While some couples opt for a more traditional wedding theme, others may take an unconventional approach to walking down the aisle. We’ve heard of wedding themes that have blown us out of the water, and a carnival-themed wedding is definitely at the top of the list. If the key to your wedding bliss includes cotton candy, a big tent, and a Ferris Wheel, a carnival-themed wedding may be just right for you. Here we offer tips on how to plan the perfect carnival-themed wedding.

To Plan A Carnival-themed Wedding, You Can Follow These Tips To Make Your Wedding A Memorable Experience

Although you are planning to bring the fun and excitement of a carnival, the planning process is still just as extensive and intricate as planning a traditional wedding at a hotel or special events venue. You will still need to coordinate with different vendors, create a timeline, inform your guests and ensure that you stay in line with your theme. Make your carnival-themed wedding a memorable experience by following these steps:

Find a venue to accommodate your theme

The first step is finding a venue that will accommodate your circus theme. Glen Echo Park in Bethesda, MD, has been a staple venue for many couples who want to incorporate a little circus fun into their special day and have memorable photos that show the fun aspects of their lives. 

If you live near a park or venue similar to Glen Echo that already has some circus-themed attractions and elements, start by contacting the venue to check on availability. You can also let the venue’s booking agent know that you are among the many couples who desire to incorporate some of the park’s carnival/circus theme elements into their event. Based on their experience, the venue operators can offer suggestions and packages that align with your theme. After you have settled on a date, you can move forward with the next step – informing your guests.

Get your invitation card designed as carnival tickets

Your guests will likely be excited to receive any invitation inviting them to witness your nuptials, but how great would it be for them to receive non-traditional wedding invitations like carnival tickets? We encourage you to get creative and stay on theme with your communication to guests about your carnival-themed wedding. If you opt to use a wedding website to communicate with guests, you can use a carnival-themed layout so you can keep the theme going. It will make your wedding stand out to guests and prepare them to partake in such a unique affair. 

Choose carnival food favorites for the menu

Carnival food is so amazing, and there are several ways for your to incorporate a few carnival food favorites into your menu. Since most carnival food is served in snack form, you can offer guests various carnival snacks during the cocktail hour and after your traditional wedding dinner at the end of the night. This way, guests can still enjoy the theme but not go hungry after only snacking on Cracker Jacks and cotton candy – especially if you are hosting an evening wedding where it is expected that you will provide guests with a meal.
Need a little help remembering carnival snacks that can be served? Here are a few of our favorites from IzzyCooking.com:

  • Funnel Cake Fries – These fries are just like regular funnel cakes, but they’re in a conveniently dippable fry shape.
  • Corn Dogs – The corn dog may just be the most popular carnival food. This iconic recipe is said to have been invented at the Texas State Fair in the late 1930s. Even today, this delicious and portable hotdog remains a fairground favorite across the country.
  • Caramel Corn – Crunchy, sweet, and so addictive!
  • Mexican Street Corn – Also known as “elotes,” this is a popular dish served by food vendors in Mexico. Corn on the cob is sprinkled with spices and smothered in a tangy sauce and Cojita cheese.
  • Homemade Lemonade – What could be more refreshing than a cold glass of homemade lemonade? 
  • Deep-Fried Oreos – Deep-fried Oreos are the decadent treat you didn’t know you needed. 
  • Fried Pickles – You’ll love these crispy deep-fried pickles, served with a homemade lemon pepper ranch sauce.

Hire Magicians, Aerial Dancers, and Jugglers 

A carnival-themed wedding needs carnival or circus-themed entertainment. We suggest hiring a magician, aerial dancers, and jugglers to wow guests throughout the night. Jugglers can stand and perform at the entrance of the reception space, so as guests arrive, they will be entertained from the start. Aerial dancers would work best as a cocktail hour feature, so as guests are waiting for dinner to start, they can mix and mingle as aerial dancers float in the air. You never want entertainment to be a distraction from the main event, just an addition or enhancement to whatever is happening during the event at that specific time. 

A magician would work best during the reception, either as a special (and short) presentation during toasts or the salad course or before guests get into a lot of dancing. A magician is an exciting surprise for a wedding but will not rival the energy and excitement of a DJ or band. Strategically place your carnival entertainers throughout the schedule so guests aren’t overwhelmed by the carnival theme but will appreciate the attention to detail and will still enjoy the more traditional elements of the wedding like dinner, dancing, and your vows being exchanged. 

Incorporate Carnival Games

Where possible, you can incorporate carnival games into the wedding schedule. For example, if you have the space and the weather permits, you can rent equipment so guests can play skee ball, toss bean bags, and darts. You can also add other games that may not be traditional carnival games like Jumbo Jenga, Jumbo Connect Four, and Jumbo Checkers. 

Ultimately, a carnival-themed wedding seems to promote fun, nostalgia, relaxation, and love. If these elements are aligned with you and your spouse’s personalities, use these tips and make memories for a lifetime. 

Entertainment Exchange
Adam Mason


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