6 Cinco de Mayo Party Ideas (Recipes, Decor, & More)

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 the 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… and since then, on each Cinco de Mayo, we always reminisce on that sweet, festive celebration my mom pulled together on my behalf. Fast forward many 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. Through the years, I have shared Cinco de Mayo celebration ideas, from tablescapes to food to party favors, so today, I’m sharing a little from across the board with six Cinco de Mayo party ideas.

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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.

1. 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

Bar Cart

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 everyone can get in on the festive celebration with virgin margaritas.

Sources: Bar Cart | White Pitcher (similar) | Gold Picks (similar)

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 of glasses, 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.

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.

Six Cinco de Mayo Party Ideas

Sources: Bar Cart | White Pitcher (similar) | Gold Picks (similar)

2. Festive Mexican Fiesta Table Decorations

When we were flying home from Texas several years ago, 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. I borrowed some pieces from her to use for my fiesta dinner party.

Mini cactus place setting centerpiece for Cinco de Mayo

I lucked out and scored some colorful napkins on clearance, which were the initial inspiration for the entire table. Unfortunately, they are no longer available, but I LOVE these adorable napkins– that are available in several different color options.

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

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Table Decorations and Other Cinco de Mayo Party Ideas

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

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. HERE’S another mini plant option that ships for free!

Mini Cactus Fiesta Party Favor

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.

Pepper Centerpiece for Cinco de Mayo Table

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

Cinco de Mayo Tablescape and Party Ideas

3. Taco Bar

I even traded in my floral wreath for a sombrero 😉 Set up a full, make your own taco/nacho/taco salad bar with all the fixings!

Taco Bar Ideas for Cinco de Mayo and More Cinco de Mayo Party Ideas

The key to a good taco bar is to provide variety. A LOT of variety. It’s also 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 some taco topping ideas:

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

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 😉

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 to make and delish.

4. Deviate from the Bar with a Make Your Own Nachos/Taco Board

Another delicious way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo is to serve a Make Your Own Nachos Bar…board style!

Make Your Own Nacho Bar -- The Perfect Mexican Nacho Board with Toppings and Sauces for your Next Mexican Fiesta!

Find the full post with board ideas and ingredients HERE.

5. Serve Festive Homemade Apps

If you’ve never made homemade salsa, you can grab our recipe HERE — warning… it’s simple and amazing and you’ll wanna make it all summer!

How to Make Homemade Salsa with Simple Ingredients

Homemade Salsa Recipe

Even more than the salsa, though, THIS homemade guacamole is something I crave regularly and my friends always ask for.

Best Easy Guacamole Recipe

Homemade Guacamole Recipe

6. Give a South of the Border Flair to a Family Dinner

We typically eat a Mexican-style dinner at least once a week, so if you’re seeking some inspiration on dishes to make for Cinco de Mayo without going all out, here are several dinner ideas to commemorate the day.

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!

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  1. 4.30.24
    Joy Cooper said:

    Where are those cute colorful goblets from?