May 31, 2013

how to throw a fiesta party

Last weekend we threw a fiesta birthday party for my boyfriend. He loves mexican food and I thought it would be fun to make his favorite foods like tacos, nacho inspired potato skins, jalapeno poppers, tortilla chips and salsa, and decorate the house with pinatas, papel picado, and sombreros.

This week I want to show you what I made and what I bought so you can throw your very own fiesta at home.

  • Fringe backdrop - Learn how I made it here
  • Balloons - local party store. I didn't spend money on helium balloons or a tank.  I put the balloons up days in advance and didn't want them to fall, so I simply taped them to the wall and it gave them a floating look, saves time and money.
  • Menus - I made them myself.
  • Flowers and cactus plants - Bought from local flower and plant shop. You can also find faux succulents  on etsy
  • Papel Picado banners - Amol's Party Store
  • Sombrero (Perfect decoration and photo prop) - Amol's Party Store
  • Pinata Donkey - Learn how I made them
  • Cactus Pinata - Learn how I made the cactus pinata
  • Mini Pinatas - Amol's Party Store
  • Paper Flowers - I made the paper flowers that we hung on the ceiling, but you can purchase similar ones here. Hope to make a tutorial very soon.
  • Plastic maracas - local party store
  • Mexican Puppet - local estate sale
  • Red Peppers - I placed large colorful peppers around tables - local market
  • Tablecloths (Large white tablecloth and colorful mexican themed tablecloth, similar)
  • Three tier stand - Target 
  • Construction Paper for hand cut letters for birthday sign- local craft shop


  • Spicy hummus and veggies
  • Tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole
  • Chipolte cheese and crackers
  • Mexican potato skins (How to make)
  • Spicy almonds
  • Jalapeno poppers
  • Taquitos

  • We made a taco bar for people to serve themselves tacos and stuff with beef or beans, and taco dressings like chopped lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, avocado, shredded cheese and sour cream. 
  • Spanish rice
  • Black beans and refried beans
  • Potato Salad
  • Corn and tomato salad

  • Key lime cupcakes with slices of lime
  • Berry salad (blueberries and strawberries)
  • Mexican wedding cookies
  • Birthday cake which was custom made for Yanni by a local cake designer/baker. She created a papel picado banner, peppers, and a cactus all made with fondant.

It took some planning to lay out what I wanted and how I wanted to decorate everything. Good old and reliable paper and a pencil helped me lay everything out from how I wanted the rooms to look like, how many tables I needed for the food, desserts drinks, silverware, and decorations. 

If I had to give you a few tips I learned along the way they would be to:
  1. Purchase the party decorations you need at least a 6-8 weeks before the party just incase something is out of stock, you need more of something, it may take a while to deliver, and you may realize that you need more of something.
  2. Make the decorations well in advance. For example, I made the pinatas, fringe back-drop, paper flowers and the birthday letters weeks before the party. This got me excited for the party and I didn't have to worry about decorating the day of or days before. Additionally, this allowed time for adjustments.
  3. Set the tables for the party in advance too. One week before the party I set up the tables where I wanted them. I had two in the living room and one in the kitchen. I put the tablecloths on them and I even started arranging which plates and trays I was going to use and placed them on the tables.
  4. Use post-its to decide what food is going on what trays and plates. This help me figure it I needed to buy more plates and if certain foods would fit certain trays.
  5. If you are going to have a cake made shop around for different prices and availability. Our party was in May and for cake shops that's wedding season, so make sure you let them know when you need it and have them deliver the cake on the day of the event, this way your not running around and picking up the cake that morning.
  6. Clean the house the night before. Don't wait till the day of the party to clean in the morning. Sometimes you think you will have time before the party, but a bunch of things can come up before hand, like early guests.
  7. Make a timeline of what you need to do, the month before the party (invite guests), a week before the party, the days leading up to it, and what you need to do the day of.  I had the decorations up. The tables were set up, most of the food was cooked the night before and some appetizers were bought from the local mexican restaurant the day of. I wanted the morning to be stress free, so that I could just get ready in peace.  Don't forget to make a slot of time for you. Trust me, I have thrown parties and I always think I just need a few minutes to get ready before everyone arrives, but that never happens.

1 comment :

Mary Kate said...

Hi Kim! We love your blog, and just saw this Fiesta post. This party looked perfect! I was hoping we could share some of your photos with our customers for some great Fiesta inspiration, and share a link to your blog. Please let me know! You can email me at, if you'd like. Thanks. :)