Host a Winning Kentucky Derby Party

April 17, 2019

You may not be able to make it to Churchill Downs for the most exciting two minutes in sports, but you can still celebrate the Kentucky Derby at home with all the same pomp and spirit. So invite friends and family to don their Derby best, mix up some Mint Juleps and enjoy this tradition with high style.

Source: Kentucky Derby

Set the Mood: The Kentucky Derby is one of the most quintessentially Southern events of the year, characterized by a distinctly charming air. Set the tone from the beginning with a good, old-fashioned invitation. Drop an elegant card in the mail or choose a cheerily designed e-card.

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Don Your Derby Best: It wouldn’t be Derby Day without wonderfully ostentatious hats and Sunday-Best style. Set a dress code for the event and make sure your guests know the do’s and don’ts of proper racetrack dress. Pastels and light, breathable fabrics are a must. Whimsical touches, gingham, and seersucker are highly encouraged.

Source: Kentucky Derby

Decorate in Southern Style: The height of Derby Day chic is a garden party. Whether you gather on the veranda, patio, or in your living room, flowers are the perfect way to achieve the proper atmosphere. Traditional roses are the perfect nod to the winner’s circle wreath, but any seasonal flower—especially hydrangeas and magnolias—will do the trick. Enhance the mood with pastel linens, paper lanterns, and wicker furniture.

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Master the Menu: No party would be complete without refreshments. The perfect Derby Day menu includes elegant takes on Southern favorites like pimento cheese finger sandwiches or fried chicken and biscuit sliders.  If dessert is on the menu, pecan pies or peach cobbler are classic favorites. And the final touch is, of course, the Mint Julep:

Source: EpicuriousEnjoy this classic recipe courtesy of Epicurious:

Ingredients: (makes 1 drink)

  • 1 scant ounce minted simple syrup
  • 2 cups crushed ice
  • 2 ounces bourbon (such as Woodford Reserve)
  • Fresh mint sprig, for garnish


Preparation: To highball glass or silver Julep cup, add minted simple syrup, then 1 cup crushed ice, bourbon, and splash of water. Add enough of remaining ice to almost fill glass. Stir well and garnish with mint sprig.

With these tips, you'll be inspired to host the most sophisticated Kentucky Derby party your friends and family have ever seen. For more inspiration, visit us in The Studio where we can help you design a home perfect for this and any occasion. 

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