Back in January, on an unusually spring-like Monday night, a group of us went to Happy Hour at Melting Pot, the upscale fondue restaurant that has a moderately-priced happy hour special. Afterwards a few of us decided to enjoy the mild weather and play “tourist,” which basically entailed walking around lower Broadway, people-watching and window-shopping. We popped into a hippie store and was surprised to find a wall of masks:
After having fun trying them on, we all fell in love and decided we needed them. But since it seemed a little crazy to buy masks for no reason, we began planning a masquerade- an epic Carnivale party that required either dressing up, masks, or both.
The idea grew from there. I really wanted to distance it from the “mardi gras” that everyone assumes is the only way to celebrate the eve of Lent. Rather than green, gold, and purple and king cake, I wanted the party to be more Venetian, as the masks deserved. (Like this scene in Rome from Count of Monte Cristo, without the kidnapping.)
Manda and Andrea offered their place for the party, and we convinced our friend Sarah, who lives on the other side of their duplex, to join in the hostessing and open her house too. The week of the party was spent shopping and planning, and then we threw a mini party for ourselves the night before to decorate. When I saw tulle at Michael’s, the Christendom-class-president in me was dreaming big (and the girls were willing to trust me, for some reason). Why not put up a fake ceiling?
Friday night the magic happened:
Okay, not a fake ceiling. But still fun.
Little touches made the room beautiful
Refreshment for the decorating party. We bought two growlers for the party, so we had to sample one with our pizza the night before, right?
Most of the decorating was finished late Friday night, so Saturday night was just a matter of putting the finishing touches and getting ourselves decorated! : ) Luminaries connected the two apartments so that the party would flow naturally from one place to another. (That was Manda’s idea, and it was the perfect touch. It also encouraged people to come in the front doors, since people are used to using the back doors at their house.)
The weather was perfect — in the low 60s– so the party naturally spilled out onto the porches and the front lawn.
Someone had the idea to do a signature cocktail – I don’t remember whom. A bartender we talked to recommended sangria, but we wanted to do something a little more special. We thought about a champagne punch, but wasn’t sure the best way to execute it. I talked to the “mixologist” at my neighborhood wine store, and he recommended champagne with a dash of elderflower liqueur mixed with grapefruit juice.
is it a bad sign when they throw in a free carrying case?
We needed a name for the cocktail, and “golden,” kept coming up in our descriptions of the night, so the first thing that popped in my head was “sogni d’oro,” which literally means “golden sleep,” but is the way Italians say “sweet dreams.” It sounded elevated and beautiful- so our cocktail had a name, even if it didn’t make much sense.
We were ready for our Masquerade!
I was pleasantly surprised how many people actually wore masks. Everyone was either dressed up or in a mask – or both. Of the 30-40 people that came, I’d say 90% were masked — and most everyone kept their mask on all night! I couldn’t wear my glasses and my mask, but it wasn’t too big of a deal. I sat on the front porch most of the night and let everyone come to me. : )
Andrea had the neat idea to stage a “photo booth” for people to take pictures. She originally wanted a big gold frame, but we didn’t have time to run to Goodwill, nor did we have enough money for a real one, so one was created out of cardboard. She ended up hanging it from the ceiling, and even though this picture looks pretty hilarious, and it was definitely the hit of the party.
The five hostesses
All in all — a success!
Faces! Drink it in, drink it up
Till you’ve drowned
In the light
In the sound
But who can name the face?