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  • Writer's pictureMichelle


During college, I worked at a Mexican restaurant in the small town where I attended school. I waited tables and also tended bar there. It was hard work and I was pretty much covered in sticky frozen margarita juice around the clock, but I made some lifelong friends working there and have so many fun memories from those days. As you can imagine, Cinco de Mayo was a big day for us at the restaurant, which was always more packed than normal on that day. Fast forward to over 10 years later, and I'm still adamant about celebrating Cinco de Mayo. How we celebrate has varied over the years, but this year I talked my husband into hosting a little fiesta with friends. Today I want to share all of the festive little party details with you!

The decor

Overall, I kept the decor relatively simple, and concentrated in the area we would mostly be in, aka the dining room. One great tip for saving money with party decorations is to gather up items you already have. So, for example, if gold is one of your party colors, gather random gold objects from around your house and mix those in with the decorations. Trust me, it just works!

I gathered up all of the cacti around our house and put them in the dining room. I also picked up a new cactus at Lowe's because I couldn't say no to the beautiful color.

I knew right away I wanted to display the cactus on my dining table, along with a mix of bright, colorful flowers and my recently purchased macrame runner from Target.

I headed to Trader Joe's for the flowers, and was not disappointed. They had a great selection of colorful buds. I picked a selection of ranunculus, wax flowers, carnations, pods, thistle, and some greenery. I love ranunculus, so I planned to have those be the star of the show, with the other flowers playing a supporting role while providing visual interest. I loosely arranged the flowers into 4 vessels. These pots are all hand-made by a very close friend of ours (you can check out his work on Instagram @verlynngoods).

I wanted the cacti and bright flowers to stand out, so I did not add a ton of other decorations. I grabbed the cute fiesta banner from Amazon, since I knew it would fit perfectly in the doorway from our dining to living room. I also relocated my letter board and this cactus print into the dining room for decor. I love changing my letter board out with cute phrases and quotes to fit the season, holiday, etc.

I grabbed a few of my outdoor pillows that have more of a boho/southwest vibe, and created a little seating area with those using a few dining chairs. And of course I had to include the cute cactus pillow!

I set up a simple margarita bar on the dresser in our dining room. I say simple because I didn't go crazy with all sorts of flavors, but I did give our guests some options. I mixed the margaritas ahead of time in a large pitcher. From there, guests could add mango nectar, limes, and jalapenos. I also included 2 salt options for rimming glasses: regular and chili lime.

I made the cactus drink stirrers using my mom's Silhouette machine. Don't worry if you don't have a Silhouette, you can buy these cuties on Etsy. I picked up a few fun drink accessories from the Target dollar spot, including the cactus skewers and colorful straws. I also grabbed a pack of cocktail umbrellas, which I turned into festive garland. I simply broke off around half of the toothpick in each umbrella and then tied the umbrellas to string. To add a pop of color (and also protect the dresser from spills since it was my grandmother's), I covered the dresser in colorful floral wrapping paper. An ice bucket, napkins, and glasses completed the margarita bar.

Similar to the margarita bar, as food was ready, that was "self-serve" as well. Our dining table held plates, silverware, napkins, more cactus skewers, water glasses, and a pitcher of water. I love this more casual approach to entertaining that lets guests help themselves - it makes for an easy party!

My husband handled the cooking, and in usual fashion, did not disappoint! The salsa and guacamole were ready as guests arrived, so they could snack on those until the first appetizer was ready. Everything was served family style so guests could easily help themselves. And we sure did - we ate 3 of those giant taco platters!

The menu

Homemade salsa and guacamole with tortilla chips

Shrimp ceviche

Bacon wrapped jalepenos

Pork carnitas tacos

Lime macarons with chocolate coconut almond topping (I know these don't exactly fit with my theme, but what can I say - I love making macarons!)

Selection of Mexican beer

Margaritas on the rocks

We had a blast! My husband tolerated the Cinco de Mayo playlist way longer than I thought he would (we even heard a few Selena songs, yessss) and letting guests self-serve on drinks and food was super convenient (despite a few spills). Special thanks to my friend Ely for capturing photos of the party while I was busy enjoying margaritas (as evidenced below). Cheers!

For more party inspiration, follow me on Pinterest!


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