnivals and fairs. Your guests will have a ball and remember all of the special touches you created for years come.

Themed Weddings are a wonderful way to express yourself and ensure that your guests have an incredible experience full of unique memories. Beach themed, Carnival themed, French themed, Circus themed, farm themed.... the list of possibilities go on and on. Theme weddings also allow you to get creative and make your own decorations and wedding favors and this can make planning and paying for your wedding more fun and more affordable!

1. The Wedding Invitation

Give your guests a sneak peek idea of how much fun they'll have at your wedding as soon as they get the invite in the mail!

- choose an old-fashioned carnival font to really set the mood for your carnival themed day. The fonts at the following link conjures up the great carnivals and circuses of yesteryear while presenting a fun and festive air.
-have fun with the invitation? have you two ever had one of those zany old-fashioned photographs taken at a visiting fair or carnival? You know the ones, those black and white antique-feel photographs with the crazy outfits? If you have, maybe you could include it in your wedding invitation for a funny spin on the same-old, same-old wedding invitations everyone is used to getting (after all, your wedding isn't going to be same-old, same-old, is it?)! Hey, even if you haven't, maybe you know someone handy with Photoshop? Here's a tutorial all about how to get that western old-time portrait look on a computer!! If not, or for a more professional touch, find a local graphic design student who'll be more than happy to hook you up with an awesome custom designed antique portrait/wedding invitation design for free or very cheaply!

2. The Reception Location

Location is where it's at, right? With a carnival themed wedding, you actually have a few different and easy options which will lend themselves really easily to your carnival theme!

- The Traditional Summer Wedding tent is actually pretty much perfect for a carnival theme. Carnivals and Fairs almost always use tents to protect attractions from rainy days . The image of brightly colored and white tents stacked amid the towering midway rides and flashing lights is almost ubiquitous with the idea of a carnival.

-Tents can be expensive, I know. To save some money, why not hold your wedding in a state park? A grassy lawn and a covered picnic shelter is also a wonderful place to have your carnival wedding, especially if part of what you love about carnivals is spending time outdoors!

- Do you live near a local state fair grounds? Often times, they rent out indoor spaces with plenty of chairs, tables and of course - the all important bathroom facilities!- inexpensively. Holding your wedding at a state fair ground site would be a true tongue in cheek way to celebrate your carnival wedding!

3. Hors d'oeuvres

Guests have to get fancied up, drive to your wedding, attend your vow ceremony, meet and greet new and old faces - by the time they get to your reception venue, they're ready to eat! Offering fun hors d'oeuvres during cocktail hour at your wedding makes your guests (and their bellies) happy!

- ok ok.... POPCORN! You could either pre-pop your popcorn and stuff it into fun, retro popcorn bags like these affordable ones, or you could go one step further and buy one of those retro popcorn machines for, at the most, a few hundred dollars. Afterwards, you can keep the popcorn machine for a fun game room or den reminder of your special day. And, to go even one step further, offer your guests a variety of popcorn seasonings so that they can fancy up their popcorn!

-- Ah, hot summer days! What's a better way to cool off than with a .... SNO-CONE!
Having a sno-cone machine at your wedding would be such a whimsical day to celebrate your nuptials on a hot summer's day. Offer different flavors and watch for the childlike delight in your guests' eyes.

-- Class it up a little while still keeping with the fun, laisse faire attitude by offering salad on a stick! Caprese salad is an Italian style salad consisting of buffalo mozzerella, plum tomatoes and basil. Really delicious, simple yet sophisticated - put it all on a stick and it's perfect for a classy yet carnival themed wedding hors d'oeuvres!

4.The Wedding Favors

Cute wedding favors that go with the theme of your wedding can really create a polished and magical experience for your guests.

-- Candy Apples!
What carnival is complete without Candy Apples? Make your own or buy them - guests of all ages will delight in this whimsical and sweet treat to take home with them!

-- Toys!
Order online or at a local toystore, giving your guests some cute toys to take home with them that they can either keep as a memento or pass on to their kids is a fun spin on more traditional wedding favors. Some ideas for toys could be whistles, kazoos, spinning tops, giant lollipops, card games, silly putty or yo-yos!

5. The Fun

--DIY Photobooth - so this might be a little time-consuming to do, but if you've got the gumption and supplies, I can't really imagine a bigger hit at a carnival themed wedding than a photobooth at which guests can take their turns make silly and sophisticated faces for the camera!

--Carnival Cut-Outs - over on Offbeat Bride there's a great little article about a couple who took old circus books and had the pictures blown up (probably could be done through a local printer/print shop!) and provided some really fun photo opportunities for their guests! If you, or a friend or family member, is artistically inclined, you could also draw your own carnival cut-outs with some poster board!

--Old Fashioned Kissing Booth - what could be more yesteryear or tongue-in-cheek romantic than an old fashioned kissing booth. Easy to make out of a table and poster board, this will provide many laughs and great photographs for the guests and bride and groom alike! Check out an example of one here!

6.The Wedding Cake

I am certain there are a million different ways that your local bakery can make a really wonderful carnival themed cake for you. Go in to the bakery with your ideas and be prepared to be wowed when you let your cakery get creative. Because of that, I'm going to go over a few cake alternative ideas to get you to think out of the box (if you want to forgo cake, or if you want more dessert than just cake alone...ha ha!):

-- Have an ice cream truck pull up at dessert time! What could be more delightful to guests than an ice cream truck loaded with frozen treats galore!?

-- Make a candy shop / penny candy store at your wedding. Provide containers or bags and let your guests really go to town!

--Pies, pies and more pies! What goes better at a carnival or state fair than apple pie and vanilla ice cream? Pick your favorite pie flavors, and serve them up with a scoop of ice cream...yum!

4. Cupcake Balloons - These are too cute and are a perfect way to put your very own carnival twist on the traditional wedding cake!

Free Graphics and Clip Art

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Outdoor Games for Kids


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    • Wedding Tips profile image

      Wedding Tips 

      8 years ago from Hudson Valley NY

      What a cool idea! I think weddings turn into carnival events anyway...Why not roll with it?

      A photo booth is ALWAYS a bit hit. Very fun.


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