Nothing says “party” quite like Mardi Gras. You could wait for the actual event, or you could throw a Mardi Gras-themed celebration for another occasion, like a birthday or bachelorette party. No matter what the actual reason for the party, or which theme you choose, you’ll need one thing for sure—lots of energy.
Even though Mardi Gras is part of Carnival season that’s celebrated in countries around the world, it’s synonymous with New Orleans in the U.S., so incorporating Big Easy staples like Cajun cuisine (hello, jambalaya and beignets), jazz music and plenty of cocktails (such as the local favorite, Sazerac) is an obvious choice. Throw in some masquerade masks and plastic beads and you’ve got your photo booth props plus party attire all in one. On the other hand, if you want something a little more unique, there are definitely other options that are no less celebratory. No matter which theme you choose, you want to make sure to go big—Mardi Gras is definitely not the time to play it subtle.
The alcohol should be flowing; serve up plenty of indulgent eats; choose entertainment that’ll bring the soul (a live jazz bad would be killer, if you can swing it); and to really go all out, make it a costume party. The key objective is to let loose, indulge (after all, Mardi Gras takes place right before the start of Lent, on Fat Tuesday) and have uninhibited fun.
If costumes aren’t your jam, try masquerade masks. They’ll add some mystery and whimsy, without a ton of effort. (Read: You can still wear your normal clothes). For party activities, you could set up a DIY mask area, or craft homemade beaded necklaces. Whether you want to pay tribute to NOLA, or try something less expected, these Mardi Gras party themes and ideas won’t disappoint.
Obvious, but needs to be said. This is Mardi Gras, so go with a classic Mardi Gras theme. Channel the New Orleans streets with a live jazz band, set up a cocktail bar with local drinks, serve beignets and zesty Cajun eats like gumbo, and have plenty of plastic beads and masks on hand for your guests to dress up.
If you want something a little more elegant than a night on Bourbon street, opt for a masquerade theme. Make the dress code black tie, and swap the jazz band for a string quartet. A cheese and charcuterie table allows for easy eats while donning a mask all evening, then decorate with plenty of rich jewel tones, or a black and metallic palette.
This is how you do a relaxed Mardi Gras, while still totally getting into the spirit. You’re going to need to splurge on live music for this one, then when it comes to food, go simple with a raw bar. Keep the champagne flowing, and it’s about as classy as a Mardi Gras party could ever get.
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