Nothing beats the winter doldrums like throwing a fabulous Mardi Gras theme party! Here are some of our favorite ideas to help you plan a fabulous celebration.
Let the good times roll, or as they say in Louisiana, “Laissez les bon temps rouler!” Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday” and is the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season. However, in New Orleans the Mardi Gras Carnival season starts on January 6th and is celebrated with two months of parades, festivals, and 24 hours a day of great music. Now that’s a party! You might choose to have your party on the Saturday before Mardi Gras so everyone can enjoy themselves without worrying about their weekday schedule.
Mardi Gras Theme Party Invitations
Mask Invitations — Costumes and masks are customary at traditional Mardi Gras theme parties. Set the tone for a festive evening by attaching your party information on a decorative tag to beautiful party masks, or send each guest a plain half mask and ask them to decorate it for the party.
Beads and Trinkets Invitations — Encourage outlandish costumes for your party by asking your guests to wear “feathers, fringe, and fabulous finery.” Include some fun beads and trinkets with your invitation in a padded envelope.
You can always find lots of great online party invitations with a free RSVP manager at Evite,
Here are some fun Mardi Gras invitations that can help make your party feel special before it even starts!
Masquerade Ball Invitations
Mardi Gras Personalized Invitations
**General Invitation Tips** — If you choose to make your own invitations, don’t forget to include the date, location, and time of your party. It is also helpful to put the host’s name, RSVP by date, and either your phone number or email. Since this is a Mardi Gras party theme, your guests should definitely be encouraged to dress up, or at the very least wear the mask or beads from their invitations!
Mardi Gras Theme Party Decorations
Mardi Gras Party Supplies from Shindigz.com
Mardi Gras is a celebration of excess, so go crazy with your decorations. Traditional colors are purple, green, and gold. Use balloons, streamers, confetti, and swags of gossamer fabric in these colors and you will be well on your way to creating a Mardi Gras atmosphere!
Here are some other decoration ideas:
Accent your tables with feathered Mardi Gras masks
Drape carnival beads over chairs, on tables, and anywhere else you can think of.
Create large banners on butcher paper or poster board with typical Fat Tuesday sayings such as, “Let the Good Times Roll”, “Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler!”, or “Throw Me Something, Mister!”
Make mock street signs from some of New Orleans’ most famous landmarks, such as “Bourbon Street,” “St. Charles Avenue,” or “The French Quarter.”
Put out symbols of New Orleans, like musical instruments, rubber alligators, or travel posters
Use votive candles or lanterns to honor the tradition of the flambeaux (or lanterns) that were used to light the early Carnival parades.
Mardi Gras Theme Party Activities
Keep the good times rolling with some great party activities!
Greet your guests with an assortment of “good” beads. These are bigger and more elaborate than the ones used for decorating and are highly coveted during Mardi Gras. Encourage your guests to trade among themselves or earn them with some “dirty” dancing.
Have a costume contest and give out awards for the best costume, the funniest, the most original, etc.
Consider crowning a King and Queen of Mardi Gras either by random drawing or by vote based on costume, number of beads earned, best dancing, or whatever criteria you choose.
Set up a photo backdrop where your guests can get photographed in their finery. These photos make great souvenirs and treasured remembrances.
Make your party a blow-out ball! Set up a dance area to get things hopping. Mardi Gras theme parties should be loud, raucous, and fun! Make a playlist of great Cajun Zydeco and New Orleans jazz music and let ‘er roll. Here are some musical suggestions:
- The Big Easy Soundtrack
- Mardi Gras! by Queen Ida and her Zydeco Band
- All-Time Cajun Zydeco Dance Favorites (various)
- Mardi Gras in New Orleans (various)
- Live at Tipitina’s, 1982, Neville Brothers
Mardi Gras Menu
New Orleans is not only famous for its music, but also for its food! Here are some traditional menu options:
- Shrimp Creole
- Seafood Gumbo
- Red Beans and Rice
- Po’ Boy Sandwiches
- Festive Drinks, especially Hurricanes, Mardi Gras Punch, and New Orleans Gin Fizzes
- King Cake (Iced in Mardi Gras colors and baked with a plastic baby inside. Whoever gets the piece with the baby is predicted to have a year of good luck!)
Send off your guests with a special souvenir of the day. Here are some suggestions for Mardi Gras party favors:
- Party masks (See invitations)
- Beads and Trinkets (see invitations, decorations, and activities)
- Photos (see activities)
- Racy Lingerie or Silk Scarves
- Plastic Doubloons
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