Start Here for a Fabulous Fiesta
From bold and colorful decor accents to delicious twists on authentic Mexican dishes, you can easily plan, prep, and throw a Mexican-theme summer party in one week or less. Nab our decorating tips, recipes, and party timeline for a no-fuss backyard soiree.
Party Decor: Tin Luminarias
Light up the festivities with tin luminarias. Check thrift shops and garage sales for tin candleholders with elaborate designs, then place a tealight candle inside. The glow from the candles will add an intimate feel to your outdoor party.
Party Decor: Burlap Chair Covers
Easily dress up plain patio chairs with large burlap sacks. Some burlap coffee sacks indicate where they're from; most coffee is shipped from Latin American countries (which will match the party theme). Ask your local coffee shop if they have any leftover bags from their most recent shipment (that's what we used here) or head to a crafts store to get materials to make your own.
Party Decor: Hanging Flowers
Add festive color to your Mexican fiesta with easy-to-make tissue-paper flowers. Make a few in different colors and sizes, and hang them with thin wire from an overhead patio structure or your backyard fence.
Party Recipe: Mexican Margaritas
Get the party started with a pitcher (or two!) of these flavorful margaritas. Whether you opt to make regular or watermelon margaritas (we have recipes for both), they're sure to be a party hit.
Planning Tip: Prep the margaritas the day before in a pitcher and refrigerate. On the day of the party, rub each glass rim with a lime wedge and dip in salt.
Makes: 9 servings
Start to Finish: 15 mins
Party Recipe: Chunky Guacamole
It wouldn't be a Mexican-theme party without guacamole. Our version keeps it simple and chunky with chopped tomatoes, garlic, and lime juice. Pick out very ripe avocados to take most of the work out of mashing.
Planning Tip: Gather the guacamole ingredients just before the party starts so you can prepare the guacamole in front of guests, restaurant-style.
Yield: 2 cups
Start to Finish: 20 mins
Party Recipe: Tomatillo-Watermelon Salad
Tomatillos, a Mexican cooking staple, shine in this flavorful fruit-and-vegetable salad. Cubed watermelon gives the dish a sweet flavor, while feta cheese adds a bit of tang.
Planning Tip: Prep the sweet and spicy dressing on Tuesday and refrigerate until the party. Make the salad on Friday, since it only takes 35 minutes total.
Makes: 10 servings
Start to Finish: 35 mins
Party Recipe: Grilled Drunken Shrimp and Scallop Skewers
Fire up the grill for these delicious seafood skewers, bathed in an irresistible tequila-lime marinade. Half of the marinade dresses up a side slaw of jicama, avocado, and cilantro for a party-ready main dish that's bursting with flavor.
Planning Tip: Make the marinade and prepare the slaw on Wednesday; cover and refrigerate seperately. The day of the party, prep the shrimp and scallops; soak in the marinade. Just before the guests arrive, thread the seafood onto the skewers and refrigerate until grilling time.
Makes: 6 servings
Prep: 25 mins
Marinate: 15 mins
Grill: 8 mins
Party Recipe: Ribeye Steak and Corn on the Cob
Throw some steaks and corn on the grill for a different main-course party option. Of course, we made sure to amp up the Mexican flavors in both recipes. The steak is rubbed with ancho chile powder and cocoa powder (trust us, the combo is fantastic), and the corn is topped with a deliciously spicy chile and lime butter.
Planning Tip: The day before the party, prepare the butter mixture for the corn and refrigerate. Remove husks and silks from corn; cut each cob into three pieces. Place in a resealable plastic bag; seal and refrigerate. Apply the chile-cocoa rub to the steaks; refrigerate uncovered. The day of the party, bring the steaks to room temperature and fire up the grill!
Makes: 10 servings
Prep: 20 mins
Grill: 30 mins
Party Recipe: Fruity Sangria Pops
There's nothing better than cool sangria on a hot summer day. So we took it a step further and made frozen pops from the popular Spanish drink. Fresh strawberries, kiwifruit, green grapes, and mango are part of our fruity mix, which serves as a delicious surprise when you eat the pop.
Planning Tip: Because the pops need to be frozen at least 24 hours in advance, save yourself the stress and prep them on Monday, so they'll be ready to take out when the party starts at the end of the week.
Makes: 12 servings
Prep: 30 mins
Freeze: 6 hrs to 24 hrs
Stand: 5 mins