In the summertime, entertaining needs to be easy — so you have more time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the warm-weather eats. We set out to create fun, complete party experiences using only five essential ingredients, from tasty food and drinks to decor and games. Party on!
Here in Texas, we eat a lot of Mexican food; Tacos, enchiladas and guacamole are such a staple on my dinner table that they practically constitute their own food group. So when the outdoor temps heat up, I love to make these favorites feel a little more festive by throwing a south-of-the-border fiesta complete with frosty margaritas, colorful maracas and a candy-filled piñata. I recently celebrated summer’s arrival with such a fête in my backyard, and jazzed up my normal outdoor setup with vibrant flowers, a spicy menu and décor that channeled a Mexican beach town.
To throw this fiesta at home, you need five essential ingredients:
- All the fixin’s for the perfect guacamole
- Succulents potted in Mexican food cans (decor and party favors in one!)
- Piñata filled with colorful candy
- Paper flag garlands to string overhead
- Ice cold margaritas — frozen or on-the-rocks!
Click here to see the fiesta in action and get tips on throwing your own Mexican party.
To satisfy a variety of tastes and to make things easier, I set up a self-serve taco bar and let guests have fun building their favorite combinations. I stacked my table with all the toppings my guests could desire: warm flour and corn tortillas, diced grilled chicken, shredded cheese, pickled red onions, cherry tomatoes, a variety of salsas, guacamole and limes. And don’t forget necessary condiments like hot sauce and lime wedges! For buffet-style service, it’s usually best to place the plates at the “beginning” (the left side) and napkins and flatware at the “end” (the right side.) This creates the optimal flow and keeps your guests from having to juggle too many items as they make their way down the bar. See the buffet table set up here.
To wash down all those delicious tacos, I offered plenty of Mexican cokes, Topo Chico waters, ice cold cervezas and frosty margaritas served in traditional glassware. To make frozen margaritas for a crowd, I recommend a little advance prep. Before guests arrive, mix batches of extra-strong margaritas and keep them chilled in glass pitchers in the fridge. All that’s left to do at party time is combine with lots of ice in a blender, then pour into salt-rimmed glasses and serve.
Since I wanted to stay out of the kitchen and celebrate with my friends as much as possible, I kept dessert simple and delicious with key lime tartlets, colorful sugar cookies and Mexican wedding cookies. These can all be prepared a day in advance and look beautiful when passed around on platters at the end of the night. Get the Mexican dessert recipes here.
See how this party came together and get fiesta decorating tips and game ideas here.
Camille Styles is the founder and editor of lifestyle blog camillestyles.com, where she shares creative entertaining ideas for parties and everyday life. She also owns Camille Styles Events, a design and planning firm that transforms ordinary events into extraordinary experiences.