12 Reasons Playing Mas Might Be Better Than A Wedding

#TrinidadCarnival: 11.5 reasons why it just might be better than starring as the bride in your wedding.

A wedding is a beautiful thing. No denying that. While I’ve never been married, I acknowledge that there are few things in life that could top the moment you pledge your lifelong commitment to the person you love in front of family and friends. But making this big day a reality can be stressful and costly. Which is why, after careful consideration (and a loose cost-benefit analysis), I’ve identified 12 reasons why playing mas in Trinidad Carnival might be better than hosting a wedding.

1. It Happens Every Single Year

Trinidad Carnival: Playing mas is one of the greatest experiences of all time!

Weddings come. Then they go. And if you’re lucky (and you’ve married Mr(s). Right), you will never, ever have another. Trinidad Carnival however, happens every single year. From the costume reveal at Band Launch to the heady feeling you get when you finally step onto the road in all your bedazzled glory, you get to repeat the excitement and the ecstasy YEAR after YEAR after YEAR! It’s like getting a new dress, new shoes and a new party every 11 to 12 months!

2. You Clock More Hours of Fun

Trinidad Carnival: Playing mas is one of the greatest experiences of all time!

When you get married, there’s (maybe) the engagement party, the rehearsal dinner and then the big day. Combined they account for less than a full day of awesomeness and they usually require an excessive amount of energy to plan. When you play mas in Trinidad Carnival, the band launch serves as a larger than life engagement dinner. Your rehearsal dinner becomes the sweet 8-hour long session that is Carnival Monday. And the big day, is really the BIG DAY with as many as 15 hours of epicness, jammishness and vibes – if you include Las’ Lap – which obviously, you will.

3. You Get to Wear Comfy Shoes

Trinidad Carnival: Playing mas is one of the greatest experiences of all time!
I’m not a shoe person but even I go ga-ga for gorgeous wedding shoes. However, they cost way too much, rarely can be used again and to top it off, they’re not the most comfortable things to wear for hours on end. For Trinidad Carnival, comfy shoes rule the days because there is a lot of road to cover, a lot of jumping to be done, and you’re going to get your feet stomped on countless times. So, whether you’re rocking boots or sneakers, in this instance function takes priority over fashion and that’s definitely a good thing.

4. It Requires Less Effort

Trinidad Carnival: Playing mas is one of the greatest experiences of all time!

Carnival is by no means a cake-walk (if you’re as invested in it as I am) but no matter how much work you put into it, it will never compare to the effort exerted to plan a wedding. I’ve never been married, but I’ve assisted in planning a few, and coordinating all those moving parts (while attempting to cater to so many different people) is not easy. When you’re playing mas YOU are your only concern. YOUR costume. YOUR makeup. YOUR accessories. YOUR hair. YOUR shoes. That’s it. Food, music, drinks, all the big stuff is taken care of by your band and all you need to do is show up. Literally.

5. It’s Cheaper

Trinidad Carnival: Playing mas is one of the greatest experiences of all time!

Not cheap. Just cheapER. No matter which way you spin it – whether you play frontline or backline and fete till you’re falling down – it’s very unlikely that participating in Trinidad Carnival will cost more than a wedding. Unless you’re getting married in a court house. Or you intend to be a career masquerader, then of course, the years will add up. But, if you’re just taking a few turns around the block, you will remain well below the cost of the average wedding. Even if you go the full nine yards with an all-inclusive masquerader package, professional makeup, additional accessories and designer Monday Wear. To top it all off, the final bill (while not exceedingly low) doesn’t give you heartburn because it reflects money you spent solely and wholly on yourself!

6. You Can Go Crazy with…Everything

Trinidad Carnival: Playing mas is one of the greatest experiences of all time!

Weddings tend to be occasions where people buy into traditions…white or ivory dresses, pearl or diamond accessories, natural makeup and such. Always beautiful but always expected. With Carnival, convention is thrown completely out the window and you have creative license to do whatever your quirky, sparkly heart desires. Even this Island Girl who hardly wears makeup gets bold and brave with shades and glitter depending on my costume.

7. No Need to Care

Trinidad Carnival: Playing mas is one of the greatest experiences of all time!

Very much like a wedding, the quality of your photos usually reflects the quality of your day. Unlike a wedding however, the sloppier and blurrier your Trinidad Carnival pics, the better the day. While you go to great pains to get your makeup professionally done (we’re talking 4 am appointments and massive amounts of setting spray) and you spend a significant amount of money on your costume, your concern for your face and body-wear dwindles as the day progresses. Contrary to a wedding, as a masquerader, it is expected that your luster will begin to dull as time passes by. In fact, if you end the day looking just as fresh as when you began, you clearly did not do it right.

8. Everyone is Invited

Trinidad Carnival: Playing mas is one of the greatest experiences of all time!

It is the biggest party of the year and EVERYONE is invited! No invitation. No RSVP list. Once you’re in Port of Spain, you’re a part of the festivities. Secure a costume and you’re definitely in a band. Either way, whether spectator or masquerader, no one is barred from taking it all in.

9. The Bigger the Crew the Better

Trinidad Carnival: Playing mas is one of the greatest experiences of all time!

Numbers are not an issue when it comes to the size of your Carnival crew. In fact, the bigger the better! The same can’t be said for a bridal party, which becomes overwhelming to coordinate if its too large, but can also make for awkward situations if you aspire to keep it small and have to exclude a few of your good friends. When you’re playing mas, you can have as many friends as you want in the mix. And you don’t even have to play in the same section if everyone falls in love with different costumes.

10. Every Song is Your Song

Trinidad Carnival: Playing mas is one of the greatest experiences of all time!

Selecting a wedding song is a big deal. It’s the first song you’ll dance to as a married couple and the expectation is that this song will be the song that represents your union for all eternity. You have to love it now and forever. And, if things go south (sorry, I’m a realist), every time you hear it in the future it’s going to remind you of what once was. For Carnival however, many songs will be released and played at fetes and on the road. A few will climb to the top of the pack and become Soca Monarch and Road March contenders but the fact of the matter is, on the road, no matter what song is playing you’re going to jump high and wine low without concern or complaint.

11. It’s EVERYONE’s day

Trinidad Carnival: Playing mas is one of the greatest experiences of all time!

Regardless of your band, your costume, your colors…when you play mas, you’re a star in your own right. At a wedding, the bride is the focal point, followed by the groom and then the bridal party. Everyone else is just there for ‘the show’. When you’re on the road however, every single masquerader is a showpiece. Decked out in amazing costumes with elaborate makeup and dazzling smiles for every camera pointing in their direction, no one is denied the experience of feeling extra special.

12. You Still Get the Honeymoon (Sorta)

Trinidad Carnival: Playing mas is one of the greatest experiences of all time!

Not so much a honeymoon, but still a very much needed getaway. After all the hype its necessary to take a day (or three) to recover. For some people, this staycation takes place on one of Trinidad’s many beaches. For others, it translates into a mini-vacation in our own little piece of paradise – Tobago. Just a 20 minute plane or 3.5 hour ferry ride away, Tobago’s white sand and blue water beaches are the perfect place to lay out and do absolutely nothing until your’e back at 100%.

I acknowledge that the act of playing mas is definitely not as precious as making a lifelong commitment to the person you love. But truth be told, that can be done without an elaborate ceremony and reception. So, from my inexperienced soap box, having compared the economic impact against the overall experience of both events, I do truly believe that playing mas is better than coordinating, financing and hosting a wedding. Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to here them!

In the meantime, the countdown to #Carnival2018 continues…See you on the road!

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#TrinidadCarnival: 12 reasons why it just might be better than starring as the bride in your wedding.

23 Comment

  1. Chloé says: Reply

    Haha this is the funniest comparison! While I wouldn’t trade anything for our wedding day, I do think this looks like a ton of fun and certainly would be an opportunity for some incredible memories! Maybe this could be part of a second honeymoon experience? 😉

    1. islandgirlintransit says: Reply

      Lol if I had a wedding day I’d prob feel the same way as well! lol And you’re right I think it’ll make a FANTASTIC second honeymoon!

  2. Dada says: Reply

    Haha love this! Made me smile the whole time while reading your post! To be very honest, I would change the Trinidad carnival for my wedding anyday! In one condition is that all my family and friends could come! I got an idea, how about getting married at the carnival?? Dressing in colorful outfits, wearing sneakers, dancing all day and all night for more than a week. And not only your family and friends get to witness your special day (which will be longer than a day) with thousands of strangers! This is awesome!

    1. islandgirlintransit says: Reply

      Yes!!! Believe it or not that is my DREAM WEDDING! Well sorta lol We’d get married in an outdoor ceremony but afterward I want my entire wedding party and as many friends and relatives as possible to all play together on Monday and Tuesday!

  3. Ha ha it may be 15 hours but seriously it will never ever top your wedding day (as long as he is indeed Mr Right!). It looks like a fabulous event to attend though.

    1. islandgirlintransit says: Reply

      It is fabulous but I can totally understand you not wanting to trade it in for your actual wedding! lol

  4. I’m really not sure what “playing mas” means. Is that just like…attending carnival? Also, I don’t see why people can’t have a wedding and attend Carnival. Married people can party too!

  5. Jen says: Reply

    This certainly looks fun and festive! It could even be a bigger celebration than a wedding! Although I haven’t attended this Carnival yet, the reasons and factors behind both events are different, making it difficult to compare. I, for one, prefer our wedding to be intimate. This Carnival makes a good after-party though! 🙂

    1. islandgirlintransit says: Reply

      Yes! I love the idea of having the intimate wedding and using Carnival as the after-party! I’d definitely be down for that!

  6. Medha says: Reply

    The Trinidad Carnival looks like so much fun ! So colourful and lively, I have to visit a carnival like this at some stage in life. I’m not much of a fan of going to super crowded places that’s why I don’t travel for the big events and parties across the world but somehow going to a carnival like this seems quite attractive. It’s amusing how you’ve compared going to a wedding with going to the carnival haha!

    1. islandgirlintransit says: Reply

      Lol the comparison is a very loose one and solely based on my own opinions but it’s something I think about a lot. I know Carnival isn’t for everyone but I think everyone should experience it at least once. It’s a truly remarkable thing to take in.

  7. Bhusha says: Reply

    Hahaha! I can feel that! Now that my wedding already happened, I can’t imagine wearing the wedding gown again, so yeah, the fun part is over! Lolz.
    Being a part of such a carnival is a yearly fun! This is just so good! And heading to Tobago would be the perfect way to wrap it up!

    1. islandgirlintransit says: Reply

      YES! Carnival really is a great experience. Not comparable to marriage as I’m sure that’s a more lasting and fulfilling experience lol but I’m one of those people who’d prob enjoy mas more than a big wedding 🙂

  8. Loved reading this! It made me so homesick! I miss Trinidad so much!

    1. islandgirlintransit says: Reply

      Awww girl you need to come back home for Carnival!

  9. Indrani says: Reply

    Ha ha yes you still get the honeymoon! Trinidad festival is so colorful and full of life. This can easily convince a new would be bride/groom to skip wedding. 😀

    1. islandgirlintransit says: Reply

      Lol not everyone would agree but I’m glad we’re on the same page!

  10. Baia says: Reply

    Oh this is my dream! I would love to attend a Carnival some day!

    1. islandgirlintransit says: Reply

      I hope you can, it’s EPIC!

  11. Cat says: Reply

    I’ve seen pictures of Trinidad Carnival before and it looks so colorful and fun! I love the comfy shoes part. I bought my wedding shoes but I don’t even wear them anymore because they look too extravagant!

    1. islandgirlintransit says: Reply

      I go ga-ga for wedding shoes so I’m sure I’d love yours! But yes, Carnival boots are definitely more comfortable 🙂 I do hope you can experience it some day!

  12. This is so much fun and all the photos look fabulous. This Trinidad Carnival seems also less crowded than Rio’s for example, which is more appealing for security and so much more. Now will have to consider visiting, but most importantly during this carnival!

    1. islandgirlintransit says: Reply

      You’ve definitely got to visit T&T and it should absolutely be during Carnival so you experience the best of both islands. Hope you make it over here soon!

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