Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Theme Party: Cinco de Mayo

Historically, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at the Battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862. A Cinco de Mayo party promises to be colorful, fun and festive!

Invitations: These great invitations will let your guests know they are in for a festive, casual party.

Decorations: Use bright, vibrant colors for your decorations. Utilize items such as sombreros, chili pepper lights, and maracas to decorate the room. Try covering your tables with Mexican serapes (shown below) to bring in an authentic feel. A neat centerpiece would be a sombrero filled with flowers. You could also make a centerpiece with real flowers and put them in an authentic Mexican food can like in the photo below. Pinatas can be used for both decoration and entertainment!

Feeling crafty? Try making some tissue paper flowers to decorate the room. Here are some simple instructions for making these flowers courtesy of Circle Time Kids.

-4 - 6 pieces of any color tissue paper cut into squares, approximately 8 inches
-One pipe cleaner
1. Stack the pieces of tissue paper with edges aligned, alternating colors.
2. Fold the stack as a fan (back and forth) in one inch folds until you have a 1x8 inch piece.
3. Use scissors to round out both edges of your "fan".
4. Squeeze the tissue "fan" in the middle and twist a pipe cleaner tightly around it for the stem.
5. Carefully fan out the tissue, then separate the petals and shape the flower and stem by pinching in the middle to bring the petals together.

Beautiful and authentic!

Another idea would be to hang tissue paper pomanders from the ceiling as shown below. If you aren't ambitious enough to make them, you can buy some on Etsy.

Favors: Send your guests home with items that fit with the theme such as maracas, tissue paper flowers, or some margarita salt.

Dessert: I love my dessert, and who can resist an adorable pinata cake like this one from Matty Cakes?

Food: Guacamole, salsa, enchiladas, tacos, Mexican rice...yum! There are so many possibilities. Try this delicious guacamole recipes courtesy of the Food Network's Tyler Florence.

-4 ripe avocados
-3 limes, juiced
-1/2 red onion, chopped
-1 garlic clove, minced
-2 Serrano chiles, sliced thinly
-1 big handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped
-Extra-virgin olive oil
-Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Halve and pit the avocados. Scoop out the flesh with a tablespoon into a mixing bowl. Mash the avocados with a fork, leaving them somewhat chunky. Add the remaining ingredients, and fold everything together to gently mix. Lay a piece of plastic wrap right on the surface of the guacamole so it doesn't brown and refrigerate 1 hour before serving.

Cocktails: What Cinco de Mayo party would be complete without margaritas? Here is a great recipe for a Beer Margarita from All Recipes:
-1 (12 fluid ounce) can frozen limeade concentrate
-12 fluid ounces tequila
-12 fluid ounces water
-12 fluid ounces beer
-1 lime, cut into wedges
Pour limeade, tequila, water, and beer into a large pitcher. Stir until well-blended, and limeade has melted. Add plenty of ice, and garnish with lime wedges. Adjust with additional water, if needed.

Music: A live mariachi band would be ideal for this party. But if you can't get a live band, pre-recorded music will be great. Amazon sells mixes of mexican party music that are sure to get you and your guests in the mood!

Now that you have all the elements in place....enjoy your party!

{Photo credits: Invitations from Party Invitations, Sarapes found here, flower collage clockwise from top left: Flowers in a galvanized pail found here, tissue pomanders found here, flowers in a sasla can from Flickr, flowers from Fresh & Vintage blog, Maracas from the Sassafrass Store, Margarita salt here, Salsa and guacamole from Flickr, Margarita from Devil Graphics.}

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