Small Town Kansas Carnival Wedding: Samantha + Travis

kansas carnival wedding

Samantha + Travis are the most fun couple! They love festivals, music, yummy food + laughter. They each even describe themselves as a big kid stuck in an adult’s body! So it goes without saying that a traditional wedding just wasn’t for them. They have fond memories of trips to the Kansas State Fair each year, so that became the theme for their day. Think pennants, food booths, cupcakes, pinwheels, and lights – all of which were handmade by the two of them and their adoring small town Kansas community. Talk about the best group effort. And a super fun-sounding day!

Ladies, Samantha shares some great advice for future brides at the end of the post, so be sure not to miss it! We love, love, love how she and Travis prove that there is no right or wrong way to celebrate love! Now who’s ready for the gorge photos by The Shalom Imaginative?

balloon first look

balloon first look


bow tie

guest book

How cute is this string art piece? Check out our DIY to create a string heart of your own for your wedding or home! :)

string art

carnival refreshments

carnival hat

hot dog stand


jam favors

jam favors

carnival bunting

carnival desserts

carnival desserts

carnival wedding

There were a few moments that day that we both find the most memorable. The first was when Travis walked down the aisle and everyone started cheering, yelling and clapping. That is when we knew that we had achieved the environment we wanted to create for our wedding; one where people felt relaxed, happy and comfortable.

The second memory was when we said our vows to one another. It felt like it was just the two of us standing up there even though we were standing in front of hundreds of people. It was just us, telling each other why we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with each other and that is all that mattered at that moment. It was perfect.

The third most memorable moment was seeing all of our friends and family there, some of whom traveled from far away to this little town in Kansas, including Travis' cousin who surprised us by flying in from Australia.

carnival ceremony

carnival ceremony

carnival ceremony

carnival ceremony

carnival ceremony

kansas carnival wedding

kansas carnival wedding


Processional: Sea of Love – Phil Phillips (Catpower version, sung by Shantel Grace, a friend of the bride and groom)

Recessional: Signed, Sealed, Delivered – Stevie Wonder

First Dance: Stand by Me – Ben E. King (sung by Memphis Soul, the wedding band)

kansas carnival wedding

kansas carnival wedding

1. Don't let other people influence your decisions. There is no right or wrong way to do it when it comes to your wedding. It is your wedding and it should reflect that. If you want to get married in a church do it and if you want to stand on your head while saying your vows that is fine too. It is all about the two of you and what you want your wedding day to be like.

2. Hire someone or appoint someone to be the point of contact for your big day. I never would have thought we would have the money to do this but we were lucky enough to find a reasonably priced wedding coordinator who we hired for both the set up day on Friday and the entire wedding day on Saturday. Before we found our day of wedding coordinator we considered paying a friend with some event planning experience to do it. It really took a lot of stress and pressure off the two of us when a couple of bumps were encountered. She was a huge help.

3. Don't settle for photographers/videographers that you do not love or feel comfortable with. They are recording your entire day for you and trust us, you will appreciate having someone who takes amazing photos and video because the day goes by so quickly. Samantha: I spoke with almost 15 different photographers before finding Amanda + Nate Howard with the Shalom Imaginative. We both feel so lucky to have found them because they didn't just document our day in an incredible way but they were like our partners and guides at different points during the day. They were with us every second and at times were the calming and reassuring presence we needed.

4. It is never too late to change your mind but it might make it a little more stressful. Samantha: I wanted a short, 50's style wedding dress. I bought a wedding dress that I didn't love from David's Bridal because I felt pressured by the sales people. They told me I was running out of time and would not be able to get a dress if I waited any longer so I bought one. I never actually loved it. About a month before the wedding I decided to try to find a dress I loved and started working with Dolly Couture and Whirling Turban, two dress companies who make custom vintage dresses. The companies were both amazing to work with and tried everything they could on very short notice to find me or make me a dress. In the end, neither company could make me the custom dress I wanted with such short notice but Dolly Couture found one that someone had returned that could be altered to fit me. It was the exact style I wanted and I loved it. The lesson is that you should not settle for something that you don't love.

5. Remember to take a deep breath at some point and take a look around just to take it all in. Your wedding day and wedding night will fly by and before you know it you will look at each other and wonder, "Did that just really happen?". At times we feel like it was just a dream, but if it was then it is an amazing dream that we hope to have forever.

photography + videography: The Shalom Imaginative Documentary Media // venue: Preisker Park in Ellsworth, Kansas // event design + planning: Samantha Finke-Johnson (bride) // wedding dress: Dolly Couture in Los Angeles, CA // hairpieces: Vintage // hair + makeup: Julie Connolly at The Hairstream // catering: Rollin Taco’s Food Truck // music: Memphis Soul // wardrobe stylist: Malina Heinemann, Kansas City, KS // day of wedding coordinator: Jesterbird Events // rehearsal venue: Kanopolis Drive-In Movie Theatre

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  1. Well if this isn’t the cutest, most colorful celebration I ever did see – Such a great wedding venue! I am in love!

  2. 100% AMAZING!
    Super fun and adorable colours, theme, details, food and obviously, people! This is what a wedding should be about – fun & celebration – great job!

  3. This would be a dream wedding to shoot. I love all of the gorgeous details and the theme is awesome.

  4. Such a fun theme! They seem to have had a great time.

  5. Love, love, love all the color!

  6. great job. really a great wedding that showcase all their own personalities, so unique & different!

  7. Can all weddings be this gorgeous and fun please? LOVE the 50s styling, fun colours and creative use of the bunting. Blooming brilliant! Congrats Sam & Travis
    *Pintrest fest*

  8. Wow! What a stunning, stunning wedding! Love it- so creative.

  9. I love the variation of colors used. It is so refreshing! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Great theme. Looks like such fun!

  11. Way to represent Kansas! Samantha looked so classically beautiful, I really loved her whole look.

  12. Hi! Your pics & wedding story are beautiful. My sister has the same ideas for her wedding this June. Would you be willing to rent your decorative triangle strands if you still have them? We are very interested. Thanks!


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