Theming: Mexican inspiration

Take a cue from the vibrant traditions of a mexican fiesta- celebrate with all things big, bold and bright

  • Story by Photo Sutherland Kovach

At its heart, a wedding is a party – a celebration to mark the beginning of your lives together. Take inspiration from the colourful and exuberant tradition of Mexican fiestas and throw a soirée your guests won’t forget. Mexican weddings are all about decoration, colour, dressing up and having fun – so leave your inhibitions at the door and let your personal style shine.

◆ Decide on a colour palette by creating an inspiration board to ensure your look is cohesive. Paint charts from home renovation stores are a great resource.
◆ Be consistent with your colours. If you’ve selected fuschia, avoid using large blocks of pastel pink as this will seem too busy.
◆ To pull this look off, be bold and bright! Choosing lime green over hunter green can make all the difference.
◆ Jazz up your venue with crepe paper streamers in your colour palette and scatter paper confetti over the tables.
◆ Hang menus and place cards from wire with colourful clothes pegs.
◆ Create a festive atmosphere by using an abundance of glass jars and vases filled with sliced citrus fruit and blossoms.
◆ White tablecloths offer a neutral backdrop for vibrant colours. Incorporate a natural linen or hessian table runner for some texture.
◆ Enhance any space by suspending jugs or pottery from hooks and attaching hand-painted ceramics to walls.
◆ Add interest to table centrepieces with rough rock salt and reinforce the theme with bright green and red chillies.
◆ Add pizzazz to the party atmosphere by choosing a brightly coloured frock – and a frill or two never goes amiss! Alternatively, wow guests with a standout pair of shoes.
◆ Create an oversized bridal bouquet with brown and gold solidago and cactus dahlias in a range of colours.
◆ Don’t limit your flowers to bouquets or table arrangements. Add a textural touch to your bridal party ensemble by featuring succulents and fresh blooms in headwear, buttonholes, or corsages.
◆ Hire a mariachi band to circulate at the reception, stopping at various tables to serenade friends and family.
◆ In keeping with the Mexican fiesta theme, set up traditional party games such as a coconut shy or horseshoes.
◆ Provide fragrant potted herbs like coriander or mint as guest favours.
◆ Kick off the dancing with festive music, and get your guests grooving by hiring a salsa or samba instructor to give a lesson.
◆ Have embroidered Mexican throws on hand to ward off an evening chill – pretty yet practical.
◆ If you’re celebrating outdoors, set a basket of jandals near the edge of the dance floor so guests can ditch their shoes.

◆ Refresh guests after the ceremony with bottles of flavoured San Pellegrino and colourful straws or popsicles in a rainbow of flavours.
◆ A candy buffet is not only a show-stopping centrepiece your guests will love, but a treat for them to take home afterwards. Make paper cones for your guests to fill with sweets at the end of the night – we embellished ours with colourful matching buttons.
◆ Shop around for different varieties of corn. Serve it roasted with butter straight off the barbecue.
◆ Place a selection of tapas in the centre of each table. These Spanish-themed nibbles are designed to be shared and to encourage conversation among diners.
◆ Set up a taco bar and your guests will be talking about it long after the wedding. Include cheese, guacamole, sour cream, refried beans, spicy tomato salsa and plenty of coriander. Offer toppings in small paper cups so guests can help themselves.
◆ Keep the party going by installing an espresso bar with Fairtrade coffee from Latin American countries.
◆ Serve traditional Mexican wedding cakes – individual, shortbread-like cookies, made with pecans and dipped in cinnamon and powdered sugar. 

◆ Set up a backdrop with a Polaroid camera for fun portraits of you and your guests.
◆ Enhance the scene with sombreros, flower garlands and bright-coloured cushions that double as playful photo props.
◆ When creating your backdrop, leave room at each edge for it to be rolled around a length of dowel. Secure the backdrop at the top and bottom to prevent it from tossing in the breeze, or hang it against a wall.
◆ Design your invitation with a nod to traditional papel picado, brightly coloured rice paper flags often seen at Mexican parties.
◆ Give each guest a compilation CD of festive music such as Chingon, Los Lobos and Getz/Gilberto.
◆ An artistic invitation just begs to be displayed – this one could be framed and hung in your home after the wedding.
◆ Be inspired by great Mexican artists such as Frida Kahlo or Diego Rivera. Scatter postcards of their work on tabletops – these can also double as favours.
◆ Decorate place settings with colourful ceramic tiles in traditional patterns. Or have them painted with guests’ names for a place holder that’s also a keepsake.

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