Mardi Gras is one of the biggest celebrations in the world. The holiday is celebrated by people across the globe, and most notably in New Orleans, Louisiana—where Mardi Gras traditions reign supreme.
As a cultural phenomenon that’s loved by many, what could be a more perfect theme for your wedding day—a day in which you celebrate your bond with your partner?
Commemorate love by taking a page from this incredible tradition. Between the whimsical decorations, the fun attire, and the delicious food—you won’t regret throwing a Mardi Gras themed wedding.
Here’s everything you need to know to pull off the perfect event.
The clothing and accessories of Mardi Gras are some of its most notable elements. By incorporating jewels, feathers, and the right color scheme, your wedding attire will turn heads in perfect Mardi Gras fashion (pun intended).
The theme of royalty is common among Mardi Gras celebrations, and crowns are a perfect way to embody this stylish component. Have the bride wear a simple gold tiara with a few purple or green hints to have her feeling like the ultimate Mardi Gras queen.
Crowns can also be used for photographs. Have the married couple do a royalty-themed shoot for a fun twist on traditional wedding pictures.
Masquerade face coverings are a staple of Mardi Gras attire. While you may not want to head down the aisle wearing a mask, you can certainly incorporate some masquerade wedding attire into your Mardi Gras-themed wedding.
Have guests wear masks on the dance floor to liven up the reception. Either provide masks at the tables or let guests know on the invitations that they’re welcome to choose their own before the big day. Your loved ones will have fun picking out the perfect mask to match their outfit—it’s not every day you get to shop for a masquerade ball.
Like the crowns, you can also incorporate the masks into your wedding photoshoot. Don’t be afraid to get playful with this theme.
Mardi Gras is anything but a serious affair—it’s a time to have fun!
If you want an authentic Mardi Gras-themed wedding, you have to incorporate the traditional colors into your decor.
Traditional Mardi Gras colors are:
This color scheme will come together beautifully and work wonders for the wedding attire. Put groomsmen in a dark shade of purple for a unique twist on their tuxedos. Dark green bridesmaids' dresses with gold shoes and jewelry is another stunning way to incorporate the traditional hues.
Don’t stop your dedication at the attire. For a truly Mardis Gras-themed wedding, you’ll want to incorporate the bright wedding colors and the carnival aesthetic into all parts of your big day. The different places you can incorporate this theme into the wedding decor include:
Table Settings: The tables at the reception are a great place to show off decorative choices. Wrap purple napkins around gold cutlery for a tasteful inclusion of the Mardis Gras shades. Place candles in green holders with gold details to add colorful illumination to each table. Draped beaded necklaces over name cards as a fun party favor for guests.
Lighting and Drapery: Hang purple fabric from the walls and ceiling for an elegant touch of Mardis Gras color. Incorporate purple and green into the dance floor’s lighting setup, while highlighting tables with a soft golden glow. This will create a clear distinction between the dinner and dancing portions of the evening.
Bouquets and Centerpieces: Use hydrangeas and yellow roses for a beautiful combination of purple and gold in your flower arrangements. Add a touch of green with oversized leaves to tie everything together. Your centerpieces don’t have to stop at flowers, either. Stick the Mardis Gras landing by incorporating feathers and jewels in the centerpieces, as well.
The Big Easy is known for its unique (and delicious) cuisine, and a Mardi Gras-themed wedding wouldn’t be complete without a menu to match.
If you’re going to cater your big day with a cajun flair, you have to do it right. Thankfully, there are a ton of options to choose from for traditional New Orleans food—from big plates to little bites, they don’t call it Fat Tuesday for anything.
Here are some ideas of what to feed guests at your Mardis Gras-themed wedding:
Chicken Creole: Every wedding needs a chicken dish for the picky eaters, but a Mardis Gras-themed wedding would never allow something bland or boring. Chicken Creole is a classic dish that embodies all the delicious flavors found in cajun food. With peppers, tomato, and of course, celery—seasoned with an array of spices for a true NOLA kick—chicken creole is going to be a favorite among guests.
Cajun Shrimp: No place does shellfish better than the gulf. Shrimp is a great choice for a wedding menu because it’s versatile. For a seafood entree, use shrimp in a tomato-based skillet with corn, onions, and wild rice. Shrimp is also a great finger food to offer during cocktail hour. Serve it with some spicy dipping sauce and a fresh squeeze of lemon for a classic appetizer.
Hush Puppies: Hush puppies are a Southern favorite, and the perfect small bite for a Mardi Gras-themed reception. The recipe for hush puppies is simple—deep-fry balls of cornmeal batter. The result is a cute, easy to eat sphere of savory goodness.
Jambalaya: Another staple of Mardi Gras cuisine, Jambalaya combines rice, smoked meat, seafood, and flavorful stock. Use andouille smoked sausage for the perfect cajun flavor.
Po’Boy Sliders: For a smaller take on the juicy Louisiana sandwich, serve seafood or roast beef po’boys on bite-sized buns. These will make another fun appetizer for the cocktail hour.
Cocktails and Mardi Gras are practically inseparable. While letting loose with a few drinks during a Mardi Gras celebration is normal, you don’t want guests throwing back any old drink. Keep cocktail hour in line with your theme by offering traditional New Orleans cocktails that will transport your guests right to the cobblestone streets of the French Quarter.
Sazerac: A sazerac is a drink almost as old as drinking itself. The name comes from the famous Sazerac Coffee House in New Orleans, which served up whiskey drinks under the radar. Mix Sazerac brand rye, Peychaud’s bitters, Herbsaint liqueur, and simple syrup to make this famous beverage.
Daiquiris: Daiquiris in big mugs can be found in the hands of many Mardi Gras celebrators down in New Orleans. Blend rum, ice, sweetener, and whatever fruit flavoring you want to make this scrumptious, frozen cocktail.
Milk Punch: Milk punch is an alcoholic milkshake, and it’s also a staple in New Orleans. In a blender, combine vanilla ice cream, honey, cinnamon, and of course bourbon for a sweet, creamy drink that will have guests feeling like they’re celebrating right on Bourbon Street.
What’s a true Mardi Gras event without the classic king cake?
King cake is brown sugar and cinnamon flavored cake that’s typically baked into a circular shape. A king cake is often decorated with frosting and sprinkles in the Mardi Gras colors—gold, purple, and green. While traditional king cakes typically have a rustic look to them, you may want to amp up the decorations if you’ll be serving this on your special day.
Add Height: Have the bakery stack several layers of king cake on top of one another for a classic wedding cake shape.
Soften the Colors: The decorator can adorn the cake with a white- or Champagne-colored fondant.
Icing With Mardi Gras Colors: The fondant can then be painted with delicate frosting patterns in green and purple.
Give It Some Pizazz: If you want to drive the Mardi Gras theme home, add decorative beads and even some feathers to the layers.
The tradition of a king cake is to hide a tiny, baby figurine somewhere inside it. Whoever gets the piece with the figurine is pronounced “King” for the day and is put in charge of providing the cake on Mardi Gras the following year.
If you want to keep things traditional, feel free to incorporate the baby figurine—however, no matter who finds it, the true royalty of the day is going to be you and your new spouse.
Your love is worthy of a celebration as big as Bourbon Street on Fat Tuesday. Take your favorite elements from Mardis Gras festivities and add them wherever you please. Your wedding day is all about you, and if a larger than life Mardis Gras theme is what you want, then don’t be afraid to go all out.
Follow the color scheme, add a little bling, and don’t forget to have fun. Your Mardi Gras-themed wedding is sure to be a celebration guest will never forget.
And to make life before the wedding simple, don’t forget to team up with your wedding-planning, Mardi Gras-celebrating partner, Zola, for all your wedding needs.