bride and groom in red and white kissing booth

One way to hint at all the fun your guests will be having is to take your photographer to a carnival for your engagement session, and then use a photo for your save-the-date.  Below, this couple shares a hug in front of the best place at any carnival--the caramel apple and cotton candy stand!

couple in plaid flannel shirts at carnival engagement session

Get creative with your paper goods with this fun theme. Use familiar fair graphics like blue ribbons (below, left) and ticket shaped escort cards to ride-themed table numbers (below, right).

state fair themed wedding invitation suite
ride and ticket themed escort cards attached to dart board

If you don't time your event to coincide with a local carnival or fair, bring the merriment to your own backyard with a bouncy house (below).

bride and groom in bouncy house at reception

You can even set up easy-to-construct games like a ring toss or balloon wall and give away the traditional silly prizes like stuffed animals.

brooke beasley copy
carnival themed signs at wedding reception

When it comes to arranging your reception area for this theme, you can try a number of different styles. If you have a large lawn, dining picnic style might be fun.  Otherwise, rustic venues (such as this large barn below) are terrific for setting up long tables and hanging bright string lights. The nostalgic experience will remind your guests of eating at the fairground food court.

long tables at state fair themed reception in barn

Carnival weddings often feature bright, juicy palettes. Plenty of dynamic pinks, reds, and corals will make your venue lively.  We love this sweet arrangement of dahlias and roses in an aluminum can wrapped with paper featuring the wedding logo (below). Festive drink straws and a gingham tablecloth complete this energetic tablescape.

cheerful wedding centerpiece on gingham tablecloth at state fair themed reception

You can also add details like colorful rolls of tickets around each floral centerpiece (below).

Sara France copy

But, as with any wedding, the best part of this theme is the treats.  Serve fair food like elephant ears and funnel cakes in checked paper (below, left). Instead of a traditional wedding cake, consider a cake table with a multitude of pretty layer cakes (just like the ones that your grandmother would enter into the state fair contest every year).

deep fried carnival food
pretty layer cakes on wedding cake table

For dinner serve corn dogs, as well as local carnival delicacies, such as turkey legs or fried pickles.

engaged couples eat corn dogs during their carnival engagement session

As you bid your guests adieu, treat them to a favor they will love: cotton candy!  You can either buy them pre-bagged or hire a vendor with their own machine to whip up the sugar in person!

bride and groom feed each other cotton candy at local carnival

Credits:  Rachel Ryan Photography   |   Maura Jane Photography   |   Hello Lucky   |   Sam Hughes Photography   |   YEAH! Weddings   |   Brooke Beasley   |   HMP by Monique Renee   |   Jose Villa   |   N Barrett Photography   |   Sara France   |   Kevin & Amanda   |   Wylie Weddings   |   Love Shutter Photography   |   Tracy Moore