How to Host Your Own Havana Nights Theme Party

If you love planning a themed gathering or indulging in decadent Cuban food, put your hosting skills to the test with our Havana Nights gathering. From creating a stunning color palette to cooking up a flavorful menu, we've gathered our best tips and tricks for hosting your very own Havana Nights themed party. 

The Importance of a Curated Gathering

There's nothing we love more than entertaining. Inviting our nearest and dearest for themed gatherings allows us to create cherished memories that will last a lifetime. While there's always a time and place to set a table for a spontaneous party, making the effort to curate and theme every element of your gathering allows you to design a tablescape and menu you love. Every detail brings your beautiful vision to life, from the serving dishes to festive salt and pepper shakers.

Curating a gathering also makes the people you love feel special and cared for. Whether you just put in a little effort to set the table or go all out with a themed menu and matching décor, you create a personal and unique experience for your guests. Our family recently did just that when we hosted a birthday dinner for our mother {and Coton Colors Founding Artist and CEO}, Laura. We decided to tap into Miami roots to host a Havana Nights inspired gathering, complete with delicious, easy, and oh-so-fun Cuban cuisine as the star of the show. 

Where Did the Havana Nights Theme Originate?

The Havana Nights theme is a popular choice for dances, dinner parties, and more — but where does it come from? Havana is Cuba's capital, known for its diverse and vibrant food and music community. From flavorful cuisine to bright colors and punchy patterns, every element of Havana nightlife inspires unforgettable themed gatherings. 

Why We Love a Havana Nights Theme

On a personal note, Laura grew up in Miami, which is home to Little Havana. Thanks to those traditional Cuban culture, cuisine, and style influences, we grew up listening to countless stories from our mom's and grandparents' Miami lifestyle in the '60s and '70s. Those colorful tales helped us pull inspiration for our own Havana Nights themed party

What Occasion is Best for a Havana Themed Party?

You can throw a Havana Nights themed party for a variety of occasions. While we used this theme for Laura's birthday party, there are many reasons to host a Havana themed party, including:

  • Engagement parties {especially if the couple met in or has ties to Miami or Cuba}
  • Anniversary parties
  • Summertime patio soirees
  • Formal plated dinners
  • Murder mystery parties {set in Miami, of course!}

How to Host a Havana Nights Theme Party in 7 Simple Steps

With a little guidance, anyone can bring the vibrant colors, sounds, and tastes of Cuban culture into their home with a Havana Nights theme party. Follow our step-by-step advice and experience the Miami magic for yourself.

Step 1: Send the Invites

When hosting a themed party, it’s important to send out invitations at least two weeks in advance to give your guests ample time to RSVP “yes” or “no.” Both mailed invite cards and e-vites are sufficient. Sending these out beforehand allows you to accurately plan each place setting and recipe size for your Havana Nights themed menu. You should also ask any guests to note if they have any allergies so you have adequate time to make changes to the menu. 

Within the invite, make sure to include a dress code so guests can decide what to wear to your Havana Nights themed party. This can be a color palette, a level of formality, or even a full-on mood board, should you feel so inclined. 

Pro tip: Music enhances the fantastic atmosphere of a Havana-themed party, so if you intend to set that Cuban ambiance, consider including a playlist song suggestion box in your invite. This simple touch is a fun way to include your guests in one of the most fun aspects of the Havana Nights theme.

Step 2: Design a Havana Nights Theme Menu

Food is an important part of Cuban culture, so nailing down a mouthwatering menu is crucial for a Havana Nights themed party. Every recipe should include some form of Havana influence, whether using a popular ingredient or spice or inventing your twists on timeless Miami classics. 

What Are Some Common Ingredients Used in Cuban Cuisine?

As a Latin-based cuisine, Cuban food is known for its interesting use of sweet, savory, and spicy flavors. If you want to incorporate the most used ingredients into your Havana Nights party menu, consider featuring plantains, limes, tomatoes, cumin, black beans, garlic, and jalapenos.

Our Havana Nights Theme Menu

Since Laura grew up surrounded by tasty Cuban dishes, we knew we had to put together a spectacular All-Cuban Cuisine menu featuring her favorites. By mixing family recipes and flavor-filled new dishes, our Havana Nights theme menu was born: 


Cuban Sandwiches — with grilled ciabatta loaves, our cumin spice pulled pork, and a drizzle of tomato jam on top, these flavorful sandwiches are sure to impress your Havana Nights party guests.


Fried Green Plantains —with double-fried, coin sliced plantains, this pre-dinner snack or quick side dish adds a satisfying texture to each Havana Nights themed dinner plate.

1905 Salad — with fresh iceberg lettuce, baked ham, Romano cheese, olives, and an umami punch from Worcestershire sauce, this hearty salad works as an entrée or as a side in any Cuban-inspired menu.


Key Lime Pie — with a light, fluffy feel, and a zesty lime flavor, a store-bought or homemade key lime pie is the perfect dessert to finish off your Havana Nights themed menu. 


Old Cuban Cocktail — with smooth, aged rum, tangy lime, and refreshing mint, this cocktail can be made in batches and served from pitchers, or made individually at your home bar — either way, it makes every toast extra delicious.

3 Tips for Preparing Your Havana Nights Themed Menu

The menu is an important party element that can either work as the main source of inspiration for a theme or be designed to match afterward. As you plan for your Havana Nights theme menu, consider some of our best tips:

#1: Make sure to include a balance of bold, subtle, sweet, savory, and spicy flavors throughout your Havana Nights themed menu so that each dish stands out while complementing the others.

#2: Create your meal prep timeline so you aren't rushing to finish the recipes as guests arrive. See if anything can be pre-chopped or made beforehand so the final assembly is a breeze.

#3: If pulling off your menu the day of doesn't sound feasible, consider hiring a local caterer for your event. This way, you can enjoy your party hands-free.

Step 3: Choose a Serving Style

If you want to embrace the cultural aspects of serving a Havana Nights themed party menu, consider choosing a family-style serving method. Place all your dishes in the center of the table and encourage your guests to pass each one around and serve themselves. If you have a larger-than-life centerpiece taking up most of your table, consider serving tableside as we did. 

If you have the room for a secondary table or serving space, buffet style works well for a Havana Nights theme party. Set up your menu in order from starters to desserts, and invite your guests to file through in a line to serve themselves. This method allows them to control how much of each dish they take before sitting down to dig in. 

Step 4: Make a Havana Nights Party Mood Board

To fulfill your dream vision for your Havana Nights theme, we recommend creating a mood board. Every visual detail, from your color palette to creative décor items, can be compiled into one place to reference as you select dinnerware and serveware and put together your table setting.  


Or just use our Havana Nights Theme Mood Board. In it, you can find our vibrant color palette, lush floral patterns, rustic textures, tropical fruits, and even a fake bird or two. Having all your inspirations in one place will help you bring your curated Havana Nights themed party to life.

What Kind of Colors Should Be Used for the Havana Nights Theme?

When it comes to Miami and Cuban themes, bold and bright colors are best. The cities are alive with vibrant pinks, oranges, greens, and more—and your Havana Nights themed table setting and home décor should reflect that. We used a mixture of:

  • Persimmon
  • Hot pink
  • Brass
  • Green
  • Black
  • White

Step 5: Create the Ambience

When hosting a themed gathering, curating a specific ambiance for your party is a must. For a Havana Nights theme, this starts with the tunes. Consider playing traditional Cuban music in the background to set the mood. Dine while listening to instrumentals and finish the night with a dance party in the kitchen trying your hips at the samba.

Lighting can also be the difference between drab and beautiful at a Havana Nights party. Arrange ambient lighting with candles on the table to create the perfect atmosphere to facilitate conversation, good eats, and laughter. In this case, the more the merrier — light candles everywhere, from your centerpiece and serving spaces to outdoor tiki torches. 

Finally, don't forget about greenery and décor. Think of summer near the hot Miami beaches and add things like palm fronds in vases, potted elephant ears, and hibiscus flowers or orchid floral arrangements for themed flora. To really lean into the Havana Nights theme, nestle different native tropical fruits within your greenery, such as guava, papaya, watermelons, or bananas. 

Step 6: Choose Table Linens

Start by finding a punchy patterned tablecloth to add a festive look to your tablescape. The tablecloth is the first layer; it's important to find one that includes a few of your color palette hues to tie your place settings together. We love the fabulous designs from Pomegranate Linen for a vibrant Havana Nights themed party.

Once your tablecloth is set, it's time to select your other table linen essentials. If you're serving drinks before the main meal, make sure to offer a colorful stack of palm frond cocktail napkins by the bar. At each place setting, add a coordinating cloth napkin, such as the Color Block Olive Napkins, to connect the chosen color scheme. 

Step 7: Set the Table

If you dress the table to the nines with bold patterns and exotic colors, we recommend using more subdued, toned-down collections when choosing serveware and dinnerware. Something simple and classic, such as our Signature White Collection, or rustic and wooden, like our Fundamentals, would work well. We desired a visual pop of depth, so we opted for pieces from our black and white scalloped Crew Collection

If using our suggested menu, recommend keeping the amount of dinnerware to a minimum to avoid any unnecessary crowding. Every place setting should have a black and white dinner plate and a matching salad plate. Complete the look with stylish flatware {we love Sabre's tortoise flatware for an earthy, natural pattern}, and voila!

Follow the funky and eclectic Havana Nights theme by choosing unique glassware for each plate setting. Find water goblets, wine glasses, and cocktail glassware with exotic colors to lean into a maximalist, colorful look, or stick to crystal-clear pieces designed with interesting shapes. We love using the colorful glassware from Estelle and the gorgeous silhouettes from NUDE glassware in our curated gatherings. 

Why We Used The Crew Collection

With plenty of dinnerware designs to choose from, we had many options for setting the table. But after playing around with different combinations, we realized that the bold black-and-white design of the Crew Collection acts as the perfect neutral backdrop for the extravagant colors found in the Havana Nights themed tablescape. This collection has designs for everything, from large scalloped edge platters for serving to black arabesque mugs for enjoying a strong cup of Cuban coffee. 

Colorful, tasty, and oh-so-inspired, a Havana Nights themed party is endless fun for all. The next time you have a birthday celebration or feel the urge to create an unforgettable summer soiree, consider using our step-by-step guide to host your own. 

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