No matter where you live, the Kentucky Derby is such a fun excuse to celebrate! From chic Southern garden parties to wild and crazy “Infield” inspired get-togethers, the Derby also happens to be one of the most versatile themes around. I’ve gathered up a few of my favorite creative ideas for bringing the Derby home in style, from food and drinks to fashion and decor. I hope you’re able to utilize some of these at your own celebrations! And away we go…
1. Golden Horses & Jockeys via HWTM
In my opinion, one of the easiest ways to class up a party is to add some gold! When you’re hunting for accents and decor for your Derby party, don’t be discouraged by the original colors of things — they can so easily be transformed with a can of spray paint.
2. Southern Belle Wine Glasses via HWTM
In our most recent DIY Derby party, we created these adorable felt hat wine glass accents to serve up our 14 Hands wine in style, and they’re a lot easier to make than you might think!
First, cut a circle of felt that’s about the same size as the diameter of the glass base, plus a strip of felt about 1/2 an inch wide and 8.5 inches. Cut a slit from one side of the felt circle to the middle. Fold the felt circle in half and make a small half-circle cut from the middle of the fold to create a small hole in the middle of the circle, which is where the stem of the wine glass will “fit”. Cover the top of the wine glass base with the felt circle and secure it in place with glue dots. Now you have your “hat base”.
Next, wrap the 8.5” felt strip on top of the circle and around the bottom of the glass stem to form the “top of the hat”, then secure with another glue dot or hot glue. Now you have your hat form. You can decorate the mini hats with feathers, felt flowers, etc. We also added a small strip of ribbon in the middle to ours, which makes them look sen more like the real thing. Cheers!
3. Paper Rose Wreath via I’m a Yarner
I have used this tutorial so many times, especially for Derby parties! It takes a few minutes to make each flower, so making dozens won’t take too long. You can make a wreath as shown, or use them to decorate the table (like in a centerpiece),
4. Ribbon Name Card via Style Me Pretty
I love the idea of using trophy ribbons as name cards or even food labels. You can coordinate to match your party’s colors and if you don’t feel like hand-writing each name, you can print them out and cut to size beforehand!
5. Mint Julep Cupcakes via HWTM
Mint Juleps are a ‘must serve’ at any Kentucky Derby party, but instead of just offering your guest a drink, sweeten things up a bit with these tasty cupcakes! Garnish with fresh mint and shortened straws.
6. Bourbon Peach Bow-Tie Pie Pops via HWTM
Not only are these the cutest things ever, but they’re super delicious (kind of like a homemade Pop Tart, but better)! You don’t have to include the Bourbon, and these can be modified with any kind of filling, but we love the Southern style flavors as a nod to Kentucky.
7. Fried Chicken Biscuit Sliders via Garden & Gun
For a fresh – and super tasty – twist on the popular country ham biscuits that often appear at Derby soirées, try serving up Fried Chicken Biscuit Sliders instead. YUM!
8. His & Her Style via Garden & Gun
Since hats & style are such a pivotal part of the Derby, it wouldn’t feel right without including some ideas! Preppy is key to classic Derby style, and the hat doesn’t have to be everything, especially if you’re not actually going to the live event. Clean lines and bright colors will also do the trick every time!
Contributing Editor, Jennifer Sbranti is a graphic designer and founder of Hostess with the Mostess®. HWTM brings stylish entertaining ideas to light through an inspirational “how-to” website, creative online community, and popular daily blog. Sbranti’s ideas have been featured in media outlets such as The Today Show, People, InStyle Weddings, Pregnancy, and Everyday with Rachael Ray. Sbranti resides in San Diego with her husband (& HWTM co-founder) Sonny Sbranti and their two young daughters, Macy & Rylie.