Margarita(ville) Theme Party

How to throw a Jimmy Buffett Margarita-ville Style Party

Photo by shazwan

Think of a tropical place, the sun on your face, a frozen concoction that helps you hang on - now you're in MargaritavilleTM ! It may not be a real town, but it's a definite state of mind that Jimmy Buffett glorified in a magical location that he called Margaritaville.

Recreate that laid-back, sun-soaked feeling by throwing a MargaritavilleTM -inspired party this summer - we'll show you how.

From decorating ideas, to food and drinks you'll want to have, right down to the music, everything is here to help you kick off those flip-flops and have a great time.

Who's Jimmy Buffett and what's Margaritaville?

Just in case you aren't familiar with them...

Jimmy Buffett is an American singer-songwriter, author, and actor - although by far best known for his unique style of music that celebrates tropical island escapism and a casual and care-free lifestyle.  In the 1960's he began his music career, dabbling in country-western style, but in the 1970's he moved to Key West, Florida and influenced by the tropical subculture there, began establishing the easygoing beach-bum persona that he is best known for. He eventually gained widespread popularity in 1977 with his breakthrough hit song, "Margaritaville", from the album "Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes".

Since then, Buffett's image has become synonymous with tropical beaches, margaritas, flip-flops and Hawaiian shirts.  His concerts continue to draw thousands of wildly devoted fans, affectionately known as "parrotheads".

Having a Margarita-themed Party?

The first thing you'll need is a great Invitation!

Setting the stage for your party is key for getting your guests in the spirit of your theme.

That's what makes these fun, tropical and colorful custom invitations in a Margarita-inspired theme just perfect!  All invitations include free customization and envelopes too.  Prices vary depending on style, but all orders are produced in just 24 hours.  

Click on any invitation to view details and start customizing for your party!

Browse more terrific Margarita Invitations

Party Decorating Ideas

This is where the fun begins!

Photo by Barefootmusing

Think tropical getaway to a sleepy seaside town - sun drenched beaches and seashells, the sound of the surf, palm trees, and definitely some parrots.  This style is more casual, not so "luau".

Close your eyes and imagine napping in a hammock strung between palms on the beach, a white-washed beach cottage, flip-flops and bare feet, walking down by the shore.

It's more 'Key West', and less 'Hawaii'.

Now you're on the right track to MargaritavilleTM...

Decorations & Accessories

To help you set the mood

More Fun Decorating Suggestions

It's 5:00 Somewhere Tropical Party Wooden Plaque
Mayinc $39.95

My favorite saying... and words to live by.

Toland Home Garden Paradise Garden Flag 119182
Toland Home & Garden $10.39

I actually own this one - it's perfect!

Margaritaville Novelty Metal Street Sign $21.00

It's not just a destination - it's a state of mind!

Party Music

Why the music is so important

I truly believe that music is one of the most important elements to successfully integrate your theme seamlessly. To make this one authentic, there just has to be Jimmy Buffett tunes. With nearly 50 years of music making behind him, Buffett has tons of songs to keep the mood going all night. Create a playlist from these great selections and your guests will relax and unwind instantly. Mix in some more music from the islands, a little reggae, some steel drums, and the scene will be complete.

Boats, Beaches, Bars & Ballads [4 CD Box Set]
Margaritaville $48.99

This is hands-down the best collection of Jimmy Buffett songs I have ever owned.  This 4 disc box set is amazing and divides the songs into four sections (boats, beaches, bars, ballads) so there is absolutely something for everyone!

Songs You Know by Heart : Jimmy Buffett's Greatest Hit(s)
MCA $7.99

If you're looking for an economical addition to your music collection this disc is perfect for containing all of the best known and well-loved songs.  A must have for any Buffett party.

Meet Me In Margaritaville: The Ultimate Collection
Mailboat Records / MCA Records / UTV Records $13.99

A great collection of Jimmy Buffett songs - includes fan favorites and some newer tunes as well.

Margaritaville $4.99

A wonderful album of "new songs" that came out in 1994 - and they are wonderful to listen to.  If you already have an disc of Buffets big hits, this is a fun disc to add to your collection.  Another one of my favs.

Barometer Soup
Margaritaville $4.99

Released in the summer of 1995, this selection of new songs is best described as songs inspired by the works of artists inspired by Key West.  I love it.

More Music Ideas

Additional music by other artists

Include some music in the mix that brings the islands home and compliments your Jimmy Buffett songs perfectly!

Steel Drum Island Collection: Kokomo & More on
Tropical Music International $19.15

Party Food

No fussy food here

MargaritavilleTM is a laid-back place.  No fancy food, just easy to make, easy to eat grub.

But even if the food is casual, do jazz up its presentation by serving on colorful trays, beautiful Mexican-patterned platters or Fiesta-ware type dishes. Use one really big platter and place all the main dish items all around on it together. Remember, everything doesn't have to match. The idea is that this is a casual gathering using everyday items and mismatched glasses and dishes. 

Party Food Ideas

Keep it casual, keep it simple

  • Cheeseburgers in Paradise

    This is actually a title of a Buffett song, and so cheeseburgers should always be a part of any Margarita-ville party! Serve with a Mango Relish to give them a tropical twist. Just dice up ripe mango, tomatoes, and jalapenos. Throw in some thawed frozen corn kernels. Add fresh lime juice and lime zest with a dash of white wine vinegar and a pinch of sugar. Yum!

  • Coconut Shrimp

    Always delicious and always a favorite. You can make your own, or you can buy them frozen, pop them in the oven and it's no fuss. To really make them fantastic, create a Pina Colada dipping sauce by combining a little pina-colada mix with plain greek yogurt. Add a little shredded coconut. Taste and sweeten with a little artificial sweetener or sugar if still needed.

  • Caribbean Jerk Chicken

    "Jerk" is a seasoning blend, best known in Jamaica, and used as a dry rub on meats. Spicy and flavorful, it's perfect for barbecued chicken. And it's zesty flavor is absolutely amazing when accompanied by a margarita!

  • Fruit, luscious fruit!

    I can't think about the Caribbean without envisioning all the beautiful, exotic tropical fruits that grow there - like mango, papaya, kiwi and pineapple. Definitely have fruit at your party - a platter is nice or a fruit salad, served in a big watermelon, cut in half, scooped out and used as the serving bowl.

  • Salsa & Chips

    A standard party favorite and very appropriate here! Try the Tostito's brand lime-flavored tortilla chips for a twist.

  • Clam Dip

    Buffett sings of fish in so many of his songs... so any dip or spread made from ingredients from the sea are most appropriate!

Party Drinks

Of course, there will be Margaritas!

Of course there will be Margaritas, that goes without saying!  You just can't have a Margarita-themed party without 'em. In addition to the regular lime flavored, consider also having alternative flavors as well - like mango and strawberry. The hands-down best way to make margaritas for a crowd is with a margarita machine and I really do recommend investing in one, because once you have one of these parties, you will surely want to make them an annual event! But for any purists who believe only the classic margarita will do, check out:  

How to Make a Margarita

As not everyone is partial to the tequila in margaritas (I know, can you believe it?) having a wine-based drink available is a good idea too. A great choice to offer is Sangria. Consider making your own special home-made brew.  It's fun, it's really easy and it's totally refreshing on hot summer days. Best of all, you can (and should) make it ahead of time, so it's another no-fuss idea that makes it easier for you to enjoy the party too. For more information on homemade sangria, check out:

How to make Sangria

If you'll be having beer too, consider brands that go with your laid-back beach bum theme, like CoronaTM or LandsharkTM

Other great tropical drinks you might want to include:

  • Pina Colada
  • Mojito
  • Hurricane
  • Tequila Sunrise
  • Daiquiri
  • Bahama Mama

Recipes for these drinks are readily available on the internet.

Limes, lots of limes!

Don't forget to stock up on limes, you're gonna need 'em!

Making Margaritas

The frozen concoction that helps us hang on

Jimmy got that right. These are delicious and just the ticket to transport us to Margarita-ville.

Party Attire for Him

You have to look the part!

Party Attire for Her

Think tropical vacation style...

Parrot Themed Products

Great stuff for Parrotheads

Since Jimmy Buffett fans are known as "parrotheads" no party would be complete without some parrot-themed items.  

Polynesian Parrot Party Beverage Napkins 18 Per Pack
Creative Converting

To place under your drinks.

Plush Parrot Hat
Beistle $10.99

There's one in every crowd. C'mon, you know who he is.

Parrotheads having fun

Buffett fans are a fun-loving lot, that's for sure!

Have you ever been to a Margarita-ville party?

Let us know!

Margaritaville - Live

Jimmy Buffett sings his anthem song

One of Buffett's most famous songs, "Margaritaville", is the signature tune of those that dream of trading it all in and running off to live a laid-back lifestyle in a tropical climate.

Party Favor Idea

Your guest will love it

I did this one year at one of my margarita-themed parties and it was a big hit, so I thought I'd share it with you.  

Buy pin-back buttons, such as those shown below, trying to select as many different designs as you have guests. If it's a very large party this may not be possible, but try to have as few duplicate buttons as possible. Just make sure you have enough so that everyone can have one - including the hosts, of course.

Now there's two ways you can have your guests select a button. One way is to place all the pins in a basket or spread them out on a table and each guest choose their own as they arrive at the party. The second way is to place all the pins in some sort of container that they cannot see into. Greet your guest and have them (very carefully) reach in and take one button from inside the container, sight unseen. This method can be pretty funny depending on who gets what, because the only rule is YOU MUST WEAR THE PIN YOU CHOOSE. No switching allowed.

Your guests will have fun checking out each others pins, and getting laughs out of all the sayings - and who winds up wearing them. Trust me.

Party Favor Buttons

There's more where these came from...

Click on any of the buttons below to see details and pricing... and to see more buttons!

Palm Trees

You really have to have palm trees!

If you're lucky enough to live where you have real, live palm trees, dress them up with twinkle lights and you're good to go. But if you're like me in the dreary Northeast, you'll need to improvise because a party theme like this just has to have palm trees.  Don't you agree?

Beistle 55137 Jointed Palm Tree, 6-Feet
The Beistle Company $8.14

How to make Sangria - Three Delicious Recipes

Red Sangria - Photo by TheCulinaryGeek

A chilled glass of fresh, fruity Sangria is the perfect summer beverage for casual entertaining and relaxing. A semi-sweet alcoholic drink, traditiona... Read more

How to Make a Perfect Margarita

There are just about as many recipes for Margaritas as there are people who drink them, but to make a really great margarita you need only a few ingre... Read more

How To BBQ Lobster

BBQ Lobster

Barbecuing lobster tails is as easy as barbecuing a steak on the grill. BBQ lobster takes under 15 minutes to make from start to finish. Grilled lobst... Read more

Photo by Loren Sztajer

Photo by Loren Sztajer

Have you ever hosted a Margarita-themed Party?

Would you like to throw one?

I love hosting this kind of party (can you tell?) and I have one every year.  Have you ever thrown one? Tell us about it! I'd love to hear about your experiences.


3 leaves
12 forum posts
Sharon on said:
I love this! As I scrolled down the page and saw the frosty marguerita, I thought, "It's 5:00 Somewhere"; yet, realizing it's not quite eleven in the morn, I'd better save that thought for an hour or more ... : )
49 leaves
51 forum posts
oh, I know what you mean! Sometimes I wish I could just live in Margaritaville forever *sigh*
10 leaves
20 forum posts
Nice lens. It sounds like a fun party theme.
49 leaves
51 forum posts
Thank you! I have a lot of fun throwing this party every summer... it really never gets old!
30 leaves
146 forum posts
This is such a great party lens. I love all of the ideas. I wish I had a Margarita right now.

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