Host a Kentucky Derby Party


One of my favorite parties to throw every year is a Kentucky Derby party. My husband started throwing them back when we first started dating (he’s from the South) and quickly I took over as the party coordinator. Now we host a festive event every year (look at this fun one!), and each year I try to top the last. So… here is glimpse of what I have in store for this year’s Derby Day. A decadent display on our patio dining table, filled to the brim with desserts, decorations, and drinks! If you are looking to throw a Kentucky Derby Party I wanted to share my top 10 tips for hosting… here they are!

#1 Place Your Bets

Print out Betting cards for guests to fill out while waiting for the races as a fun pre-race activity! I found these (an instant download) on Etsy for only $4.00 and printed two to a page on card stock. I recommend buying mini trophies for the winners!

#2 Serve with Silver

Here’s a chance to whip out those silver platters that were passed on to you from grandma! I used a mix of tiered cake servers to antique silver trays to create my display! Mix your older pieces with newer ones, like the classic mint julep glasses.

# 3 Customize your Sips

I found this amazing shop on Etsy that will print custom straws, so for my Derby party I printed a mix of “Kentucky Derby”, “cheers”, and “Fashionable Hostess” but equally as fun would be to create a party hashtag and have that printed! I then used my straws for decorating all over the party, not just for drinking!

#4 Create Mint Julep Arrangements

Mint Julep glasses are for more than just drinks! Decorate your party with Mint Julep cups as your vases. Fill with tight arrangements of red or white roses – just like they do at the Derby!

#5 Have Spare Hats and Fascinators

I think the most fun Derby parties are the ones where you encourage guests to dress up… seersucker, plaids, oversized hats, the works. But I always like to have a few spare props around in case someone didn’t have time to prep! (Hey, it also makes for better pictures!). My Fascinator is from this Etsy shop.

#6 Serve “Specialty” Derby Wine and Champagne

Sip like you are attending the Derby with 14 Hands Wine, which is the preferred sponsor of the Kentucky Derby. And with the horse labels, the bottles work as added decor to your party!

#7 Serve Sweet Tea

I know we are all very focused on the spirits but sweet tea is a Southern staple and a great addition to your feast. I served mine in a beautiful antique pitcher!

#8 Go overboard on Elegant Treats

If it looks fancy, than it looks Derby worthy. From specialty tarts to macarons, a display of elegant treats will make for an instagram worthy station at your party (and be pretty delicious to dig in to after a few cocktails!).

#9 Use linens

Elevate your party decor with linen cocktail napkins over paper! If you look closely, I even placed little linen doilies under each of my desserts, giving the display a very elegant and regal feel!

#10 Horse anything!!

Whether it’s paper cut-outs, small horse figurines from your kid’s toy box, or a horse shoe from your childhood, display it around the party for added decor. I of course went over the top and had this STUNNING balloon garland made from Miami Balloon Garland company PJB Creations and had her hang horses and horse shoes all over… I have to say, I am obsessed!

And we are off to the races! Shop my finds and more below!

Shop Kentucky Derby:

Photography by Yesi of Simply Lively

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