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Reception Ideas

Carnival as a wedding reception?

Has anyone gone beyond just a carnival themed reception to be an actual carnival complete with rides and games? What was the cost, and was the experience worth it? Did you have a large or small group to entertain?
Knottie46157253

Re: Carnival as a wedding reception?

  • As a guest, I would not be comfortable at a straight up carnival wedding. I think the theme can be done really well (see THIS link for some beautiful ideas :) ) but I think that rides and games take it a step too far. I would be concerned about safety, for one, and I probably would not dress for a wedding the same way I'd dress for a carnival. It would be unexpected and I likely wouldn't want to particpate in any of the rides and games. 

    Offer me some cotton candy and funnel cake, though, and I'm all for it :) I'd stick to a few themed foods and some decor infused with "carnival" but steer clear of taking the focus off your marriage and onto carnies. 
  • I've been to formal events that included. Rented bumper-cars and carousels, and I have to say that it's a blast to do these things when you're all dressed up:-) I'm being serious, it's actually really fun. But I'm not sure how I would feel doing this at a wedding -- it tends to split groups of people up because some will be outside, some inside, etc.
    DSC_9275
  • I second the funnel cake and cotton candy!  
    Maybe if you found ONE ride or game for entertainment--avoid anything that could make people throw up on their nice clothes--that could be fun.  Yes, not everyone could play at the same time, but not everyone would want to participate, and if people are filtering on and off a ride all night--say you rented a ferris wheel--I think that might be a fun diversion.  
    If you want to downscale but keep the carnival vibe, you could set up one of those things with the faces cut-out for a photo booth (ridiculous cartoon-ish bodies with holes for guests' heads).  
  • In Response to Re: Carnival as a wedding reception?:
    I would be concerned about safety, for one,
    Posted by LeiselEB
    What kind of safety are you talking about here?  I'm a little confused.

    I like games and rides - I would find it totally fun.  However, I can see how this idea would split your guests into two camps: one would be having a blast and the other would be pursing their lips wondering when they can leave.
  • the rides would cost thousands and carry an incredible liability with them.  Finding someone wiht the games would be tough because one owner may have 1 game or 10. If you had true carnival games you have to remember that they are designed so that people lose the overwhelming majority of the time.

    Would I love to attend a carnival themed reception?  YES!  Cotton candy, funnel cakes, snow cones - that would all be a blast.  You can rent those machines easily but you need dedicated workers for them too.  I ran a cotton candy machine a couple of years in a row for a company picnic.  I was covered in the stuff at the end of the event.  Rent a few of the necessary machines and hire a few people to run them.  That would be so much fun.
  • Our guests are really the type that would respond well to this kind of event. If we were to experience a division of the camps, it would more likely be those who are out enjoying rides/games, and those who are now too tired from enjoying rides/games and want to sit down for lots of food. Even in the instances where we have older guests who may not want to ride for themselves, they have grandchildren they'd want to take around.

    I should mention as well that we are both from small towns in rural Western New York where a carnival is generally a Fireman's carnival and consists of a small handfull of rides and games and is accompanied by a large food tent; so I didn't have the grand scale of a State Fair in mind. I think perhaps a Ferris Wheel, a Merry Go Round, that really awesome UFO ride and a large slide would do. I thought also, instead of your traditional food vendors, we'd set up cocktail stations with small portable versions of comfort foods. I know I've been seeing mini burgers and pulled pork sandwiches everywhere on Pinterest lately =)
  • Carnival rides costs thousands to rent, I know because we put on on at my school and I'm on the team that plans it.  In addition to the actually costs you need a huge insurance policy because rides can break down and serious injury can occur.
     
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  • In Response to Re: Carnival as a wedding reception?:
    Carnival rides costs thousands to rent, I know because we put on on at my school and I'm on the team that plans it.  In addition to the actually costs you need a huge insurance policy because rides can break down and serious injury can occur.
    Posted by HobokenBride2012
    Do you have a more specific figure? Such as $1,000-$3,000 or $5,000-$7,000? Our wedding is still several years away (a very long engagement as I want to finish law school first) so we have lots of time to shop around and save- should this be what we settle on.
  • Avion22Avion22 member
    2500 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited July 2012
    In Response to Re: Carnival as a wedding reception?:
    In Response to Re: Carnival as a wedding reception? : Do you have a more specific figure? Such as $1,000-$3,000 or $5,000-$7,000? Our wedding is still several years away (a very long engagement as I want to finish law school first) so we have lots of time to shop around and save- should this be what we settle on.
    Posted by AshleyCB
    Your best bet is to contact vendors IN YOUR AREA to see what they would charge. You obviously also want to make sure that they carry. Heir own insurance, and you'll want to make sure your venue is okay with having carnival rides:-)
    DSC_9275
  • In Response to Re: Carnival as a wedding reception?:
    In Response to Re: Carnival as a wedding reception? : What kind of safety are you talking about here?  I'm a little confused. I like games and rides - I would find it totally fun.  However, I can see how this idea would split your guests into two camps: one would be having a blast and the other would be pursing their lips wondering when they can leave.
    Posted by Joy2611


    Safety regarding carnival rides. I'm not sure what other type of safety you think I'd be referring to. Rides break down and stall all the time, and I'd be worried about that. I like games and rides, too, but usually not when the stuff is set up and torn down so quickly that it gives me concerns about safety - as would happen at a wedding. 


  • I love rides and games too, but I have to say, I am super stressed out planning a simple, small wedding and reception.  I cannot imagine the worry I would have with a carnival, I would worry about the weather, heaven forbid lightening, someone getting hurt, or stuck at the top of the ferris wheel.  Boy it would mean even more sleepness nights for me.  But I am a worry wart.
  • In Response to Re: Carnival as a wedding reception?:
    In Response to Re: Carnival as a wedding reception? : Safety regarding carnival rides. I'm not sure what other type of safety you think I'd be referring to. Rides break down and stall all the time, and I'd be worried about that. I like games and rides, too, but usually not when the stuff is set up and torn down so quickly that it gives me concerns about safety - as would happen at a wedding. 
    Posted by LeiselEB
    Hmm... I guess I skipped right over that concern in my head because if she's seriously considering hiring rides, then she would have confidence in those vendors.  I grew up in areas where traveling rides like these came through often.  I don't think it's fair to say all traveling rides are unsafe because they are put up and taken down quickly.  I feel like this is saying you should be worried about your florist because she might give you poisonous flowers.  Just a different take.  I do see your point, though.
  • In Response to Re: Carnival as a wedding reception?:
    In Response to Re: Carnival as a wedding reception? : Hmm... I guess I skipped right over that concern in my head because if she's seriously considering hiring rides, then she would have confidence in those vendors.  I grew up in areas where traveling rides like these came through often.  I don't think it's fair to say all traveling rides are unsafe because they are put up and taken down quickly.  I feel like this is saying you should be worried about your florist because she might give you poisonous flowers.  Just a different take.  I do see your point, though.
    Posted by Joy2611
    I think there's a pretty big difference between questioning the safety of ferris wheels and questioning the safety of flowers. But all right. 

    OP: If this is something commonly done in your area, go for it. I would just look at it from a guests point of view and really do your research before booking anyone.
  • Also, I love your food ideas, OP :)
  • In Response to Re: Carnival as a wedding reception?:
    In Response to Re: Carnival as a wedding reception? : Do you have a more specific figure? Such as $1,000-$3,000 or $5,000-$7,000? Our wedding is still several years away (a very long engagement as I want to finish law school first) so we have lots of time to shop around and save- should this be what we settle on.
    Posted by AshleyCB
    Prices vary depending on the area and type of ride. I can tell you we don't even bother getting a ferris wheel because it requires a heafty insurance policy on it's own.
     
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  • I work in personal injury law.  We have a woman at our firm who has worked at insurance companies that insure traveling carnivals (the type that are set up/taken down very frequently; not like Busch Gardens, 6 Flags type amusement parks).   She (and I) will not ride on carnival rides any more.  They are incredibly dangerous and they are assembled by people who are often drunk and high. 


    When she worked at the insurance company they checked that website every Monday to find out what kind of huge claims would be brought against them that week. 

    That said, if you want to do it, go right ahead.  My guess is you're looking at around 10-20 thousand to rent a couple rides and insure them. 
  • http://www.carnivalmidways.com/

    This will help.  Looks like it's about 1500 on average for 5 hours rental of most rides.  That doesn't include the generator, fuel, insurance, delivery fees, paying the person to operate it, etc.
  • In Response to Re: Carnival as a wedding reception?:
    I work in personal injury law.  We have a woman at our firm who has worked at insurance companies that insure traveling carnivals (the type that are set up/taken down very frequently; not like Busch Gardens, 6 Flags type amusement parks).   She (and I) will not ride on carnival rides any more.  They are incredibly dangerous and they are assembled by people who are often drunk and high.  www.rideaccidents.com When she worked at the insurance company they checked that website every Monday to find out what kind of huge claims would be brought against them that week.  That said, if you want to do it, go right ahead.  My guess is you're looking at around 10-20 thousand to rent a couple rides and insure them. 
    Posted by NOLAbridealmost
    Ditto this entire post.  I do not know a single attorney who ever worked at a Personal Injury Firm who will get on one of these rides or allow any family member to do so.

    Signed GLB., Esquire.
    Proud to be an old married hag!! image
  • When we were planning an August wedding, we were going to go for a fair/carnival type reception.  Funnel cakes, cotton candy (being made there on the machine), elephant ears...yum!  We also planned to have games, but silly things that were freestanding and not manned by anyone that people could play if they wanted to.  Think of things like cornhole or other bean bag tosses, the " throw a ring around a bottle" game, softball toss, things like that.
  • I would do all the carnival foods you were suggesting and maybe a few free-standing, unmanned games like Drama suggested but I would skip the huge rides like the ferris wheel, etc. Other posters have given good reasons to not do them, namely the huge cost associated with them and the cost of insuring them. What would your venue be if you did them? Would you rent out fairgrounds?

    I think the idea sounds fun, but I think when you have your wedding at someplace like a fairground (and you would need a huge outdoor space for a ferris wheel), it becomes a little....separated? I don't know how to say it, but I feel like you wouldn't get to really mingle with your guests because everyone would be spread out riding rides or going around playing games. I also wouldn't want to go down a slide in a fancy dress, but I suppose if you made the invitations casual people could dress more informally.

    IDK. I think the idea is fun but very very hard to actually implement and carry out, not to mention expensive.


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  • Adding my two cents on the ride front--yeah, I'd be concerned about safety, but more concerned about liability. 

    I do ride some rides at State Fairs, I realize they get put up and taken down, but at least they're there for about a week or so in between. But, I realize that things can go wrong. I wouldn't want to be the person with the liability at the end of the day. 

    Personal story of why this could be a bad idea:
    My mom's church does a huge carnival/fundraiser over a weekend every June. They have vendors and beer tents and tons of food and they have carnival rides. Bumper cars, the Sizzler, some slides, nothing too large. Last year I was there with her on the night they opened helping with the bake sale and two boys came running in saying there'd been an accident. No one was really badly hurt, but the operator lost control of the ride. There was an ambulance and local news crews. This year they didn't have rides because they were almost sued over the accident and they just couldn't take on the liability. They never thought that would happen at their little church carnival with just a few rides. The same way someone wouldn't think it would happen at their wedding. I just wouldn't take that on.  

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