5 Tips to Planning a Mardi Gras Masquerade

Mardi Gras 2013 is approaching quickly and while you may not be taking a trip to the Big Easy, you can certainly celebrate with a party of your own. Mardi Gras is all about music, dancing, culture, and simply letting go and having a great time. What better way to celebrate these time-honored traditions than with a Mardi Gras masquerade party? Read on to see our five easy tips to guide you in planning the biggest bash of the year.

Pick a theme.Mardi Gras, or in other parts of the world, Carnival, is a widely celebrated occasion that is enjoyed by a variety of countries and cultures. The most popular variations of Mardi Gras include Brazil’s celebration in Rio de Janeiro; Carnevale in Venice, Italy; and, of course, the Mardi Gras that takes over the French Quarter in New Orleans. You can add character to your Mardi Gras party by recreating one of these major celebrations in your own hometown. By choosing a theme, you can give your party the feel of an entirely different city and culture.
Send out invites. The party of the year deserves to be announced in style. Electronic invites will do the trick if you are looking for something quick and simple for a casual event. If you’re hosting something on a grander scale, you can opt for a handmade or formal invitation via traditional snail mail. We’ve pinned some of the cutest invitation ideas on our Bal Masque Pinterest board. Remember to incorporate your theme into your invite and let everyone know if there is to be a dress code. For example, you can have everyone come dressed as they would if they were part of the parade, with Mardi Gras costumes and masks. Be sure to also briefly highlight anything special you may have lined up for the evening, like a costume or mask contest. Lastly, let everyone know if you’ll be providing masquerade masks or if it’s “BYOM.”
Choose the music. Choosing the right music is very important for getting your guests in the right mood for the evening.  You may want to think about the scale of your party and how you want the music to play in with the crowd. Create a playlist based on the theme of your party. With your selection, you can transport your guests to the streets of New Orleans with some Jazz or a party in Brazil with some Samba. Regardless of the theme and genre, though, upbeat and energetic is the way to go!
Food and drinks. To allow guests to move around freely through the night, hors d’oeuvres are ideal. Give guests a regional taste with Cajun-inspired recipes or Italian fare. Real Simple has a party food and beverage calculatorthat makes planning extremely simple. Based on your estimate of attendees, you’ll be able to figure out how much food and drink to provide, and then you can work on your grocery list. A couple of varietals of wine and beer will satisfy most of your guests, but if you’d like to provide cocktails, versatile liquor such as Vodka or Rum and a few juices and soda can keep things lively throughout the evening. Don’t forget the napkins, plates, cups and cutlery!
Decorations. Streamers, table cloths, and party décor are things that are easily found at your local party store. For those extra special touches, you can thank Pinterest and a slew of amazing DIY blogs for some incredible (and free) Mardi Gras printables! Printables are great for labeling the food and beverages and making them more accessible to your guests. You may want to also consider a decorative backdrop in traditional Mardi Gras colors for your bar and buffet areas to make the party more festive. For centerpieces, vases decorated with flowers, feathers, beads and masquerade masks will fit perfectly with any Mardi Gras theme.
Now that you’ve got the wheels in motion, you can get ready to party in style! For the finishing touch, the beloved host needs a great mask. Shop at PureCostumes.com for the most stylish selection of masquerade masks and prepare for a truly memorable event.

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