Because of the energy, bright colors, music and “more the merrier” mentality, Mardi Gras themed parties are some of the most fun to plan, decorate and attend. The tradition of “Let the good times roll” should be the overall feeling and inspiration for your party.
A few years ago I threw a work party with a Mardi Gras theme for around 120 people. I was on a very tight budget so I did a lot of online shopping and research, created my own centerpieces, and found ways to add a few extras on a small budget. In this podcast I’ll talk about some of the things I did for this party and share some great ideas I found online.
So, what is Mardi Gras?
Mardi Gras (or Carnival) is the celebration between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday (the beginning of lent). Biggest day of Mardi Gras is Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, is celebrated with parties, parades, music and food.
Let’s party! Where to start:
The colors of Mardi Gras are
- Purple (for Justice)
- Green (for Faith)
- Gold (for Power)
- This is also an easy choice…New Orleans Jazz, play it loud and proud! Check out the Preservation Hall Jazz Band for some great New Orleans jazz.
Stick with traditional cajun and creole dishes with lots of spice and flavor
- Cajun Red Beans and Rice
- Po’Boy and muffuletta sandwiches
- Étouffée (eh too fey)
- King Cake – beware of the choking hazard if you include the (food grade safe) toy baby inside
The official cocktail of the City of New Orleans is the Sazerac which contains
- Rye whiskey
- Anise liqueur
- Simple syrup
- Use your colors in everything! Purple, Green and Gold
- Use lots of sparkle! Metallic, glitter, shiny, the brighter the better
- Use lots of beads and masks
- Use purple, green, and gold linens/tablecloths (if doing a large sit down dinner with many tables, alternate the colors on the tables and the napkins at the place settings)
- Napkins, plates, cups in mardi gras colors
- Use gold chargers under the plates for more formal sit down dinner
- Create a centerpiece for the table. I was on a very tight budget, so I bought all my supplies online and made the following:
- I used an upside down top hat covered in glitter for the base
- In the bottom I added some weight and dry floral foam, then filled to overflowing with metallic beads (use different sizes)
- Two feather masks on each side, back to back, stuck into the foam
- Above the masks (also stuck into the foam) double sided comedy/tragedy faces (metallic in three colors)
- Balloon arrangement (tied and weighted in center between masks in mardi gras colors)
- Noise makers and extra beads around centerpiece
- Votives /candles to add ambience (beware of fire near feathers!)
- Other centerpiece ideas that I found online:
- Use a small purple or gold christmas tree and decorate with fleur de lis, beads, masks, ball ornaments, metallic mesh, etc.
- Tall/thin eiffle tower vase with ostrich feathers in Mardi Gras colors
- Tall/large clear vases full of ornaments and beads surrounded by feathered masks, ribbon, beads of different sizes
- Entrance Way: Wreath on door or decorate entryway
- Mask table: premade and generic masks plus supplies if people want to make their own (feathers, glitter, beads, paint pens, fake gems, trim/cord, lace and quick drying glue)
- Use beads in decorating as well as have many available to give to guests to wear
- Have extra glitter top hats available to wear
- Paper lanterns from ceiling
- Colored lighting (string lights)
- Make extra large masks and hang on wall on picture hooks
- Make crowns for the King/Queen (who finds the baby in the King Cake)
- Fleur de lis (incorporate into wreath, centerpiece, other decorations, or on it’s own)
- Paper streamers (like at new years)
- Crepe paper streamers on ceiling
- Giant paper mache heads as a jester or comedy/tragedy (like a parade float)
- Make/buy some cardboard street lights to have around the room
- Create street signs for Bourbon Street, French Quarter, etc.
- Use Christmas tree ornaments in purple, green, gold as vase filler or hang as a garland
I hope you found some inspiration for creating your own Mardi Gras party and remember the most important part is to have fun and let the good times roll!!