Cinco de Mayo Party InspirationMy husband Roger loves preparing Mexican dishes, especially recipes from Rick Bayless's Mexican Everyday cook book. (Roger is a fabulous cook!) So, we wanted to plan a party where guests could enjoy some of our favorite Mexican dishes along with traditional favorites like chips, salsa, queso, and MARGARITAS, of course!
I was inspired for the party design last year (I know! I know planning for a year is crazy...that's just how I do!), I found some Better Homes and Gardens party ware at Walmart in marigold orange, goldenrod yellow, and lime green that I absolutely loved (select pieces are now available at Ross). I based the color palette and flower design around a few of the items from this collection that I purchased, such as vinyl tablecloths, a serving tray, and some melamine plates that my husband transformed into a two-tiered tray (see picture of limes). One of the tablecloths was used as the backdrop for our buffet. I literally carried one of the plates around in my purse for months, so I could match napkins, ribbon, etc.
Cinco de Mayo DecorationsI love Mexican paper flags (aka papel picado)! They set such a festive tone, so I created my own simple version using tissue paper and baker's twine (See my Mexican Paper Flags tutorial). I hung them everywhere to guide my guests from the front door to all of the party areas in my house. They provided excellent visual queues.
I'm a big fan of shopping your own house for party decor to save money and to get a unique look, and for this event, my father-in-law let me shop his! The large copper plaque was something that hung above the fireplace in his parents' house growing up. I thought it created a stunning focal point with a Mayan feel.
My best friend Jessica had given me an apple martini dry erase board from Target a few years ago, and I transformed it into a margarita for my front door with by making a little lime out of paper for its rim. Too perfect!
Cinco de Mayo DrinksWe kept the margaritas simple by using one recipe premixed into a large drink dispenser, which guests could have on the rocks or frozen. Since we love margaritas, we already had a Margaritaville frozen margarita maker, which makes perfect frozen drinks! (Check out our house margarita recipe!)
We also had some Coronas available, as well as a variety of Jarritos Mexican sodas for the kids, which are easy to find in the international sections of many grocery stores. The sodas were a big hit! I love these paper straws that I ordered from Hey Yo Yo on Etsy.
HOSTESS TIP: I'm not normally a fan of vinyl tablecloths, but for a margarita party, they were perfect for cleaning up sticky spills and not showing signs of mess as the party progressed into the wee hours.
Cinco de Mayo FoodMy husband prepared spicy beef Chile Colorado and mild Chicken Verde for the party's entrees, which we served with flour tortillas, homemade roasted tomato salsa in mild and spicy (Mmm!), sour cream, and guacamole. Some guests made tacos with the entrees, while others made nachos.
I'm a big fan of keeping the day-of-party prep simple, which includes not cooking more than you can manage. Our group of friends love the light, flaky tortilla chips from Phil Sandoval's Mexican Restaurante in Huntsville, AL, so we had them cater the chips, queso dip, and guacamole, which helped keep things simple for us. They were all super yummy!
I had some fun with the guacamole, and served it in an extra large margarita glass that I found at Old Time Pottery. I even salted the rim and added a lime to add to the margarita look.
For dessert, I made no-fry Fried Ice Cream with a crunchy honey cinnamon coating. I knew fried ice cream would be a yummy and unique dish to have outside of a restaurant, so I knew I had to give it a try. Surprisingly, it was super easy to make ahead and pull out of the freeze when it was time to serve. A big hit with everyone! Be sure to check out the recipe.
They say the heart of the home is the kitchen, and when margaritas are served on the kitchen table, this is especially true! We had a wonderful time catching up with friends all night long around drinks. I can tell you the most rewarding part of having a party was watching new friendships form between guests that had not met before, and it absolutely makes me want to throw more events.
Sarah, thanks so much for your help! My photographer Sarah Brewer of Click Photo Designs was truly a delight to work with and her eye for detail really shows in all of these wonderful photographs from the party. In addition to photographing special events, she takes the most incredible photo journalistic style family and children's portraits. I always look forward to Click Photo Designs updates in my Facebook feed - always beautiful eye candy!
See more ideas, recipes, and inspiration from this Cinco de Mayo Margarita Party:
- Cinco de Mayo Margarita Recipe (our own house mix)
- No-Fry Fried Ice Cream Recipe
- DIY Mexican Paper Flags: Easy Papel Picado Alternative
- Easy Chicken Verde Recipe