Throwing your first Cinco de Mayo party? You’re in luck! SheKnows talked to event planners across the nation to gather their favorite tips for hosting a fabulous fiesta. From their advice on décor, food, drinks and more, you’ll learn all kinds of ways to wow guests and ensure that your Cinco de Mayo party is an event to repeat year after year.
Opt for bright and colorful décor
Most holidays are associated with a pretty narrow color palette—two or three colors at most. But on Cinco de Mayo the more color you can splash into your party décor the better! To decorate, Elite Productions International suggests using a zarape or a colorful blanket as a tablecloth. The company also recommends using mini-piñatas as centerpieces and adorning the entertaining space with bright flowers made from tissue or crepe paper.
DeeAnn McArdle, a lifestyle and entertaining expert at UnleashYourInnerFoodie.com, suggests creating your own centerpieces. "Use clear bowls filled with red, orange and yellow peppers and a few jalapeño or poblano peppers," she explains.
You can also decorate with sombreros, strings of white or rainbow-colored lights and cacti. To add some pizzazz to your food and drink spreads, head to Etsy.com where you'll find Cinco de Mayo printable party embellishments, such as cupcake toppers, drink wraps, candy-bar wrappers, banners and more.
Create taco and margarita bars
Rather than preparing and serving all of the party food yourself, let guests create their own entrées and snacks. "To set up a taco bar, you need soft and hard shells; a variety of meats such as chicken and steak; and all of the fixings such as beans, cheese, salsa and guacamole. Have guests wash down their tacos with homemade margaritas. Print out a few recipes and pop them into frames, then let guests make their own margaritas," suggests Stephanie Fader, senior marketing manager of Punchbowl.com.
Offer a festive, Mexican-inspired buffet
In addition to the taco bar, Desiree' Thornton, owner of A.M.E.E. Event Planning, says you can serve taco salad, Santé Fe corn on the cob, spiced fruit salad and white chili soup with Mexican corn bread. If you'd rather serve simpler snacks, purchase bags of jalapeño-flavored chips or margarita-flavored cookies or cupcakes.
Treat guests to a tequila tasting
Here's a fun activity for an adults-only fiesta: Have your guests learn about and taste different types of tequila. McArdle suggests serving three varieties: Blanco, Reposado and an Anejo. "Serve the tequila samples in champagne glasses—the glass of choice for tequila," she adds.
Make the party experience memorable
But don't sweat the details. "It's the experience that counts," says McArdle. "A Cinco de Mayo party is a great reason to get together with your friends and nurture your friendship through great food and entertaining."
More Cinco de Mayo cocktail ideas
How to make a frozen margarita
Thanks to those pre-mixed drinks pumped out of machines at Mexican restaurant chains, the frozen margarita has gained a reputation as the Slurpee of cocktails. But the real thing will have you singing along with the mariachi band in no time!