Carnival theme wedding was outta sight

One late weekday evening I received one of my most memorable bridal client calls. Ashley, the bride to be, was such a delight to talk to. In fact, I think we spent over an hour talking.

Ashley and I talked about her great ideas of having a carnival themed wedding at a rustic venue she had reserved for her October wedding.  The more we talked the more I learned I had the pleasure of speaking with an artist, not just a bride. Although Ashley had plans to create and supply many items to make the event unique, she needed that extra boost of confidence in a vendor who “got it” and understood her vision.  Of course, I was just to be the DJ who wouldn’t play songs like “YMCA” or “Celebration”; but how could I resist not wanting to help plan the whole event!

I was so happy to see eye-to-eye with Ashley since I knew this event would be a riot to produce.  She hired me over the phone and I immediately created a vision board and sent her my ideas.  Ironically, her shared Pinterest board looked just like what I sent over.  We were on the same page from the get-go.  Ashley and I were off and running!  This was to be Rock Out Entertainment’s greatest wedding planning project.

-Owner, Wayne A. Kinney

The event design comes together:

Ashley and her rockstar fiancé (now husband of course) Jeremy, pride themselves around their fun and unique coupled individuality and creative style.  In our opinion at Rock Out Entertainment, planning a wedding is always just that; individuality.   Working with both Ashley and Jeremy was a familiar process but by no means, run-of-the-mill.  There were numerous emails, shared posts and pins, voicemails, text messages, spreadsheets (Ashley is an accountant by trade, ya know!), and a few face-to-face powwows with the family.    Ashley and Rock Out Entertainment picked out the forks, plates, chairs, linens, glassware, menu, etc. etc. etc.  It’s  a labor of love when the venue is literally, a warehouse.

Oh, the family!

How lucky we were to have worked with this family.   What a fun-loving, excited and creative family.  Did I mention creative?!  Check out the items Ashley’s father designed and built!

The 9′ custom-made bar served up drinks perfectly.  Outfitted to match the rustic appeal, Tom (a.k.a. “Bug”) outdid himself mastering each detail right down to the fully-functional lanterns you see on either up-right of the hand-painted bar.  The entire bar is made of wood and metal with a custom antique paint job and hand-detailed signage.  Caster wheels helped wheel in the unit and the bottom and top half come apart for even more ease of transportation.  You can see it displayed the premium beverage bar superbly.

Rustic and antiqued to appear vintage, the bar was a guest favorite.


The over-sized bench (once again made by Ashley’s father Bug) was a great perch for the relic trunk he refinished into a card box.  The small slot on top allowed guests to drop their cards right into the prop itself!

The over-sized wooden bench was constructed by Ashley’s father. Also, the relic trunk was refinished to become the card box.


A favorite design aspect created by Bug were not very large at all. For instance, the cake was a collaboration between Ashley and Bug. The cake topper was purchased from a professional baker.  However, to help minimize costs and pull off a totally unique design, Bug and Ashley built the layers themselves (wood and fondant).  The best part was the lil’ carousel horse inside…it was battery powered! 

Not to mention the custom-made wooden ticket table numbers, rustic ticket booth, ticket holders, sweet table decor, cupcake station design.  The family was DIY to the max!

Not done yet: 

Months before the wonderful props from the family were brought in, Ashley and Wayne worked out setting the stage for the venue.  Ashley simply said, “I want it to look like they’re walking into a big top tent.”

Utilizing a production mindset, Rock Out Entertainment’s lighting supervisor went all out.  A number of fixtures were brought in to facilitate the 3rd floor reception. (The venue’s old factory shop lights were not exactly on a dimmer and therefore couldn’t help planned transitions throughout the night.)  Rock Out Entertainment took to the ladders!  Our lighting and effects delivered a great deal of ambiance and more control for this grand occasion.

“Step right up!”

In addition to the great lighting, crisp sound throughout the huge space was very important. Although most of the big box sound was near the DJ helm and dance-floor,  additional speakers were flanked the entire space totaling 12 speakers, 4 sub-woofers, well over 600′ of cabling nearing 3000watts of power. (NOTE:  The venue is a wonderful relic but a bit limited to say the least.  Three site-surveys prior the event were necessary to test the capacity of electricity. Behind the scenes, there were cables pulling power from all angles!)

Don’t forget the onsite ceremony on the 2nd floor; an adequate sound system with music playback and wireless microphones allowed the 150+ guests to hear everything perfectly.

…couldn’t do this show alone:

Rock Out Entertainment called in some outside vendors to make the space and event as a whole, become “vintage carnival” as directed by the bride-to-be.


  • Bales of hay offered rustic seating for guests in the 2nd Floor of the venue.
  • Deep red velvet drapery with gold accents treated the ceremony backdrop.


Cocktail Hour:

  • A rustic aluminum and wood bar would serve up drinks.
  • Waitstaff would pass lavish yet rustic themed hors d’oeuvres.
  • Vintage wine barrels top with glass would serve as the cocktail tables.
  • Bales of hay would be dressed for bench seating.
  • A caricature artist would draw portraits of the guest.
  • An 8′ tall stilt walker would mingle with the guests.
  • A juggler would entertain not only with simple juggling tricks but with amazing balancing acts using props and fixtures within the venue itself.


  • Dinner offered up a great chicken and meat option with farm fresh style vegetables to really keep with the theme but being substantial enough for everyone to fill their tummies.
  • Ashley and her family put together the “sweet” tent. A small tent located right inside the room would be revealed after dinner.
  • The red and white drapery decorated the ceiling for the big-top look.
  • A photobooth, of course made to be carnival themed, made for some silly pics.
  • The caricature artist stayed overtime to make sure all the guests received a portrait.

The reception scene:


The 40’x140′ space is a 1900s automobile factory Henry Ford build.



Guests entered through tall red drapery.


300′ of fabric and bistro lights made the canopy of our “tent”.


Nightfall would allow for the overhead bistro string-lighting to take effect.  The depth of the space would be accentuated by the ambient perimeter lighting. Mysterious colors like deep purple and candle light amber-yellow helped the Tim Buron-esque appeal come through.

Unique designs swooped through the mingling crowd and highlighted the rafters and automobiles during dinner.


(6) 8′ truss were placed throughout the grand space with a 550 watt moving lighting fixture.  These lights delivered effects and functionality.

The grand entrance of the bridal party was illuminated with a spotlight as well each speech and special dance was highlighted so all the guests could see.

Party time was hype and lively as the room tone would become more vibrant and music engaged the crowd to dance.  A light fog would disperse near the DJ/dance-floor area to pick up all the beams of light.  12″ inch foam glow-sticks were a hit when handed out to the guests. Keeping up with the crowd was the only option for DJ Wayne.

Great picture of bride dancing with glow-sticks all around. (c) TOM FALCONE PHOTOGRAPHY

By the end of the event perspiring guests, hi-fives, hugs, broken glassware, and “one more song” cheers; were all great signs everyone had a blast at Ashley and Jeremy’s wedding. The guests and bridal party made their way to the street level for the hotel shuttles and the night would come to a close.

Rock Out Entertainment would pack up with the catering and venue staff. All of the goodies, homemade or rented, were packed nicely for pickup the next day.   Lights off, close the doors and a drive home…success!   What a great event to be a part of.

overlay LENZO


All-in-all the event was what many bloggers could call “rustic”, “vintage”, “carnival”, “circus”, “old-world”.  All true.

We call it Cabbage and Kings.

All the way.  Never to be outdone or duplicated and always treasured.  

Congrats to Mr. & Mrs. Ashley & Jeremy Lenzo!

Much love and Rock Out!, -Wayne A. Kinney, Rock Out Entertainment


Check out the write up in The Knot magazine



Final fun picture to share:

DJ Wayne made up to be Big Top Wayne!