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Tag: Mardi Gras traditions

Every corner of the South has a unique personality, and we like celebrating them all! On Fat Tuesday, New Orleans and its fabulously rich Mardi Gras history is an easy pick. From the colors to the symbols, every aspect of Mardi Gras has tradition and meaning, making it ripe with inspiration for a bold and vibrant wedding! If you need a brief run-down on Fat Tuesday fun, check out this post we published last year, then scroll down for the rest of the celebration!

The team, lead by Ashley from The Graceful Host, chose two dresses by Modern Trousseau from Hayden Olivia Bridal. Both were full volume and totally glam, just like Mardi Gras! They also included a cathedral-length veil, a classic choice for New Orleans brides, many who marry in grand cathedrals.

Separk Mansion, a newly renovated home, was the perfect backdrop. With Mardi Gras as their inspiration, the team chose to infuse the energy and fun of carnival season into the floral design while still keeping the overall look formal, like a Mardi Gras ball.

Classic New Orleans delicacies like mini muffulettas were served.

Love this ruffled cake linen, inspired by the bride’s gown! Sweets were in no short supply, from the tiered cake to beignet truffles. Of course, the team had to include the cake pull tradition, a New Orleans staple!

Love these fun photos Old South Studios captured of the second line!

From Ashley:

Being that I was born and raised in New Orleans, I jumped at the opportunity to design a real wedding inspiration with true New Orleans style! It was so important to me that no detail be left out. And, our bride and groom are actually a real married couple! They were so sweet, and had a blast “doing it all over again”! I wanted this wedding to be approachable and have elements that brides could take away and use within their own wedding. The entire day was so much fun, and it was so rewarding sharing my culture with Charlotte!

Photography: Julie Staley, Old South Studios | Event Design and Coordination: Ashley Culicchia Cash, The Graceful Host | Venue: Separk Mansion | Makeup Artist: Erin Ashley Makeup | Hair Stylist: Adrian Howe Esthetics & Beauty | Floral Design: Chelish Moore Flowers | Menu and Bar: Donald Shives, Best Impressions | Cake Baker: Got What It Cakes | Paper Goods: Elisabeth Rose | Rentals: Party Reflections | Wedding Gowns: “Tate” and “Teacup” from Modern Trousseau’s Fall 2014 collection, available at Hayden Olivia Bridal | Belts: Whitney Alyssa from Hayden Olivia Bridal | Jewelry: Haute Bride from Hayden Olivia Bridal | Groom’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank | Second Line Umbrellas: Gems Printing | Welcome Box: Paper Source

emily Written with love by Emily
9 Comments
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    Those mini muffalettas are too cute!

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Love Southern wedding traditions and want to include them in your wedding? We wrote our e-book just for you!

Welcome 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 y’all joining us more recently, too!

Growing up in Mobile, Mardi Gras was a big part of our February (don’t tell, but I even like it better than Valentine’s Day!), and though I’ll be spending Fat Tuesday in Arizona, I’ll be doing my best to track down a king cake even in the dessert! Because of my far-from-NOLA current locale, I’m even more thankful I get to celebrate with you ladies on the blog! So grab a MoonPie (best served after a stint in the microwave for 7 seconds), and let’s go over a few Mardi Gras traditions you might never have heard of!

Source for first two; source for third

Let’s start with Krewes. Mardi Gras wouldn’t happen without them, as Krewes are the groups/organizations that put on the balls and parades. Each Krewe meets throughout the year to discuss and build their floats in secret, and on the day of their parade, they ride wearing masks. Some Krewes have been around since the 1800’s, while others have been in existence for just a few years; in some, membership is limited to only relatives of previous members, and in others, anyone who can pay the membership fee can join.

Each Krewe holds their own parade leading up to Mardi Gras, each with a unique theme, and two Krewes — Rex and Zulu — hold parades on Fat Tuesday itself. Aside from a captain, each Krewe has a royal party headed by a king and queen (which I’ve always wanted to be!) that preside over the parade and floats.

Source

Oh Mardi Gras colors, you’re so ugly and so fabulous all at the same time! Purple, green, and gold is the official Mardi Gras’ color palette, and can be seen on everything from costumes to beads. In true Southern form, even the colors themselves have symbolic meaning: purple stands for justice, green for faith, and gold for power.

Source

Beads are still the most popular throw from floats, but doubloons have a history of their own, too! When we moved out of my childhood home, I can remember finding boxes full of these brightly colored coins – boy, did we have a collection. Originally used as currency, today’s doubloons are two-sided coins thrown from the parade floats (keep an eye out for them — these sucker can be dangerous!). They are imprinted with the Krewe’s name, emblem, and founding date on one side, and the current year and theme of the parade on the other.

Krewe doubloons are highly collectable and can create quite a ruckus in the crowd!

Source

I know quite a lot about Mardi Gras traditions, but The Golden Nugget is new to me! Originally thrown by the Zulu Krewe, these coconuts are thought to be the most sought-after throw in any Mardi Gras parade. In the early 1900’s, Zulu members threw coconuts (yep, just plain old coconuts) from their floats as a cheaper alternative to glass beads. Today, the coconuts are drained and hand painted either in gold or black and white.

Don’t be scared, my friends! In 1988, the City of New Orleans banned Zulu riders from throwing the coconuts from the floats and demanded the “throws” be handed to the crowds, making them even harder to catch and all the more valuable to spectators!

Source

Although I’ve never seen this next tradition in person, I can imagine it is a fantastic show! The Flambeaux tradition dates back to the 1800’s when New Orleans did not have electric street lights to light the night parades. Traditionally, the Flambeaux walked in front of the floats holding large torches, and put on their own show in front of the riders, dancing and doing tricks with the torches. Today, a few Krewes still roll out at night with the Flambeaux leading the way.

Source

Last, but certainly not least, we have Mardi Gras balls! Similar to my love for debutante cotillions, the Mardi Gras ball is one of my favorite aspects of Mardi Gras! Each year, Krewes host elaborate formal balls during Mardi Gras season. This is the time when kings and queens are first introduced, and the queens get to wear the most fabulous costumes! The queens’ stunning gowns, sparkling tiaras, and over-the-top collars are still my very favorite part of the Mobile Carnival Museum!

The original Mardi Gras balls were such important social affairs that Krewes had the invitations die cast in Paris and sent to New Orleans – fancy! Today, some Krewes still hold private invitation-only balls, while others have started allowing anyone to purchase tickets.

Well, now that I’m WAY too sad that I’m not spending today in Mobile (or Nola!), tell me: What’s your favorite Mardi Gras tradition? Have you ever caught a golden nugget?!

Want to learn more? Check out last year’s Traditions + Inspiration, Inspiration Board, and Color Palette Finds!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Liz reply

    Being from New Orleans, I have to say getting a coconut from the Krewe of Zulu would be amazing. I have yet to get my own coconut. The riders are such a tease! You may think they’re going to pass a highly coveted coconut to you, but they’ll quickly pull back and wait to pass it on to someone a few feet away. I’ve often seen them passed to the kiddos, and they get a kick out of it. Of course, no Mardi Gras would be complete without the king cake :) Happy Mardi Gras!

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Oh, Liz! I can’t imagine – I have never received a coconut either and would die! Such a fun tradition! And yes, you MUST have a king cake! xx Happy Mardi Gras!

  2. avatar Patti reply

    What a great post! I too miss the excitement of celebrating Mardi Gras, although I did find a king cake in Publix last night. You did forget to mention some of the oddities we’ve caught in the past at parades – candy (sometimes full bags) toys, roses and even a giant toothbrush. There’s nothing like the excitement of a Mardi Gras parade1

  3. avatar Janna reply

    Sounds like fun! I follow a few blogs of girls who live in NOLA and it is definitely one of those events I have on my bucket list! Tonight I’ll be heading to a Mardi Grad party at a friend’s house- they had family mail them a king cake :) and for dinner it is crawfish and low country boil! :) I’m off to find a purple shirt to wear with my gold wedges- figured I could wear some of the colors- even if it is close to LSU wear! Go Gators! :)

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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
1 Comment
  1. avatar Inspiration Board :: Mardi Gras | Elizabeth Ashleigh reply

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