Cinco de Mayo Mexican Fiesta Dinner Party Ideas (Plus, the Best Authentic Guacamole Recipe)

I will always remember my college graduation day. Not because it marked years of hard work, accomplishment, or the beginning of a new chapter, but because it was Cinco de Mayo. Following commencement, I had both Virginia friends and friends who had driven up from Georgia (on a whim as a surprise) come together for a big Cinco de Mayo graduation fiesta. It was actually dubbed “Cinco de Kelley” – and yes, I know the translation makes zero sense haha. It was one of my most favorite days, with my favorite people, with my favorite food… since then, each Cinco de Mayo, we always reminisce on that sweet, festive celebration my mom pulled together on my behalf. Fast forward several years later… with my love of everything Mexican combined with Dave’s hometown of San Antonio, if holidays were spirit animals, Cinco de Mayo would be ours. This year, I wanted to pull together a celebration that combined elements from that favorite day in May from my twenties with all the sights and sounds we experienced at Fiesta last year (you can see that full post HERE). As a bonus, along with all the Cinco de Mayo dinner party fiesta ideas, I’ll be sharing Dave’s famous (seriously), authentic guacamole recipe at the bottom of the post.

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Colorful Table Decorations for Mexican Fiesta Party

Whether you are planning a full graduation sized soiree or are hosting an intimate dinner, hopefully you’ll finish this post with all kinds of ideas – from food to decorations – to host the most festive Mexican fiesta ever.

The Festive Margarita Bar Cart

Don’t overthink this one. Unless you have a bartender with access to a full bar, all you need are the basics. Stick to your favorite margarita recipe; and determine ahead of time that they will all be served on the rocks. Frozen is fun but you will stay glued to the blender if you decide to offer options. If they will all be poured over ice, you can prepare a big batch ahead of time and store in the refrigerator. Then, you can fill your pitcher(s) as needed; you can even store several carafes (like THESE) in the fridge and let those serve as your pitchers.

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Margarita Bar Cart Styling

You don’t have to provide a variety of beer and wine, especially for your Mexican themed party. Stick to your signature drink along with Mexican cerveza. For those who don’t drink, have pitchers/bottles of limeade on hand so they can get in on the festive celebration with virgin margaritas.

Modelo styled on Mexican Bar Cart

Let your citrus serve as your bar cart decor and have a LOT of limes on hand – these will be used in margaritas, beer, and in lining the rims in preparation of salt. For presentation, I like to pour margarita salt on a small bread plate. It will also keep your unused margarita salt fresh in the original package.

Mexican Bar Cart for Cinco de mayo with Flowers and Limes

Lastly, I took full advantage of throwing a colorful party by hitting my closet and sifting through scarves and fabric. I found the most fun, golden tasseled scarf; I don’t know where it came from or how long I’ve had it (or if it’s ever been worn) but I think it was made for this Cinco de Mayo fiesta.

Mexican themed bar cart

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Mexican Themed Bar Cart with Margaritas and Modelo

The Mexican Fiesta Table Decorations

When we were flying home from Texas last year, the one piece of Mexican pottery I brought back busted. I suppose I’ve moved past that heartbreak but lucky for me, my mom has a ton. When I was visiting with her a couple months ago, we had the foresight to pull some pieces that I envisioned at my fiesta dinner party.

Mini cactus place setting centerpiece for Cinco de Mayo

I lucked out and scored some colorful napkins on clearance during my trip too, which were the initial inspiration for the entire table. Unfortunately, they are no longer available but I LOVE these adorable napkins– instead of big bold color, they have sweet little colorful tassel details.

I wanted to do something different for the centerpiece and assembled all kinds of ideas using small colorful peppers in my mind. When I saw these tulips, they were too reminiscent of peppers themselves; I had to incorporate them, also 😉

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Table Decorations

I used hand blown glass Mexican glass goblets on the side place settings (SIMILAR) and Mexican pottery goblets at each end (SIMILAR).

margarita with salt

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Tablescape

I found mini cacti at Home Depot for party favors and place setting markers; I printed little name cards, taped them to toothpicks, and punched a corner lace detail. Even if you aren’t hosting a dinner party, you can get several to set up as favors for guests.

Mini Cactus at Each Place Setting for Mexican Themed Party

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Vase of Peppers for Mexican Fiesta Centerpiece

Along with the arsenal of pieces I borrowed from my mom, I resorted to resourcefulness around my own house. I added a tasseled pashmina as a table runner (also a find from my closet) and flipped pink polka dot doilies upside down at each place setting – I thought they were reminiscent of little Mexican banners.

Mini Cactus Fiesta Party Favor

I made an effort to think outside the box, too – one of the mini Mexican pottery pieces I borrowed was a small garden pot. I lined it with paper towels at the bottom and used it as a chip bowl for the table. You can find a similar one HERE.

Spicy, Authentic Guacamole Recipe

Pepper Centerpiece for Cinco de Mayo Table

Cinco de Mayo Decorating Ideas

Mexican Fiesta Table Decoration Ideas

With so much vibrant color, I kept the dinnerware and runners as neutral as possible.

Cactus Favor Centerpiece for Cinco de Mayo Guests

Cinco de Mayo Tablescape and Party Ideas

And then I extended the whiteware to the buffet for the taco bar. I even traded in my floral wreath for a sombrero 😉

Cinco de Mayo Dinner Party Ideas

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The Taco Bar (with All the Topping Ideas)

My mom hosted Cinco de Kelley with a full taco bar – it was fun, easy to batch, and perfect. The key to a good taco bar is to provide variety. A LOT of variety.

Taco Bar Ideas for Cinco de Mayo

It’s a relatively inexpensive way to feed several people so splurge a little and display all the toppings.

DIY Taco Bar with Toppings and Sides

Here are a few taco topping ideas:

  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Olives
  • Pickled Jalapenos
  • Fresh Jalapeno/Serrano Peppers
  • Green Onion
  • Cheese
  • Cilantro
  • Lime
  • Guacamole
  • Sour Cream
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Salsa
  • Salsa Verde
  • Hot Sauce
  • Mexicorn
  • Black Beans
  • Refried Beans

DIY Taco Bar for Cinco de Mayo

Taco Bar Toppings and Menu Ideas

You can offer multiple salsas or if you have a crowd, easily set up a little salsa bar. If people are grazing at a party,  you’ll go through a lot more salsa than at a dinner party. Be prepared. A lot of people (raising my hand over here) put that stuff on everything 😉

Salsa Bar in DIY Taco Bar for Cinco de Mayo Party

If you make flour tortillas, taco shells, and chips available, guests will be able to create tacos/nachos/burritos/etc. If you’re REALLY feeling ambitious, you can even add taco salad shells. But, that’s total over-achiever status 😉

Taco Shells in Taco Bar for Cinco de Mayo

Have both beef and chicken available. The chicken mixture can be prepared the day before; you can even use the recipe I use for my chicken tortilla soup (HERE); seriously – it’s simple and delish.

Food Menu Ideas for Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Party

Loaded Soft Taco from DIY Taco Bar

The Best Authentic Guacamole Recipe (that’s SUPER Easy!)

Lastly, even if you forego all Cinco de Mayo festivities and hang in alone with a good book/Netflix, do yourself a favor and whip up this delicious guac.  I’ve known Dave for a decade now and throughout that entire time, our friends request his special guacamole more than any other dish either of us makes. It’s super simple and just requires tasting as you go. He was reluctant to pass over his secrets so if you make it, let me know and I’ll pass the word along 😉

Authentic Guacamole recipe easy with sour cream

Authentic Guacamole recipe easy with sour cream
5 from 8 votes

Easy Authentic Guacamole (with Sour Cream)


  • 2 ripe avocados (should be able to press into it- not too hard)
  • 1 cup finely diced tomatoes
  • 1 minced serrano pepper (can substitute jalapeno for more mild)
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (can substitute fresh)
  • dash salt - to taste
  • 1/4 cup diced green onion (optional)


  1. Halve the avocados and scoop into a medium sized mixing bowl. Set pits aside.

  2. Using a potato masher, mash avocados until most chunks are gone.

  3. Add sour cream, tomatoes, onion, and the pepper, and stir. 

  4. Add juice from 1/2 a lime.

  5. Add garlic powder and salt. Don't overdo it; add gradually until taste preference is achieved.

  6. Add the pits to the guacamole mixture, stir well, garnish with green onion (optional) and serve with chips. The pits help the guacamole from turning brown.

Recipe Notes

*Optional Preparation* If you prefer, you can toss tomato and pepper in a food processor for a thinner consistency before adding to guacamole.

*You can add cilantro, if preferred.

Whether you are prepping for Cinco de Mayo or have another Mexican fiesta party celebration on the horizon, I hope it is full of color, friends, and fun – cheers! Subscribe to my emails below and never miss any of my entertaining and party ideas!

Sources & Room Details

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Chairs – Linen | Bar Cart12-Light Chandelier | Tapered (Brass) Candle Sticks | Pillar (Brass) Candle Holders | Mercury Glass Candle Holders | Mirror: Homegoods – (SIMILAR) | Dining Table:  (84″ in Salvaged Brown) | Buffet: (72″ in Distressed White) | Curtain Panels: (98″ in White) | Rug: HomeGoods- Safavieh | Lamps: HomeGoods – (SIMILAR) | Silver Tea Service: Family Heirloom – (SIMILAR) | Cream Table Runners | Church Painting | Hydrangea Wreath (DIY Tutorial HERE) | Water Lillies Art | Paint: Lauren’s Surprise by Sherwin Williams | Flooring: Nottaway Hickory in Weathered Saddle

If you liked this idea, here are some more party ideas you may be interested in…

Decor and Food Ideas for a Mexican Fiesta Party with a DIY Taco Bar

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  1. 4.28.18
    Lori H said:

    Thanks for all the great ideas! I would not have thought of using the multicolored peppers as decor!

    • 4.28.18

      Lori, thank you for visiting! If you have a Trader Joe’s nearby, you can get bags of snack peppers for $1.99 – super inexpensive 😉

  2. 4.28.18
    Rebecca Shepeard said:

    5 stars
    You know I love every bit of this! See you soon ?

  3. 4.28.18
    Kara Siegel said:

    5 stars
    I love this! Thank you for the recipe 🙂

    • 4.28.18

      Kara, you are so welcome!! Happy fiesta 😉

  4. 4.28.18
    Gretchen Thomas said:

    5 stars
    You know I am smiling big as I view this gorgeous and fun post. Cinco de Kelley wa such a special celebration. Fast forward to now and just look! I love every detail. The table is gorgeous! The pepper tulips are brilliant. Plus, what a special gift from Dave in sharing his guacamole recipe. It is definitely the best!

    • 4.28.18

      Nan! I am so so glad. You made Cinco de Kelley so special and because of that day, Cinco de Mayo will always be a favorite. xoxo

  5. 4.28.18

    I think this is one of my favorite tables of yours (which is saying a lot!). Love those napkins so much and the sombrero on the mirror = perfecto! When can I come for the big fiesta?? 🙂

    • 4.28.18

      Kris, now. Leave that kitchen and come now.

  6. 4.28.18
    Anna Martinez said:

    5 stars
    I love all the color and clever ideas!
    Taco bar = ME HUNGRY!
    Beautiful post.
    Muchas Gracias for all the great tips!

    • 4.28.18

      Oh, thank you! Wishing you a festive Cinco!

  7. 4.28.18
    April Grunewald said:

    I love this!! We are having a Fiesta themed couples shower for some friends this summer and you have given me so many great ideas! I just wish I could find those napkins, they are beautiful!

  8. 4.28.18
    Susan said:

    5 stars
    Kelley, such great ideas ( as always)! Tell Dave he’s the man for sharing his recipe……SO good! ?

  9. 4.29.18
    Vivian Holtz said:

    5 stars
    Thanks Kelly! I’m definitely trying that!!

  10. 4.30.18

    Oh my gosh Kelley this all looks so fab! I love the napkins and the whole tablescape is gorgeous! The mini cactus are so cute!
    Thanks for all the inspo!
    xoxo, Jenna

    • 5.1.18

      Jenna, thank you so much! I wish every day could be a Mexican fiesta 😉

  11. 1.19.19
    Debbie Sunshine! said:

    5 stars
    WOW!GREAT IDEAS!!! I LOVE THEM ALL!!!!! I love that your posts & recipes can be used for a few guests r easy plan for a party ! Love this post! LOVE to see more of your ideas for buffet meals… I love these! Being from Texas & visiting San Antonio every chance I get… THIS POST KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK! I love your approach to entertaining… fresh food .. casual … fun & relaxed!!! Isn’t that the very best way to entertain! OLE’! More OLE’! recipes & table ideas! Thanks!:)

    • 1.19.19

      I love that!!! Dave being from San Antonio has definitely influenced me 😉

  12. 4.9.19
    Kristy said:

    5 stars
    LOVE how creative you got with every little detail… and totally stealing this guacamole recipe! Looks so yummy. And beautiful! We chose to do a twist on the classic grad party by incorporating some fun fiesta vibes.. check it out on our blog!

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