Happy Oaks Day!
The Kentucky Derby is upon us and I can’t wait to celebrate again this year with all our friends! Last year we hosted a party in honor of the Atlanta Steeplechase, and this year, we are prepping for the two most exciting minutes in sports history with a lot of bourbon, pimento cheese, and Callie’s biscuits!
How to Host a Kentucky Derby Party at Home
- Send out invitations. You can use an online service, or customize these beautiful invitations from Etsy.
- Request your guest dress the part! The Kentucky Derby has a reputation of large hats, ladies in elaborate day dresses and men wearing Seersucker suits. Need more inspiration for how to dress for the derby? Check out my posts here, here and here. This dress and this jumpsuit are great options!
- Gather your supplies. The Derby is an all day event, you are going to need items for breakfast, mint juleps, Bloody Mary’s, mimosas, lunch, finger foods and etc. Check out this post for more ideas on what to feed your guests!
- Decorate. Use a cupcake stand to stack ham biscuits which we picked up from Callie’s HLB. If you have an equestrian in the family, ask to borrow some of their decor or source some at local thrift stores and online, this horse statue and silver trophy are perfect additions to your decor. Boxwood wreaths and topiaries are always a fun touch of greenery to have since it’s very equestrian-esque. You can always make your own horse related decorations by spray painting some small plastic horse figurines with gold paint.
- Prepare the bar. Any derby goer knows you’re going to need a well-stocked bar for the event. Make sure you are prepared with a bunch of different glasses for your drinks, plates for finger foods, and fun straws and drink skewers for pickled veggies to go in Bloody Mary’s.
- Check your cable stations for the race. Some stations only show the big race, while others will play all the races throughout the day with news anchor commentary. While the latter is preferred (that way you can have a good idea who to bet on during the big race) as long as you have the race to play then your guests will be happy!
- Have games to play. Inbetween the downtime of the big races, you’ll want to have some lawn games ready for your guests such as horseshoes, lawn jenga and cornhole. Create simple two dollar bets (for the smaller races) and then a larger bet for the big race at home. You can see ideas on how to bet at home here.
- Don’t forget a takeaway gift! Every party-goer knows that the day is made that much more special with a little grab bag of a gift. You could send guests off with some artisan horse shaped chocolates, little bottles of bourbon or authentic Kentucky Derby Glasses!
- Have a rain plan. No one hopes for it, but sometimes the weather can be a little disagreeable which forces us to be cooped up inside. Be sure that there is plenty of space for you and your guests, and prepare games for inside that can be played with limited room!
Shop Decor for your Derby party
My favorite things about the Kentucky Derby is that the food is traditionally Southern and the Bourbon flows all day long. Not to mention that my favorite things to pick up are all of the adorable preppy and bright paper goods. Luckily I have Swoozies right next door so I was able to get striped plates, punchy napkins, brightly colored food skewers and paint dipped cutlery for my last minute needs!
Be sure to check this post on how to make the perfect mint julep!