I have a lot of opinions and feelings and beliefs about weddings. And one thing I truly, honestly, deeply believe, down into the very core of my being, is this:
People who think theme weddings are tacky can sod right off.
Theme weddings are fun! They give you opportunities to be creative in very specific ways and give your guests an exciting, original, and/or novel experience to enjoy while you celebrate your nuptials. No one is going to forget a theme wedding. And not because they’re “tacky”… we all know that tackiness is a scam. Theme weddings are memorable because they evoke a particular feeling or cultivate a specific kind of ambience. They encourage a type of immersiveness that you don’t often get at a more traditional wedding. Giving your wedding a theme is also an easy way to inject you and your partner’s (or partners’) personality into what could have been a very run-of-the-mill event.
So: Carnival Weddings. Think Amusement Parks, County Fairs, Small-Town Festivals, and Circuses & Sideshows (minus the animal cruelty and violent ableism). There are a million and one ways to do a carnival-themed wedding, ranging from “mild carnival aesthetic at the reception” to “full-blown carnival with a ceremony haphazardly thrown in somewhere”.
If you’re into the idea of a carnival-themed wedding, consider these ideas to keep your guests entertained and provide them with unique, long-lasting memories of your big day:
Let Them Eat Funnel Cake. Or whatever amusement park fare you can get your hands on! Cotton candy, butter popcorn or caramel corn, candy apples, corn dogs, and your regional fried dough desserts are all fantastic options!
Support Your Local Circus and Sideshow Artists. Acrobats, clowns, magicians, jugglers, contortionists, and balloon artists all fall under this umbrella. If you’re looking for something a little more thrilling, consider glass-walkers, sword-swallowers, and (my personal favourite) fire artists. These are not lost arts- people who perform these styles DO exist! I’m even acquainted with some of them! Just take a look on your preferred search engine or social media platform and you’re likely to find performers.
Get A Little Mystical. Hire a Palm Reader, or Tarot or Oracle practitioner. Some may say that this is in poor taste for a wedding… but that’s their discomfort to deal with. If you like the idea, go for it! And don’t worry- no professional practitioner would say anything overly cryptic or negative during a reading. Your guests shouldn’t hear any death or doom & gloom predictions!
Get Your Game On. Shoot the targets! Throw balls at bottles! Play the game where you hit something with a hammer and it tells you how strong you are! Classic carnival games are a great way to keep everyone entertained for a long period of time. If you want to include prizes, consider adding items with a personal touch, like something handmade or relevant to you and your partner’s/partners’ love story. These prizes can double as wedding favours!
Rent Some Carnival Rides. Traditional carnival rides (if they’re accessible to you and your guests) are amazing things to add to your wedding. They provide novel or nostalgic experiences for your guests to share together, as well as killer photo op material. Ferris wheels, carousels, roller coasters, funhouses, and teacup rides are all tried-and-true crowdpleasers… but don’t be afraid to see what’s available to you!