Upon meeting Mayra Farret on Bravo’s new show Texicanas, you immediately learn two things. One, Mayra’s a perfectionist to the hilt. And two, she’s an event planner extraordinaire. Born and raised in Mexico, Mayra throws a lot of parties for her friends and family, from first communion parties to Easter parties to, of course, Cinco de Mayo parties.
“We usually throw a party like every single holiday,” she told Home & Design. And get this — she typically does it all by herself. You read that right! Mayra doesn’t use a rental company… because she prefers to buy everything she needs and store it in her three-car garage for future use. No joke: She owns 10 tables, 60 chairs, and linens in every hue of the rainbow. She also prefers to cook all the food herself!
Luckily these days Mayra has realized the key to sanity is to seek out some help. “I’ve been getting better at delegating stuff,” she said. “At the beginning, you know, I wanted to do everything and I was going insane, I would be exhausted. So I’ve been getting better at hiring staff like a catering company and bartenders. Here’s a tip: Hire one bartender for every 50 people at your event!”
We asked Mayra to tell us exactly how to throw an amazing Cinco de Mayo party, and she was happy to oblige. Check out all of her party tips below — our favorite is: “Make sure you get enough sleep the night before and you can actually focus on looking happy and beautiful the day of the party!” — and be sure to catch the premiere of Texicanas on May 7 at 10/9c!
“Have a list of drinks that people can choose from,” Mayra advised. “This makes the bartender’s job much simpler and it's fun for the guests to try something different! Its also important to keep your options open for non-alcoholic drinks. You don’t have to have a bartender for the wáter station. You can just have cold dispensers and glasses available.”
“Always have food available at all time. I like to divide the food in three different stations; the appetizers, main course, and dessert table. For appetizers, I would suggest a tostada buffet (one ceviche tostada, one chicken, one steak salpicon), panela cheese, different types of guacamole, a fruit salad, and cups with a Mexican mix of peanuts, conchitas, and Fritos. Keep the lime juice and Valentina Sauce handy!”
“For the main course I would suggest either having a buffet or have someone making the food right on the spot (I obviously like the second option better, but it’s also more expensive). There is nothing more Mexican than tacos. Consider hiring a person for the grill and have them make fresh tacos with fresh tortillas to your guests. Remember to keep a veggie option, a white meat, and red meat option. There are other options of food that can be done on the spot and are usually more affordable than having a person at the grill, like gorditas and sopes, tlayudas, quesadillas, and tortas.”
“I like to have small bites of many types of desserts. That way your guests can try a different variety. You can also have dessert wines on this table. I suggest you have small shot glasses for them. The most successful desserts from Mexico are arroz con leche, flan, churros, tres leches cake, and traditional candy like glorias, cocadas, mazapan, obleas con cajeta, tamarind and chamoy candy.”
5. Late-Night Eats
“If a party goes longer than four hours, I recommend you have another main entree. This is what we call ‘la torna.’ The popular torna party dishes are pozole, chilaquiles, and tamales.”
“Start the parties with slow and easy music. Something that will help people break the ice while they are getting their first drinks. After a couple of hours, start turning up the beat and sound. Having a DJ or a playlist will help you not worry about this section. And a Mexican fiesta is never complete without a mariachi! We usually have the mariachi at the end of the party, and that’s the signal that the party is over.”
“I always like to go online to get some inspiration to decorate my parties. I love Pinterest. Here is what I suggest you spend your décor budget on: Photobooth, flower arrangements, wall décor (crepe flowers!), ceiling décor (pinatas!), and table décor (colorful zarapes and plates!).”
8. Party Favors
“I always like my friends to take something home to remember the party. Small talavera jars, tortilleros, mercado bags filled with Mexican candy, decorated cookies, lotería games, mini cactuses and my favorite… miniature tequila bottles!"
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