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When my sister and I were younger, we bickered a lot. Every Mardi Gras, especially, we would argue about who would get the baby in their piece of king cake. One year, my mom must have had enough, because she went all King Soloman on us, and cut the baby in half, then placed half a baby in each of our pieces of cake! We were both a bit in shock! This must sound so bizarre, especially if you don’t know about king cakes, but allow me to explain!

Mark Eric Photography

In the South, particularly Mobile, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and Louisiana, the king cake is a Mardi Gras tradition. Normally served on Fat Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday), the king cake is a ring of twisted sweet bread topped with icing or sugar. Depending on how you feel about such things, they can look either festive or garish, because they’re usually colored purple, green, and gold with food coloring.

Placed underneath or inside of the cake is a small plastic baby, said to represent Baby Jesus. Tradition says that the person who gets the piece of cake with the baby receives good luck for the coming year, AND they’re responsible for buying the cake the following year. Who knows why my sister and I would argue so much over that tiny baby — I guess just because the other one wanted it so much!

Images from Brown Eyed Baker

To me, king cakes have a delicious, yet not overly sweet taste that is absolutely divine! Think cinnamon roll or sweet cake without as much cinnamon or sugar.

Do you love king cake? Have you incorporated it or will you incorporate it into your wedding day? Maybe as an alternative groom’s cake?

Think you’ve got what it takes to make this sweet tradition? I stumbled upon this traditional recipe from Brown Eyed Baker for y’all. If you try it, be sure to let me know how it comes out!

P.S. Join in the Mardi Gras party with these past posts!
Emily’s Mardi Gras Inspiration Board
My tradition + inspiration post
Nicole’s Color Palette Finds

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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  1. avatar Inspiration Board :: Mardi Gras | Elizabeth Ashleigh reply

    […] Mardi Gras Mojito, Invitation {row 2} place setting, beads and baubles {row 3} shrimp etouffee, king cake, subway art {row 4} cake […]

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My emails to Emily regarding this post could not have had more exclamation points or capital letters. If they did, it would appear I was screaming at her! (I’m so not apologizing either!) We’re all clearly very excited to be chatting about Mardi Gras traditions today, and happy to provide inspiration for a Mardi Gras wedding!

My Southern heart literally skipped a beat when we starting talking about Mardi Gras! (!!!) I’m not going to say that Mobile, Alabama does Mardi Gras better than NOLA (we do do football better though! ; ), because that would just be a plain lie. I am going to say that we do it some kind of awesome! I mean, when I was a little girl, I ROCKED multiple gigantic hair bows made by my mama that were that gorgeous combo of green, purple and gold! My favorite one involved ribbon with “throw me somethin’ mister!” printed on it. That’s right, that bow was bigger than my head!

One thing missing from Mobile’s Mardi Gras celebration would have to be the French Quarter. The French Quarter is the cultural hub for NOLA, and boasts streets and streets of these gorgeous wrought iron covered balconies.

Credit: Austin Gros via Green Wedding Shoes

Historically, Mardi Gras masks allowed people to mix without regard for race, gender, or economic status. Krewe members (those who put on the Mardi Gras parades) wore masks on the floats to hide their identities. These masks wore also originally worn on stage in theaters to convey exaggerated emotions (hence why some are slightly frightening!).

Credits: Masked couple photo by A Bryan Photo; colorful masks photo by Rachel Thurston; sparkly mask photo by Amelia Lyon via 100 Layer Cake;

Mardi Gras masks are traditionally purple, green and gold, and often are decorated with feathers, jewels and glitter. Even the colors have meaning: purple symbolizes justice, green, faith, and gold, power.

Credits: Feather shoes photo by Crystal George Studios via Rock n Roll Bride; purple mask and beads photos by Belathee Photography via Green Wedding Shoes

Tossing beads is a tradition born in the 1920s when the Rex Krewe parade threw inexpensive handmade glass necklaces to bystanders. Nowadays, krewe members seek out innovative trinkets to toss to the crowds, such as candy, frisbees, plastic cups, and even doubloons all marked with the specific parade’s name and logo. But believe me, nothing flies as far as some good ol’ Mardi Gras beads!

Credits: Mask and shoes photo by Crystal George Studios; black mask photo by Belathee; beads and cake photos by Crystal George Studios; mask menu photos by Colson Griffith via Brenda’s Wedding Blog

Now the fleur-de-lis doesn’t have much to do with Mardi Gras specifically, but how could be do a NOLA post without including the official symbol of the state of Louisiana? I love that following Hurricane Katrina, the fleur-de-lis has been widely used in New Orleans as a symbol of grassroots support for New Orleans’ recovery. Now that is what the South is about!

Credits: Docuvitae via Style Me Pretty and Austin Gros

Carriages (or buggies as we Southerners call them!) and rickshaws are great for transportation on those fabulous (and bumpy) cobblestone streets of the French Quarter! I’m kind of crushing hard on this buggy covered with feathers – so regal!

Credits: Mardi Gras pedicab photo by Kate Byars via Every Last Detail, traditional carriage photo by A Bryan Photo, and pedicab photo by Rachel Thurston

Y’all! I literally squealed out loud when we received these images of the second line! The “second line” is a tradition for brass band parades. It’s made up of those who follow the band just to enjoy the music, and traditionally twirl a parasol or handkerchief in the air. This “dance” is called “second lining.” How much fun does that sound?! The second line also has routes in jazz funerals, where the jazz band plays and parades to honor the life of the deceased, and friends and family follow the band dancing or walking to add to the spirit of the procession.

Credits: Dancing couple photo by Docuvitae via Style Me Pretty, couple with umbrellas by Rachel Thurston, couple with balloons by Austin Gros via Green Wedding Shoes, band and hanky waving photos by Docuvitae, umbrella and sign photos by A Bryan Photo

So y’all, who’s up for a road trip to NOLA? After this post, I am SO in!

Have you been to Mardi Gras? What’s your favorite Mardi Gras tradition?

marissa Written with love by Marissa
14 Comments
  1. avatar Latrice reply

    I totally could use some Mardi gras fun right night!

  2. avatar Sierra reply

    I’ve never been there before. I’m in!

  3. avatar Megan reply

    I went to New Orleans for the first time and my first NOLA wedding in March of 2010 and it was a BLAST! The second line was definitely my favorite part!

  4. avatar Tim Duncan reply

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the shoes and all the colors!!

  5. avatar Katie | Invitations by Ajalon reply

    absolutely LOVE all of these inspiring images! If anything, I cannot die without experiencing Mardi Gras and NOLA for real! And thank you for including our menus in the mix. :D We love SWmag!

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    […] to Fat Tuesday, y’all! Our longtime readers might remember me professing my unending love for all things Mardi Gras last year, but I’m so happy to be sharing the love with all of […]

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With Mardi Gras festivities gearing up in Southern locales like New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama, we figured it was the perfect time to bring y’all some fabulous Carnival inspiration! As I’m sure y’all know, Mardi Gras is one of the biggest cultural celebrations in the South. Though Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, is typically host to the biggest parties and feasting, the Carnival celebrations stretch all the way from Epiphany to the beginning of Lent. That’s a lot of King Cake, y’all! To celebrate, we’re taking the day to offer up three posts chock-full of Mardi Gras hootenanny. Yes, hootenanny.

I’m up first, and I’ve got an inspiration board to share with you! I wanted to do offer a softer twist on the traditional purple, green, and gold color scheme while still reflecting the fun and celebration of Mardi Gras.

The Details:

A sparkly gold bolero adds instant pizzazz to any wedding day ensemble (photo by Shannon Nicole Smith via Southern Weddings). Dress your ‘maids in shades of shiny plum and mulberry for a dazzling effect (photo by Elizabeth Messina). A gorgeous feather fascinator picks up on the notes of Mardi Gras costumes without going overboard (photo by Veil and Bow via Southern Weddings).

The Blackberry Smash, with its purple hue and pop of green mint, would make a perfectly color-coordinated signature drink! (Photo by Andrew Purcell via Design*Sponge) We love this cascading centerpiece by Flowers by Fancy (photo by Kate Preftakes). The gold beads adorning the back of this chair remind you a bit of really classy Mardi Gras beads, don’t they? (Photo by Aaron Delesie via Once Wed.)

A classic carriage is the perfect transport to — or getaway from — your ceremony (photo by Bryan Johnson). Last but not least, no Mardi Gras inspired wedding would be complete without a King Cake. We love this one from our friends at Sucre.

Check back in later today, as Marissa will be sharing Mardi Gras traditions and inspiration from real weddings, and Nicole will be rounding up some French Quarter finds!

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Beane and Company reply

    Love the lavender and gold together. My college colors were purple and gold…I never thought they could be used in such an elegant way! Beautiful!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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