Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday, is a festive season celebrated in many parts of the world, but most famously in New Orleans, Louisiana. This celebration, which usually takes place in February or March, is a time for feasting, dancing, and wearing colorful costumes and masks. So if you're looking to bring some of that fun and excitement into your own home, hosting a Mardi Gras themed party is the perfect way to do it. But where do you start? In this blog post, we'll outline 7 steps to help you plan an epic Mardi Gras themed party that your guests will remember. So let's get started and bring a little bit of the Big Easy to your next celebration!
1. Choose a Date and Time
The first step in planning an epic Mardi Gras themed party is to choose the correct date and time. When selecting a date, remember that Mardi Gras is traditionally celebrated on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which falls 47 days before Easter Sunday. However, you don't necessarily have to stick to this exact date. In fact, hosting your party a few days or even a week before or after Mardi Gras gives your guests more flexibility and makes it easier for you to plan.
Consider whether you want to host a daytime or evening party when choosing a time. For example, a daytime party could involve a parade or outdoor activities, while an evening party might include a more formal dinner or cocktail party. Think about your guests, what would work best for them, and what type of atmosphere you want to create.
It's also important to remember any other events or holidays happening around the same time. You don't want to schedule your party on the same day as a major sports event or during another big celebration in your community.
Once you've selected a date and time, send out invitations early to give your guests plenty of notice. This is especially important if you're hosting your party during a busy time of year, like the holiday season. With early planning and thoughtful consideration, you'll be on your way to hosting an epic Mardi Gras themed party that your guests will love.
2. Create the Guest List and Send Out Invitations
Once you have selected the date and time for your Mardi Gras themed party, it's time to create your guest list and send out invitations. Here are some tips to help you make your guest list:
- Start by determining how many people you can comfortably host in your space.
- Consider the theme of your party and who might enjoy it the most. Are you looking to host a family-friendly event or a more adult-focused gathering? Are there any friends or family members who have expressed interest in Mardi Gras in the past?
- Think about the mix of guests you'd like to invite. Do you want to invite a mix of ages, backgrounds, and interests, or do you want to keep your guest list more focused?
- Consider any dietary restrictions or special needs your guests may have. If you're serving food or drinks, provide everyone with options.
Here are some suggestions for Mardi Gras themed invitations:
- Use bright, bold colors like purple, green, and gold, which are the traditional Mardi Gras colors.
- Incorporate Mardi Gras symbols like masks, beads, or musical instruments.
- Consider sending out e-invites to save on costs and reduce waste, or make invitations using craft materials like glitter, ribbon, and sequins.
Be sure to include all the essential details in your invitations, including the date, time, location, dress code, and any special instructions.
3. Decorate your Space
No Mardi Gras themed party would be complete without the proper decorations to set the mood. Traditional Mardi Gras decorations are bright, bold, and festive and incorporate the traditional colors of purple, green, and gold. Here are some ideas for incorporating the Mardi Gras theme into your party space:
- Hang streamers, balloons, and banners in purple, green, and gold throughout your party space.
- Create a centerpiece for your table using a vase filled with Mardi Gras beads or feathers, or a traditional King Cake, a sweet cake made with cinnamon and decorated with green, purple, and gold icing.
- Set the mood with lighting using string lights or colorful LED candles to create a festive atmosphere.
- Incorporate Mardi Gras masks, feathers, and other props throughout your space to encourage guests to get into the spirit of the party.
- Use traditional New Orleans symbols like fleur-de-lis, saxophones, or jester hats in your decorations.
4. Plan the Menu
A key component of any successful party is the food and drinks you serve. When it comes to a Mardi Gras themed party, there are plenty of traditional foods and beverages to choose from. Here are some ideas for incorporating the Mardi Gras theme into your menu:
- Serve traditional New Orleans dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, red beans, and rice.
- Make a traditional King Cake, a sweet cake made with cinnamon and decorated with green, purple, and gold icing.
- Set up a DIY po' boy sandwich station, where guests can create their own sandwiches using a variety of toppings and fillings.
- Serve classic Mardi Gras cocktails like hurricanes, Sazeracs, or Ramos gin fizzes.
- For non-alcoholic options, consider serving a variety of juices, sodas, and sparkling water. You can also create a fun mocktail using fruit juices and grenadine syrup.
Consider serving your dishes using disposable partyware like fancy plastic plates, disposable cups, and plastic utensils to make your party planning easier. This will not only make cleanup easier but also help reduce the risk of spreading germs.
5. Choose the Music
Music is an important part of any party, and a Mardi Gras themed party is no exception. Traditional Mardi Gras music is upbeat and lively, featuring a mix of jazz, blues, and funk. Here are some ideas for creating a playlist that will get your guests in the Mardi Gras spirit:
- Start with classic New Orleans jazz and blues songs from artists like Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino, and Dr. John.
- Include funk and soul songs from artists like The Meters, Allen Toussaint, and The Neville Brothers.
- Remember to include modern hits inspired by New Orleans and the Mardi Gras tradition.
To take your music selection to the next level, consider hiring a live band or DJ to provide the entertainment for the night. They can help create an authentic Mardi Gras atmosphere and keep the party going all night.
No matter what music you choose, be sure to set up a sound system appropriate for the size of your party space. You want to make sure that everyone can hear the music, but you don't want it to be so loud that it becomes overwhelming.
6. Plan Activities and Games
No party is complete without a few games and activities to keep guests entertained. For a Mardi Gras themed party, there are plenty of fun and festive options to choose from. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Set up a DIY mask-making station where guests can decorate their own Mardi Gras masks using feathers, glitter, and other fun materials.
- Organize a scavenger hunt that sends guests on a search for Mardi Gras themed items or clues hidden around your party space.
- Host a costume contest where guests can show off their best Mardi Gras inspired outfits.
- Set up a photo booth with Mardi Gras themed props like beads, hats, and feather boas.
- Play Mardi Gras inspired games like "Pin the Tail on the Alligator" or "Musical Chairs with a New Orleans Twist."
Consider offering prizes or favors for the winners or participants to make your activities even more fun. For example, Mardi Gras themed prizes could include beads, masks, or bottles of New Orleans hot sauce. Favors could include custom Mardi Gras cups, koozies, or small bags of traditional New Orleans snacks like pralines or Zapp's potato chips.
7. Dress Up and Have Fun!
The final step to hosting an epic Mardi Gras themed party is to let loose and have fun! Encourage your guests to dress up in their best Mardi Gras inspired outfits, which could include everything from colorful masks and beads to feathers and sequins. Some traditional Mardi Gras costumes include jester outfits, pirates, and alligator costumes.
As the host, it's essential to balance enjoying the party and ensuring everything runs smoothly. Here are some tips for doing just that:
- Plan ahead and make a schedule for the party so that you have a general idea of when to serve food, play games, and start winding down the night.
- Make sure to greet your guests when they arrive and introduce them to each other if necessary. This will help everyone feel welcome and comfortable.
- Consider hiring a bartender or having a designated drink server so that you can focus on hosting the party and mingling with your guests.
- Take time to enjoy the party yourself, but also check in with your guests periodically to ensure they're having a good time and don't need anything.
- Have a designated cleanup crew for after the party, so you don't have to worry about cleaning up everything yourself.
Whether you're hosting a small gathering or a large party, a Mardi Gras themed celebration is the perfect way to let your hair down, indulge in great food and drinks, and create memories that will last a lifetime. So get ready to let the good times roll and have an epic Mardi Gras party!