Becky & Benjamin’s Whimsy-and-Detail-Rich Old World Circus-themed Wedding
Happy Friday everyone! Before you go into weekend-mode, you’re invited to feast your eyes on this aaahhhhh-mazing and totally unique circus themed backyard wedding. It had colorful, nostalgic and whimsical circusy elements like popcorn, peanuts, elephants, ornate decor, vintage signs, and soooo much more, including fire dancers and a surprise comedy improv group to act out the couple’s courtship at the ceremony!
Nicole diGiorgio of Sweetness and Light Photography, responsible for the GORGEOUS photography has some more info on the event:
Becky and Ben had an improv group act out their courtship. Their story began in Junior High and picked up again some years later. This was her 2nd marriage and his first so he was really involved in the planning and Becky would jokingly refer to their wedding as “Ben’s wedding”. They also were on TLC’s “Four Weddings” in last November’s episode “Four Weddings and a Circus”. Theirs was the circus. As the ringmaster of the circus wedding he wore an ornate jacket. Ben was joined to Becky’s family in a knot-tying ceremony with her son. The day’s festivities ended with fire-eaters on the dance floor.
Let’s get to know the lovely couple a little better. Becky’s on hand to give us the details on them and their awesome wedding:
I am in sales and he is a biochemist. We love to scuba dive (when I am not pregnant), garden and work on our organic farm.
Ben & I first dated when I was in 7th grade and he was in 9th – we even went to our first dance together. We have a long history of friendship and love. After reuniting and being together for over 6 years we were finally ready to make it official.
Our wedding had an ‘Old World Circus’ feel with décor, events and attire. This was evident with the entertainment, table center pieces, photo booth, and clothing of some participants.
Everything was located on our 1 acre property that we aptly named ‘Kamp Kuhlman’, located in the middle of the Northern California Wine Country.
The initial Happy Hour included a live circus piano player that got everyone in the mood. We also had an amazing DJ accompanied by a photo booth with an attendant.
Our ceremony was unique in that we had a nationally renowned Comedy Improv Group based out of San Francisco perform. As guests arrived they were presented with a card to fill-in asking about their favorite memories of myself and Ben – in our past, present and future. Those responses were unknowingly collected by the lead Comedian/’Ceremony performer’ and reviewed.
As guests were directed to take a seat for the ceremony after an hour long ‘happy hour’ prior to the ceremony, the performance began. The Improv Troop picked their favorite guest responses and acted them out for all the guests to see and enjoy (including ourselves). This part of the event was kept a VERY big secret and only 4 people knew about it. The ‘ceremony’ and actual wedding nuptials were quite brief at the end of the entertainment.
We had two flower girls, a maid of honor, best man, as well as a junior bridesmaid and junior groomsman (my son). We had a heartfelt ceremony with personally written vows and a unity portion to include my son by tying three ropes together.
The most stressful part of our wedding planning was getting our property ready for the event. With such a large space we did a ton of landscaping, building, and spending to get everything prepared.
Even though I would consider it a stressful part of the wedding planning – getting the house ready was also my favorite. This is something we did for ourselves and will be able to re-live each moment each day as we enter our backyard. In addition our theme has added a creative twist to the event allowing unique ideas to flow. Even our invitations were made by hand as there were many fine details to emphasize our theme and create a unique experience for those that attended.
We had an array of elephant décor that supported our theme of an ‘Old World Circus’. Not only did the elephants represent the theme, but the symbolism of these majestic creatures were passed on to our guests with their wedding favors of an elephant bookmark with a recommended reading list to learn more. We had lots of natural grasses, vintage signage that directed guests to specific areas of the yard, paper parasols hanging upside down, and classy but simple table displays.
Dinner was served in stations buffet style. We had a full pig presentation and one of the stations was solely dedicated to the mash potato bar!
It is often that you see the ‘Candy’ bars at weddings, but we added ‘Salty’ options to incorporate a true happy hour feel upon arrival. They served as our appetizers/snacks for the performance during the ceremony. The timing of our event is such that guests would arrive by 4:00pm for the happy hour. During this first hour there was live music, photo booth/guest book fun, forms to fill out for the improve group and the sweet & salty bar for snacks.
We had wedding pie instead of cake – as this is our favorite dessert. Each guest was to choose from 3-4 flavors and grab an individual pie for themselves.
We had the photo booth open early because this also served as our guest book. As people arrived they were told about this so that they could get their picture taken and added to the memory book with a few words of love and encouragement.
Right after the ceremony we went straight to the dance floor for our first dance and had the guests follow to get them out of their seats for a bit. We had another shorter time frame to allow late comers to grab a beverage at our homemade bar, utilize the photo booth or grab a fun treat at the sweet & salty bar.
After dinner the dancing once again began with some family inclusive dances – then an open dance floor. We stopped dancing for two things – the pie cutting and the fire dancers at dark.
The dance floor had a dancing light box for added flare. The last and final part (besides continued dancing) were the Fire Dancers scheduled to perform for the ‘Nautical Moon’ (after dark).
The fire dancers’ performance enhanced the theme of the event and kept the party going.
The dance floor was located within the area of our huge arbor allowing beautiful lighting, décor and the addition of an elevated light box for those brave enough to dance on.
Now for some parting words and advice from the beautiful bride:
My biggest advice is to work with your future spouse to create a day that you have both always envisioned. No matter what ‘he’ says – he has dreamt of the wedding he wanted too. Talk, share and brainstorm about what ideas and concepts represent both you and what you will be in the future. This not only makes for a great party, but brings you closer together as couple.
Huge thanks to Nicole for sending her gorgeous photos of this amazing and wonderfully quirky wedding my way, and congratulations to Becky and Benjamin! Thank you for giving us VIP access to your special day!
Photographer: Nicole diGiorgio of Sweetness and Light Photography
Caterer: Renée Fritze, Larry Vito Catering
Floral Designer: Sequoia Floral Int’l
DJ: Denon & Doyle Entertainment
Photo Booth: San Francisco Photo Booth
Ceremony Location: Private Residence
Makeup Artist: Polished
Bakery: Petaluma Pie Company
Bride/Groom’Boys’ Attire: Wine Country Bride
Grooms Jacket, Groomsmen Tie & Handkerchief: Gentleman’s Emporium
Catering Rentals: Grapevine Party Rentals
Stage and Privacy Rental: ATL Events
Pooper Rental: North Bay Portables
Ceremony Officiant: Jill Bourque, How We First Met
Fire Dancers: Wildfire Dancers
Piano Player: Petaluma Pete
Graphic Design and Printing: the bride
Screen Printing/Illustrator & Painter: Edward Sanders
Large Metal Animal Sculpture: Safari West African Wildlife Preserve
Image submission via Two Bright Lights
Tags: alternative wedding venues, at home weddings, backyard weddings, non-traditional weddings, outdoor weddings, themed wedding inspiration