Mardi Gras Party Planning Checklist

Mardi Gras Party Planning Checklist

Milena Kukurekovic

Mardi Gras, also known as "Fat Tuesday," is a centuries-old celebration that takes place annually before the Christian season of Lent. It's a time to indulge in rich foods, lively music, and colorful costumes and to let loose before the more somber period of fasting and reflection. 

Planning a Mardi Gras party can be fun and exciting, but with so many details to consider, it can also be overwhelming. That's why we've put together this Mardi Gras Party Planning Checklist to help you stay organized and ensure your celebration is a success. From setting the date to choosing the menu, decorations, and entertainment, this checklist covers all the essential elements of a memorable Mardi Gras party. So let's get started!

Setting the Date

One of the first and most essential steps in planning a Mardi Gras party is choosing the date. It's crucial to set the date early, so you have enough time to prepare all the other details of the event. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a date for your Mardi Gras party:

The earlier you set a date for your party, the more time you have to plan and prepare. This is especially important if you're planning a larger event with many guests or booking a venue or entertainment. By setting the date early, you can ensure that everything else falls into place.

Factors to consider when setting the date:

  1. Traditional Mardi Gras dates: Mardi Gras is traditionally celebrated on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. However, the festivities often extend to the weekend before, so you should consider having your party on a Saturday or Sunday.
  2. Weekend vs. weekday: Consider whether you want to have your party on a weekend or a weekday. A weekend party may be more convenient for guests but also more crowded and expensive. A weekday party could be more affordable and less busy, but it could also be more difficult for guests to attend.
  3. Competing events: Check the local calendar for other events that might be happening on the same day as your party. You want to avoid competing with other events for attendance or creating traffic and parking issues for your guests.

Guest List and Invitations

The guest list and invitations are essential components of any party, and Mardi Gras is no exception. Here are some tips for determining your guest list and designing your invitations:

Determining the Guest List

When creating your guest list for a Mardi Gras party, consider the size of your venue and the type of event you're hosting. Are you having a large gathering or a more intimate party? Will you be inviting people of all ages or just adults? Consider your budget, as well as your personal preferences, when deciding on your guest list.

Designing Invitations

Mardi Gras is known for its vibrant colors and festive symbols, so consider incorporating these elements into your invitations. Here are some tips:

  1. Traditional Mardi Gras colors and symbols: The traditional colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green, and gold, which symbolize justice, faith, and power. You can also include images of masks, beads, or musical instruments, to give your invitations a festive feel.
  2. E-invitations vs. paper invitations: Decide whether you want to send paper invitations or e-invitations. Paper invitations can be more formal and serve as a keepsake for your guests, but they can also be more expensive. E-invitations are more cost-effective and easier to manage, especially if you have an extensive guest list.

Sending Invitations and Tracking RSVPs

Once you've designed your invitations, it's time to send them out to your guest list. Consider using an online service like Evite or Paperless Post, which can help you manage your guest list and track RSVPs. You can also follow up with guests who haven't responded to ensure that you have an accurate headcount for your party. By taking the time to carefully craft your guest list and invitations, you can ensure that your Mardi Gras party is well-attended and memorable.


Mardi Gras is a celebration of color and festivity, so creating a vibrant and festive atmosphere for your party is essential. Here are some tips for decorating your space:

Traditional Mardi Gras Decorations

Traditional Mardi Gras decorations include lots of purple, green, and gold and festive masks, beads, and other accessories. Mardi Gras flags, streamers, and banners are also common, as are balloons, feathers, and other colorful items. The goal is to create an atmosphere of fun and celebration, so feel free to get creative with your decorations.

Decorating Tips

  1. Balloons, streamers, and banners: Use purple, green, gold balloons, streamers, and banners to create a festive backdrop for your party. You can also incorporate Mardi Gras-themed decorations, like masks and beads, into your streamers and banners.
  2. Mardi Gras beads, masks, and other accessories: Mardi Gras beads, masks, and other accessories are a must-have for any Mardi Gras party. You can use these items to decorate your space or give them out to your guests as party favors.
  3. Lighting and other ambiance elements: The proper lighting can help set the mood for your party. Consider using colored lights or candles to create a warm, festive atmosphere. You can also use music and other ambiance elements, like feather boas or confetti, to create a fun and lively atmosphere.

Food and Drinks

Food and drinks are among the most important aspects of any party. For a Mardi Gras party, it's important to incorporate traditional flavors and ingredients to create an authentic experience for your guests. Here are some tips for planning your menu and serving your food and drinks:

Traditional Mardi Gras Foods and Drinks

Mardi Gras is known for its delicious food and drink, including dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish, and beignets and drinks like Hurricanes and Sazeracs. These dishes are known for their rich and complex flavors, sure to impress your guests.

Menu Planning Tips

  1. Choosing dishes that are easy to make and serve: When planning your menu, selecting dishes that are easy to make and serve is vital. This will allow you to enjoy your party more and less time in the kitchen. Consider making dishes that can be prepared in advance or that can be served buffet-style.
  2. Incorporating traditional flavors and ingredients: To create an authentic Mardi Gras experience for your guests, incorporate traditional flavors and ingredients into your dishes. This may include ingredients like shrimp, andouille sausage, okra, rice, and spices like cayenne pepper and paprika.

Serving Tips

  1. Setting up a modern table: When serving your food and drinks, it's essential to create a beautiful and inviting table that will impress your guests. Consider using contemporary table settings, centerpieces, and plenty of colorful paper napkins and plastic tablecloths.
  2. Use disposable dinnerware: To make cleanup easier, consider disposable dinner platescharger platesplastic party tumblersdisposable silverware, and fancy disposable champagne flutes. This will add a touch of fashionable style to your party tables and allow you to enjoy your party more and less time washing dishes.


No Mardi Gras party is complete without some great entertainment. Here are some ideas to help you plan your Mardi Gras party entertainment:

Traditional Mardi Gras Entertainment Options

Mardi Gras is known for its vibrant music and colorful parades. Incorporating traditional Mardi Gras entertainment options into your party will help to create an authentic experience for your guests. This may include hiring a brass band or setting up a parade float in your backyard.

Ideas for Music and Other Activities

  1. Hiring a live band or DJ: Hiring a live band or DJ is a great way to keep your guests dancing and energy high. Be sure to choose music that fits the Mardi Gras theme, like jazz, zydeco, and funk.
  2. Setting up a photo booth or other interactive activity: A photo booth is a fun and interactive way to keep your guests entertained. You can also set up other activities, like a craft station where guests can make their own Mardi Gras masks.

Tips for Keeping the Party Going

To keep the party going, it's essential to keep the energy high and the guests engaged. You can play games, have dance contests, or even set up a scavenger hunt. Just keep the activities in line with the Mardi Gras theme.

Safety and Cleanup

Safety Tips

Safety and cleanup may not be the most exciting part of planning a Mardi Gras party, but they are essential aspects to consider. Here are some tips to help ensure that your party is safe and clean:

Mardi Gras parties can get pretty rowdy, so it's important to take some safety precautions to avoid accidents. Some things to consider include the following:

  • Providing a designated driver or transportation service to make sure guests get home safely
  • Keeping walkways and dance floors clear of tripping hazards
  • Making sure that decorations and lighting fixtures are secure and not at risk of falling
  • Having a first aid kit on hand in case of any minor injuries

Cleanup Guidelines

After the party is over, it's essential to clean up properly. Here are some tips to make the cleanup process as smooth as possible:

  1. Providing plenty of trash cans: Make sure there is plenty of trash throughout the party area to encourage guests to properly dispose of their waste, leftovers, and dinnerware.
  2. Enlisting the help of friends and family: Cleaning up after a party can be a big job, so don't be afraid to ask for help from friends and family. You can also hire a professional cleaning service to clean up.

With a little effort and attention to detail, you can host a Mardi Gras party that your guests will talk about for years to come. So get ready to let the good times roll and have a happy Mardi Gras!


Party on, Smarties! With love, Smarty had a Party!

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