Mardi Gras is upon us. This special time of year in New Orleans is defined by a cacophony of colors, frivolity, and joviality. The seriousness of the day-to-day grind is turned upside down, while gaiety of spirit and lightness of attitude comes marching through in celebration.
Mardi Gras possesses a perennial nature. Though carnival season shines out in the winter, it’s an occasion that transcends seasonality, unlike widely celebrated holidays like Halloween and Christmas. Known for its boisterousness mirth, the theme of ‘Mardi Gras’ can be loud. It’s a popular event motif, but some may want to include the spirit of Carnival without going full purple, green, and gold.
Fortunately, the most wondrous time of the year can be tastefully incorporated into your next event without going full jester-in-a-bell-lined-hat:
Carnival Symbols: Mask & Crown
Where the fleur-de-lis is the most recognizable symbol of Louisiana, when it comes to Mardi Gras, two of the most identifiable symbols are the mask and crown.
Masks have long held a deep connection to the image of Carnival, stretching back to Venetian Mardi Gras or Carnevale, where society would join together in all measures of levity before the Lenten Season. Masquerades would serve as the great equalizer, as even servants in costume could be mistaken for noblemen.
The crown is only a slightly more contemporary symbol of Mardi Gras. It adorns doubloons, beads, and other trinkets. Most notably, the crown is associated with the King of Carnival himself, Rex.
Both mask and crown symbols can be effortlessly incorporated into your event through placement on invitations, napkins, and signage. Masks and small crowns for your guests can also act as memorable favors.
New Orleans-based Scriptura, is the go-to studio for stationery and party essentials. Scriptura’s exquisite Mardi Gras invitations and stationery incorporate one or both symbols flawlessly. Be sure to check out their “couture” invitation creations, which are undoubtedly worth a starry-eyed look.
(Follow on Instagram: @scriptura_nola)
Include “Coveted” Items
There is no shortage of creativity at Mardi Gras. Most krewes create custom signature throws to bestow upon lucky recipients. Cleopatra designs special chalices, Nyx generously offers hand-decorated purses, highly-coveted glitter-bedazzled shoes are gifts from Muses, and perhaps the greatest catch of them all: the legendary hand-painted Zulu Coconuts.
The magic of these krewes is embodied in their ability to take something completely ordinary and transform it into an almost-holy-grail-like prize. Create your own one-of-a-kind centerpieces or table details out of ordinary items, such as vases, lanterns, or frames. Fundraising? Convert those items into money-raised by raffling or auctioning off them off at the end of your event.
Like the idea, but not interested in whipping out the hot glue gun and going the gems and feather route? Consider artists that offer tasteful attention-grabbing items.
Paper Gems Co. takes creativity to the next level with hand-painted champagne bottles. Owner Sofia Ungarino bedecks each bottle with anything from monograms, vines, and special dates, to pet portraits and quotes. Check out these one-of-a-kind creations on the Paper Gems Co. Instagram.
(Follow on Instagram: @paper_gem_co)
Illuminate the Darkness
There’s a slight tremor of anticipation when you’re awaiting the roll of a night parade. Suddenly, everyone in the crowd is awake and alive as they see, marching down the street, bobbing to either side, a procession of flames, held up by their keepers: the flambeaux. It’s truly a unique Mardi Gras tradition steeped in history, necessity, and early American class structure.
Apart from these keepers-of-the-flame, Mardi Gras is also defined by the illumination of night parades. Neon lights enflame the sparkle and color of each parade. All-female night-riding krewes play up this caliginosity by creating elaborate lit-up headdresses to match the theme of their given float.
For any event, light done right can create a jovial atmosphere while also cultivating an air of mystery and extending depth to any corner. New Orleans Candlelight Events embodies this approach with fabulously luminous creations. Light up a floral display, pair candles with mirrors, or hang lanterns to enhance the ambiance of your space.
(Follow on Instagram: @neworleanscandlelightevents )
Mardi Gras is a boisterous celebration of color, sound, and light. It’s traditions and iconography transcend the solemnity of ordinary life. With a convivial spirit, mixed with an air of intrigue, you can easily enliven your next event with the spirit of Carnival.
The Burgundy House is the perfect place to host your next special event, private dinner, or wedding. The Burgundy House also offers three luxurious accommodations for all your event needs. Click here to schedule your tour today! You can also follow The Burgundy House on Instagram: @the_burgundy_house.