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9 Steps for Hosting an Epic Mardi Gras-themed Party

Mardi Gras is more than just a party; it’s a holiday. Celebrations often start two weeks before Fat Tuesday — with parades, masked balls, and plenty of brass bands. And while New Orleans might be the “King Rex” of Mardi Gras celebrations, cities all over the world now host Mardi Gras events of their own, making it one of the most popular celebrations world-wide.

Such an elaborate, show-stopping event undoubtedly makes for a great party theme, no matter the time of year. Whether you’re looking to host a private dinner party or a corporate event, Mardi-Gras themed parties are bound to excite your guests. We’ve come up with 9 steps for hosting an epic Mardi Gras celebration. From finding a spectacular caterer (we’re thinking king cakes, jambalaya, and po’boys) to enlisting topnotch entertainment, we can’t wait to help you plan the party of your dreams.

1) Hire an Event Planner with a Big Vision

photographer: Riverview Photography 

Showpad’s New Orleans all-company kickoff meeting went above and beyond with a three-venue extravaganza planned by LadidadiXM. The night began with an on-theme cocktail reception, complete with costumed showgirls and a Second Line band. Next, guests enjoyed an awards dinner hosted at Mardi Gras World where real-life parade floats were incorporated into the décor. Not ready to end the party, guests moved onto the next venue—with one more chance to indulge in music, dancing, and exciting catering stations (Did someone say Bananas Fosters?).

photographer: Riverview Photography | planner: LadidadiXM | venue: Hotel Monteleone, Republic NOLA, & Mardi Gras World | caterer: Pigeon

2) Draw All Eyes With Instagrammable Décor

photo courtesy of JCD Atmospheric Studios

We could look at photographs of this Mardi Gras-themed holiday party all day long. While the soaring blow-up Mardi Gras jester definitely stole the show, we also love the Bourbon Street signage spelled out in Hollywood-style bulb lighting. A luxe lounge area with fleur-de-lis carpeting gave guests one more reason to hang around at this dynamic celebration.

venue: Palace of Fine Arts | décor: JCD Atmospheric Studios | caterer: Global Gourmet Catering

3) Add Glamour with Vibrant Lighting

photographer: American Image Gallery

LightenUp, Inc. transformed the Gas Lamp Quarter into a Mardi-Gras wonderland with fleur-de-fis projection mapping and colorful uplighting. Illuminated lounge areas and eye-catching geometric installations popped against the night sky. Our love for Mardi Gras beads tripled with one look at the gold, green, and purple string lights suspended overhead.

photographer: American Image Gallery | venue: Gas Lamp Quarter San Diego | planner: Russell Harris Event Group | audio visual: Above the Line | entertainment: Entertainment Plus Productions | lighting: LightenUp, Inc. | furniture: Hire Elegance | production & design: Russell Harris Event Group | entertainment: Champagne Creative Group

4) Bring Guests Together with Picture-Perfect Table Settings

photographer: Averyhouse

Nothing brings people together like a shared meal. This Fat Tuesday dinner party kept guests glued to their seats with such gorgeous tabletop décor. Windy City Linen’s marbled runners made a perfect backdrop for purple glassware, silver Mardi-Gras masks, and custom-vintage postcards from New Orleans. King cupcakes and other delicious treats were just the icing on the cake.

photographer: Averyhouse | linen: Windy City Linen |
florals, design, paperie, favors, designer: A Perfect Event | rentals: Tablescapes Event Rentals

5) Keep Spirits High with a Luxe Bar Setup

photographer: PixWeDo

This Mardi Gras-themed corporate event gave guests plenty of reasons to cheers, especially with such a glowing bar setup. A giant Bourbon Street sign and candelabras decked with peacock feathers were just a few of the dazzling details included at this celebration. Jambalaya stations and a raw seafood bar kept guests satisfied in true New Orleans style.

6) Serve Delicious (and On-Theme) Cuisine

photographer: Michael Jurick Photography

When it comes to planning a Mardi Gras-themed milestone birthday with mouthwatering cuisine, Anthony Taccetta Event Design was up to the task. In addition to passed bites, guests enjoyed po’boys, beignets, and spicy jambalaya. Cloth Connection gave celebrants one more reason (think beautiful table linens) to linger at the table and enjoy their meal.

photographer: Michael Jurick Photography | planner: Anthony Taccetta Event Design | dessert: Café du Monde | lighting: Levy Lighting | entertainment: Modern Gypsies | trolley: North Folk Trolley | catering: Peter Callahan Catering | production: Power Posse Productions | rentals: PTG Event Services | florals: Sag Harbor Florist | design/decor/floral: Anthony Taccetta Event Design | production: Untouchable Events | linens: Cloth Connection | music: Hank Lane Music | rentals: Custom Rentals | rentals: Ruth Fischl Event Rental

7) Entertain Your Guests with Interactive Games

photographer: Chicago Casino Suppliers

What could make Mardi Gras even more entertaining? How about casino games? Chicago Casino Suppliers hit the jackpot with slot machines, craps, and roulette. Yellow, green, and purple balloons made for Instagram-worthy décor and (believe it or not) fashionable couture. 

8) Make Connections with Engaging Activities

photographers: Misti Layne

Entire Productions kept guests enraptured at this Mardi Gras-themed product launch with breathtaking décor, show-stopping entertainment, and unique activity stations. Various stations included face painting, tarot card reading, and even typewriter poets. Of course, guests also had the option of sitting back and letting the entertainment come to them. From a wine bike to stilt walkers, there was a lively performance at every turn.

photographer: Misti Layne | photographer: Jim Vetter Photography | photographer: Black Cat Photos | venue: The Bently Reserve | entertainment: Aerialist | floral: Amy Burke Designs | entertainment: Body Masterpiece | entertainment: Deco Belles |
entertainment: Drag Performance |
entertainment: Hella Fitzgerald | rentals: Ideas and Events | floral: Kimberly Itani Floral | entertainment: Lettering Artists | rentals: One True Love Rentalsentertainment: Tattoo Printers | entertainment: The Honor Brass Band | entertainment: The Zydeco Flames | entertainment: Typewriter Poets | entertainment: Walking Table Face-Paint Experience | entertainment: Wine Bike | rentals: Zim Balloons | entertainment: Entire Productions | rentals: La Tavola Fine Linen | rentals: Event Drape Rental | caterer: 49 Square Catering | dessert: The Dirty Cookie | av: JL IMAGINATION | rentals: Hensley Event Resources | print and letterpress: Dependable Letterpress | cocktail caterer: Best Beverage Catering

9) Get Guests on the Dance Floor

photographer: Michael Jurick Photography

This event was so good, it deserves a second mention. Hank Lane Music put on an incredible show at this milestone birthday party. Who needs a stage when you can have a Mardi Gras-themed dance floor with gold-stenciled fleur-de-lis? Fire dancers and dueling pianos also kept the party in full swing. 

photographer: Michael Jurick Photography |
planner: Anthony Taccetta Event Design | dessert: Café du Monde | lighting: Levy Lighting | entertainment: Modern Gypsies | trolley: North Folk Trolley | catering: Peter Callahan Catering | production: Power Posse Productions | rentals: PTG Event Services | florals: Sag Harbor Florist | design/decor/floral: Anthony Taccetta Event Design | production: Untouchable Events | linens: Cloth Connection | music: Hank Lane Music | rentals: Custom Rentals | rentals: Ruth Fischl Event Rental