Let the good times roll! The dating and the engagement have been so much fun, but now that the big day is here, you want to kick it up a notch and host an all out Mardi Gras bash!
Traditional colors for Mardi Gras are gold, green and purple, and those will set the perfect tone for your wedding. The bridal gown can be the traditional white, or consider something gold and sexy, or have some of the beading on your gown done in gold, purple or green. You can choose any one of the Mardi Gras colors for your attendants’ dresses, but it would be more fun to mix the colors. The deep purple and emerald green would be a gorgeous combination, and you could put your maid of honor in gold to set her apart from the rest of the wedding party. A traditional tuxedo is the way to go for your groom and the ushers, but look for accessories in Mardi Gras colors. There are also vests and ties in Mardi Gras themes – traditional harlequin patterns in all three colors; diamond pattern incorporating all three colors; and accessories that feature masks or beads.
You can find flowers in the Mardi Gras colors, or go with a single color flower, using ribbon to reflect your color choice. Hang beads from your bouquet or incorporate a small mask on a pick into the wedding flowers. All white or ivory flowers wrapped in gold ribbon would look stunning with gold Mardi Gras beads dripping down. Or you could incorporate feathers into your floral arrangements to add a fun Mardi Gras touch. Instead of having your flower girl drop petals as she walks down the aisle, give her a basket of doubloons to toss to either side as she walks ahead of you.
Mardi Gras is parade season in New Orleans, and one of the best ways to incorporate this into your theme is to parade from the ceremony to the reception. If the distance is too long, consider stopping your cars a block or two away from your reception location so you can parade into the reception hall. Have someone pass out parasols, balloons, confetti, and masks to your guests and instruct them to line the street as you parade up. You can have your attendants toss beads and doubloons as you go by. An authentic jazz band is a great accompaniment, but if that’s not possible, ask someone to carry a portable CD player to play “When the Saints Go Marching In” or another popular piece.
Your guests will marvel at your reception location if you transform it into Mardi Gras central. Carry the color theme through to the linens on the tables, and in place of flowers, you can place treasure chests filled with chocolate doubloons on each table. You can have these made so the coins are embossed with your names, initials, wedding date, or another short message. Use balloons as centerpieces, or Mardi Gras masks. And have plenty of beads on the tables, both in the decorations and for the guests to grab and put on.
The food at the party could have an authentic New Orleans flavor. There are many Cajun and Creole restaurants available, and caterers now can easily add some Cajun touches to their menu with proper notice. Foods that translate well to a crowd are a traditional gumbo, shrimp etouffee, or jambalaya; but you can also offer tiny po’ boy sandwiches or muffalettas as appetizers or boiled crawfish in season.
In addition to a brightly decorated wedding cake, where you can again incorporate the theme using beads and doubloons or masks, you should offer your guests King Cake. A King Cake is a traditional Mardi Gras sweet bread, braided and decorated with gold, purple and green sugars. Each one contains a plastic baby doll. The tradition says that the person who finds the baby in the King Cake is the one to host the Mardi Gras party the following year.
For a fun twist on tossing the bouquet, when your back is turned to all the single women, switch the bouquet with a handful of beads that you can toss over your shoulder for everyone to grab. The groom could then hand out parasols to all the single men and the whole group can parade around the room.
Favor your guests with small versions of the King Cake or cellophane wrapped beignets to enjoy once they are home and winding down from your amazing party. Even a small bag of chocolate doubloons will keep your wedding foremost in their minds.
However you choose to celebrate your Mardi Gras wedding, there is one phrase that should set the tone for the whole day. Laissez les bon temps roulez. Let the good times roll!
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