When it came to throwing a vintage carnival themed baby shower for her sister-in-law, Betheny of Bite the Cake, wanted to stay away from the typical ‘circus’ themes. With her sister-in-law expecting a boy, she decided that she wouldn’t use any animals, focusing instead on the carnival atmosphere to set the feel of the day. ” I love the old-time glamor and ornate-ness of the vintage. I think it kicks it up a notch in terms of elegance and style. I wanted it to be rustic and beautiful and authentic. I also wanted it to be a fun, carnival atmosphere so I knew I wanted to have outdoor carnival games so the guests could feel like they were at a carnival and just have fun and celebrate.” Held in her sister-in-law’s backyard, red was the main color, with black and golden accent colors to give it an old-time vintage vibe.
To create a custom invitation, she turned to her uber-talented sister, Crystal for the hottest ticket in town. “I told her my “vision” and she just set the stage and created anticipation for the party with that invite. I gave her some key words: Carnival (NOT circus), Rustic, Raw, Vintage, 1940’s and the end result was perfect. She made it in a 5×7 format and so I printed them off, cut them horizontal and sent them as “Tickets” to the party. I found a cute font and printed the addresses right onto the envelopes.”
Betheny created signs that said ‘Tickets’ and ‘Guess the Girth’ in traditional carnival fashion, while added a little glam factor. Mason jars provided rustic ambiance lighting and Tiki torches gave that “fire-breathing-freak-show” attraction vibe. . She used large planked spools she found at her local electrical supply store to use as tables for the games and added a piece of remnant gauzy fabric to dress it up.”I wanted the banner to be large enough to span the dessert table and to be able to be seen from a distance so I took 12×12 scrapbook paper and cut in in half diagonally. I punched it up with a bit of richly colored and patterned paper. Then I just printed letters off my computer in some ornate font and cut and pasted them on.” Thinking that folding chairs would be to cheesy for this party, Betheny gathered up some beautiful wooden chairs from my collection and my SIL had some beautiful, simple ladder-back chairs as well.
When it came to this shower’s photo booth, Betheny says it’s all about the backdrop. “I came across the PERFECT
ticking-stripe fabric at Wal-mart, of all places, for only $4.00/yd! I may or may not have hyperventilated when I found it. I was so in love with it that I wanted to sleep with it that night. My hubby cut a spare piece of plywood so that my two yards of fabric would fit it and stapled it nice and taught for me. It had to be tight or the stripes would look wavy in the pictures. We just propped it up against a wall outside (in the shade) THEN I added fun props that were so easy.”
The Guess the Girth booth was a fun way to dress up a standard baby shower activity. “Years ago, Danny Bonaduce did a radio segment called “Guess the Girth” when his wife was pregnant. People would call in and guess and It just popped into my head as I was trying to think of different “Booths” that people could stop at. I thought the title “GUESS THE GIRTH” just sounded like something they would yell out at a Carnival to passers-by f it was a baby-oriented carnival). I liked the “Freak Show” mentality and attractions of the old carnival but I had to be super careful not to make the lady of honor feel like a “Freak Attraction” so we had fun with it. Good thing my SIL is such a good sport. That booth was a lemonade stand that my hubby built for my daughter. It has a removable sign so I made my own just for the occasion.
“I think food is so beautiful and if it is presented properly, you don’t have to go over-board. I could have done fondant and all the jazz but they didn’t have fondant circa 1920-1940 so I just went really rustic with the black Forrest cake. I had to restrain myself from putting any decorations on the caramel apples. I wanted them simple and sweet and I think that simple-ness gave them a rustic, sentimental charm. Just a good ‘ol fashioned caramel apple, ya know? I loved the idea of the dark glass bottles. I thought it gave it the “walking-around at-a-carnival-from between 1920’-1950’s” vibe. Another item that I just about peed my pants when I found it was the Popcorn Bags!! They were just so cute and vintage and ornate looking. Cotton Candy, bubble gum and Candy dots are so “Carnival” so I put those on there too. They are all such fun foods that we don’t get often and they added such great color. I wish I could have afforded to rent a cotton candy maker!! The cotton candy would’ve been so much prettier and it would have been fun to have on there.
“I had to do Churros! Not only do Churros scream “Carnival” but my SIL is Mexican so it was a little nod to her heritage as well. My SIL’s mother, Maria, picked up a box for me from Costco. They sell them frozen in a box of 50 right from the food court! AND they come with the grease-proof wrappers!
When it came to the carnival theme, incorporating everything about the day into it was crucial. For Betheny, that went double for anything edible. “I’m a bit of a food-y so I love real, authentic carnival food. These are foods that you only get to treat yourself to every once in a blue moon on a summer walk through the passing carnival. Usually, you can choose foods (or even dye them) to match a color palate but this table was all about the theme and what you find at a real, authentic carnival.
Thanks Betheny for sharing this fantastic carnival day with us!