It has always been my bucket list to host (or even attend!) a fabulous Kentucky Derby party. Big hats, fun dresses, yummy southern food, and, of course, a refreshing mint julep! What’s not to love about that? With the race just a few weeks away, we’re excited to share our inspiration for throwing the perfect soirée. From what to wear, what to drink, and how to put together a flawless table scape we hope this post helps inspire your own Derby party endeavors. Who says you have to make your way to Churchill Downs to enjoy all the fun?
First, and most importantly, the outfit. When it comes to a Derby party, people tend to go all out. Women in pretty dresses and extravagant hats, men in patterned suits and festive bowties. While it’s unbelievably fun to get all dressed up, it can quickly become expensive as well. For me, I wanted to avoid the idea of buying a dress or hat I’d only wear once so I found a few ways to work around that!
Instead of buying, I decided to rent my dress from Rent the Runway. This past year, I bought a subscription to RTR and it has been a complete game changer. For those special events, speaking engagements, or meetings I have that I need something unique for, I can easily head to RTR and find exactly what I need. I love this bright, yellow, lace dress and found it absolutely perfect for a Derby party! My hat was actually a large, straw hat I already owned and I just wrapped a crown of flowers around it to create some whimsy and drama. It actually was WAY easier to do than I expected it to be, and, I can simply take it off after the party is over and have my normal straw hat back to use all summer long.
Shop My Outfit
Next up, the table scape. This setting was especially fun for us to put together. Fresh flowers, bright patterns, and a little preppy, equestrian flair made this table come to life and we couldn’t love it more! We played with lots of layers (i.e. table runner, charger, napkin, dinner plate, and salad plate) and wanted to add in subtle nods to the Derby though the accessories (i.e. vintage ribbons, horseshoes, and mint julep cups).
Shop Our Table
Finally, the iconic mint julep. To be honest, I don’t think I would drink this any other time during the year but when the occasion calls for it, you gotta embrace it. To make your own official drink of the Kentucky Derby, use our recipe below!
Mint Julep Recipe
• 2 cups sugar
• 2 cups water
• Sprigs of fresh mint
• Crushed ice
• Old Forester Straight Bourbon Whisky
• Silver Julep Cups
Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of whisky. Stir quickly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
Are you hosting or heading to a Derby party this year? Let us know your plans in the comments below!
Photography by: Spacecrafting Photography