Vintage Weddings

Circus Carnival Wedding Inspiration

September 4, 2013

As we continue to enjoy the sunshine (fingers crossed for an Indian summer throughout September), I already feel a pang of nostalgia for fun-filled days I had throughout the “summer” months. Anyone else feeling that way already? August was a really busy one for me (as you can probably tell from fewer updates), which included birthdays, catching up with friends and… Shambala festival over the Bank Holiday weekend!

With the beginning of September bringing all this nostalgia into the air, I decided to take a time warp backwards (naturally) for this week’s vintage wedding scheme. All in all, the inspiration for this wedding inspiration board comes from the outrageously colourful carnival at Shambala, zoom back a litter further to the bold, bright vintage circus of 1920s circus and waltz a fun-loving 1950s bride right into it all!

I’m hoping that this colourful fusion of vintage styles adequately channels the beautiful diversity so often present at festival and circus carnivals.

Circus Carnival Wedding Inspiration

1950s Bride from White Thread | Circus Themed Wedding Invitation from Oh So Beautiful Paper  | Circus Table Setting from Style Me Pretty | Carnival Cupcakes from Offbeat Bride | Vintage Labelled Candyfloss from Hostess with the Mostess | Vintage Style Chair Swing from Shea Roggio | Vintage Style Festival from Music Blog | Vintage Style Circus Caketopper from OvertheTopStudios


A theme that conjures images of outspoken characters and bold colours, Poppy Red is a necessary colour in this scheme. This confident shade of red evokes memories of striped circus tents and the red tailed coat of the ringmaster. In this theme, red means go.

Work this colour into your vintage circus inspired theme through striped straws and cupcake cases, tablecloth and wedding invitations. Poppy Red should be presented as a dominant colour throughout, working in sync with the equally bold Dark Turquoise. For a truly authentic reception, you might want to consider purchasing one or two vintage fairground inspired lights from Carousel Lights (who I recently met at The National Wedding Show preview at the Lansdowne Club) – the Walzer heart is amazing!

Circus Themed Wedding Invitation

Vintage Style Popcorn Marshmallow Cupcakes

Marshmallow Popcorn Cupcakes from Tikkido



Dark Turquoise provides a variation from the deep, inky blues we are familiar seeing in a circus themed wedding. I think the greenish tint of this blue adds a modern twist on a vintage classic, while at the same time managing to look more authentic. The nature of muted tones, perhaps?

This colour should be used in close company with Poppy Red, as the two together will conjure up the carnival fever at your reception. You could alternate the colours of your cupcakes, adorn half of your reception tables in Dark Turquoise and Poppy Red, or juxtapose a carnival themed centrepiece with these two colours (plus some added Golden Brown) on every table. Not to mention, an organised mess of fun carnival-themed pieces will get your guests excited!

Circus Themed Cupcakes with Bunting and Ballerinas

Circus Themed Mason Jar

Circus Themed Mason Jars from Queen Bee Gymboree



Accents of Golden Brown look great throughout this theme, adding a touch of vintage charm wherever present. I love the idea of spray-painted miniature circus animals and figurines for this theme (and clearly others do too, as I have seen a growing popularity of this DIY on Pinterest!).

You can also add Golden Brown into your carnival scheme by adding in another stripe into the above colour combination, including sparkling gold charms for guest’s to wrap around their drinks and making this a feature accent on your wedding stationary and wedding cake topper.

Vintage Circus Styled Table

Vintage Circus Cake TopperGolden-Brown


It might seem a little odd to pair a pink this dark with red, but it really works, don’t you think? I’m putting it down to the “anything goes” attitude of the carnival and going with it! Charm Pink will obviously be the colour of your candy floss wedding gift to friends, but you can also use this colour in less obvious ways.

You can offer pink lemonade and rose coloured cupcakes to guests, include some Charm Pink roses in your bold wedding bouquet and opt for your bridesmaids to wear this (and / or Light Pink) as the colour of their dresses.

Thank You Candyfloss

Pink Carnival



The palest pink in the candy floss club, Light Pink is where the 1950s inspired bride comes in! You won’t be called the blushing bride on account of your rosy cheeks; add in the lightest drop of pink to your 1950s circle skirt wedding dress for a chic, playful twist on the traditional white.

1950s Vintage Bride

Circus Wedding Drinks Table

 Drinks Table from Kara’s Party Ideas


None of this take your fancy? Take a look at other vintage inspired wedding schemes on the site for more inspiration and feel free to get in touch with me, if you’d like me to create a vintage wedding inspiration board for you! As always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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  • Reply Vivian September 5, 2013 at 10:17 am

    That’s an awesome inspiration board Mel! :)

  • Reply Circus Themed Wedding Inspiration | Weird and Wonderful Wedding World October 2, 2013 at 1:35 pm

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  • Reply Gemma Tranter January 1, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Absolutely love this! Deffo a fab theme and right up my street :). Looking forward to seeing the rest of your fairytale wedding series!

    Gem x

    • Reply Melissa January 1, 2014 at 10:10 pm

      Thanks Gemma! So pleased that you liked this :) Looking forward to seeing your themes too! x

  • Reply Under the Big Top | Letterpress & Lace September 19, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    […] popcorn bar from Pen N Paper Flowers // cake from Mimi’s Cakes & Bakes // bride from Vintage Tea Roses // bridesmaid from Martha Stewart Weddings photographed by Anna Rosa Krau // centerpiece from […]

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