It’s that time of year again. The time when people from all over the world travel to New Orleans for parades, music, partying, and making memories they may very well never even remember. While many people want to make this journey and partake in these festivities, not everyone has the opportunity.
Who says you need to be in New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras? Why not throw your own party? In fact, creating your own party means that you can invite who you want, chow down on the food you choose, all while partying in your own backyard – close to the conveniences of home. What could be better?
First, clear space in your backyard and rent your clearspan tent. Then, keep reading:
You are going to want to send out invites to those you want to share your Mardi Gras event with. The invites will allow you to keep everyone on the same page about the party’s happenings and what is requested from guests. For instance, tell your guests to dress for the occasion and to bring their own masks and supply of beads for sharing.
To keep it fun and intriguing for your invitees, keep your invitations festive. Use sparkles and make them shine in colors of purple, green, and gold. Hint: Your invitation is going to be the first clue as to how thrilling your Mardi Gras party will be – so be bold and make it stand out!
Decorate Your Clearspan Tent
Here comes the fun stuff – decorating. You made the great decision to rent a clearspan tent, allowing you to have the freedom of openness for your guests to get wild and crazy. Now all you must do is transform your backyard and your tent into Mardi Gras central. If you don’t know where to start, keep reading – we’ve got you covered.
- Stick to the festive colors green, purple, and gold. And make sure to add some sparkle.
- Use garland, tinsel, and balloons to decorate the area.
- Get table coverings, paper plates, napkins, and cutlery to match.
- You must have a sparkling disco ball.
- Decorate walls and poles with masks, Mardi Gras signs, all things jazz (such as music notes, saxophones, trumpets, etc.)
- String decorative lights throughout the tent and fly the Mardi Gras flag high and proud!
Use your imagination and check out your local party stores for ideas and decorations.
Dress for the Occasion
This is where the fun stuff comes in. You want to get your guests involved into playing the part to make your Mardi Gras party true to form. Idea: Entice your guests by letting them know in the invite that there will be an award for the best dressed.
Mardi Gras is all about having fun and letting loose. It is a time that you can go wild with your look, in a glitz and glamour sort of way. Sequined dresses or gowns for the ladies and suits for guys are the top ideas for attending a party. Keeping your outfits within the color scheme is also recommended. For example, wearing a sequined purple suit would fit in perfectly!
Masks are also a big hit with party-goers. Years ago, these decorative masks allowed guests to mingle in an incognito manner – overriding the constraints of different societal classes. Nowadays, the masks are worn because they are just part of the culture. You can decorate your own or buy masks from party or masquerade stores. Whatever you do, make sure you include feathers!
Beads are perhaps the biggest symbol of Mardi Gras these days. The colors, purple, gold, and green have a historical meaning – purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power – and were initially meant to be thrown to those in the crowd who exhibit the meaning of the colors. Now, not so much. Beads get tossed for various reasons and are a staple of any Mardi Gras party.
The Sounds of New Orleans
Music is HUGE in New Orleans – and that also goes for Mardi Gras celebrations. You have a ton of people at your party that you want to entertain, keep them moving, and keep their spirits high. You can do that with the perfect Mardi Gras playlist. It must include:
- Louis Armstrong’sWhen the Saints Go Marching In
- Al Johnson’s Carnival Time
- The Hawketts Mardi Gras Mambo
- Earl King’s Street Parade
It doesn’t have to be perfect. Any Jazz, Cajun, or pop music will do the trick to keep your guests smiling. Don’t forget to plug in those speakers and sound system – then kick it up a notch!
Classic Mardi Gras grub and cocktails
New Orleans uses flavors of Cajun and Creole to spice up the party. You absolutely cannot have a Mardi Gras party without gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish, and hush puppies. Let’s not forget the king cake – the delicious cream cheese cinnamon sweet cake with a little plastic baby hidden inside. Yes, you read that right – a plastic baby hidden within the cake. While you want to be sure not to choke, if you get the slice with the hidden baby it is supposed to symbolize prosperity.
Cocktails are also a big part of the celebration. Here are a few of the most popular mixed drinks:
- The Hurricane: a powerful drink of fruit juices mixed with two types of rum.
- A Ramos gin fizz: this is a classic in New Orleans created by Henry C Ramos. It is a gin fizz combined with egg whites and orange flower water.
- Southern Comfort: on the rocks or any way, shape, or form. This liquor is a staple in New Orleans.
If you combine each of these elements under your rented clearspan tent, you will create a Mardi Gras party that is so memorable, many of your guests may wonder if they are really in your backyard or if they have been transported to the Big Easy. Cheers!