Broke-Ass Tag: Themed Wedding


On top of having super yummy carnival eats for dinner, we had some sweet treats for our guests, too. Even though funnel cakes and elephant ears are some of the best desserts on the planet, I knew I wanted a wedding cake to cut as well. I can take or leave the actual cutting of the cake while everyone stares. And the whole smashing thing? #no If Russel had ruined my very beautiful and very expensive makeup by smearing cake and icing all over my face, we would have been talking annulment. Okay, not really. But I would have been mad. Luckily, Russel likes to get things done with as little fanfare as possible, so smashing was never an issue. What I really wanted the cake for was the whole save-the-top-layer-and-eat-it-on-your-anniversary thing. What can I say? I am a sucker for certain traditions. It’s the same reason we went with traditional wedding vows. I digress.

I probably procrastinated a little too long on the cake thing. I knew I was getting something small and simple, so I wasn’t very on top of it. Kind of a mistake. My first choice bakery didn’t have any openings. Boo. Luckily, my next choice had a cancellation, and I was all too happy to step right in. They are actually known for being a cupcake shop, which made our tasting pretty awesome. We got to pick out full size cupcakes and chow down. In the end, we decided that the whole cake would be Death By Chocolate. So, we sampled like 12 flavors, and that’s what we picked — lol. Boring. But also delicious. We got the smallest cake possible, which was two tiny little layers — one for the wedding, and one to save. I wanted one layer covered in colorful sprinkles, and one plain white. If I am honest, I never really stressed about my cake, but I was SO happy with how it turned out.


Photo by Jenni Bella Photography

The hot pink, glittery Best Day Ever was perfect, and my mom handmade the bunting topper at midnight on Friday because I couldn’t find the one I bought. She is a queen. To me, it all screamed fun carnival, and it was $150 total. Yay! One cake tip: line up your baker before I did. Like ASAP.

Candy. Candy, candy, candy. Candy buffets are boring. Can we all agree on that? Don’t get me wrong … I love them. I love candy. It is delicious and I want to eat it all the time. But candy buffets are pretty common at weddings. When you’re going all out on a carnival theme, doing something so “normal” seems weird. But when we considered the fact that we had no wedding favors, the more we kept coming back to the candy idea. Favors are so hit or miss, IMO. I have been to weddings where they are awesome: little bottles of wine at the dinner table? Yes, please. A lavender colored coaster with your name and wedding date? Eh, not so much. So yeah. I wanted something people would enjoy and I wanted it to fit in with our theme. Candy and carnivals really do go hand in hand, so I eventually got over my hangup, and I am really glad I did. Our buffet was such a hit, and it was cleaned out by the end of the night. I was actually bummed, because I was hoping to have a bunch of leftovers to snack on for weeks. No dice.


So …it looks a little like a baby shower. I realize this. But try finding aqua and pink candy. It’s not easy. But other than that, isn’t is cute? And it was yummy! My mom and I started stockpiling candy a few months out. It wasn’t super cheap, but it wasn’t that expensive either. There were a few things I knew I wanted, like Blue Razz Blow Pops (hello, ’90s flashback) and pink Starburst, so I ordered those online. We got a lot of the other stuff at party stores. Reese Cups, Hershey Kisses, Pixie Stix, rock candy, etc. My mom also made caramel apples the Thursday before the wedding, because she wasn’t busy enough. (J/k, she was busy.) Everyone loved them, and all of my friends have requested an apple or two from her annual Christmas batch. As far as containers, I don’t think we bought a single one. We just used stuff we had around our houses. Yes, I had four vintage candy jars at my home. I don’t know, either. But that definitely helped us save a bunch of money, which is the name of the game, right? In the end, we were glad we went the candy favor route. It fit our theme, it was easy, and people loved it. Can’t beat that.

Did you find any easy, delicious additions to your big day? What did you do?



  • 11/22

    And other yummy treats!

    I detailed our food plan a while back, and if you recall, I was missing a fairly important detail: the total cost. We worked with our caterer to come up with the perfect menu, and we had a general price range of $12-$15 per person. We never had a contract and we didn’t have to pay any sort of deposit. Kinda scary … but we knew we were dealing with really awesome and honest people, so we were okay with it. Basically they were just going to keep track of how much food we went through, and then add it up and we’d pay the total at the end of the evening. Easy peasy.

    So how did it all turn out? Effing amazing! You guys … our food was so legit. It was delicious and fun and fantastic and about 65 other adjectives. Not only did Russel and I love it, but our guests did, too. People were commenting on it all night … and for days and weeks afterward. The final final menu ended up being shredded beef sandwiches, sausages with peppers and onions, corn dogs, french fries, funnel cakes, elephant ears and frozen chocolate-dipped cheesecake. We also had homemade baked beans and Napa cabbage salad, which were prepared by some super awesome and loving family members and friends.

    Rachel's carnival food

    The stands looked so amazing once the sun went down! Bonus!

    Guests pose with Rachel's carnival-themed food

    Our friend Nolan with an elephant ear and cheesecake.

    Guests pose with food from Rachel's carnival-themed wedding

    Funnel cake! Nom nom nom!

    I wish I had more pictures of the deliciousness! Everything was so good.

    So not only was the food the best ever, our caterers were the best, too. They set up the trailers on Thursday, which made for one less thing to worry about the day of the wedding. They also served food from the time dinner started (about 6 p.m.) until 9 p.m. For years I had planned to have late night pizza delivered because I know people get hungry after drinking and dancing for hours, but since they served so late, we didn’t have to. Again, less for us to worry about!

    I’ll be totally honest, as the evening went on and we saw how much food everyone was eating — people were making trip after trip after trip — we were a little scared to settle up. I was prepared for the worst, but when Russel found me afterword and told me our total was a whopping $2,100, I was ecstatic! I can’t say for sure how many guests we ended up having (a few people who said they were coming didn’t show up), but including our vendors I think we fed around 160 people. A little over $13/person for amaaazing food? YES, PLEASE. Literally my only regret is that I didn’t eat more food. I had a sandwich and an order of fries … that’s it! I need a re-do so I can have six helpings of everything.

    Broke-Asses: Have a carnival wedding! And have authentic carnival eats! Your guests, your taste buds and tummy, and your budget will all thank you!