The “Race for the Roses” will be held this year on May 7, 2022 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. If you cannot be there in person, then what better reason to have your very own Derby party. There is so much history surrounding this annual event and how fun to partake in its revelry. When my sweet blogging friends came to visit earlier this month, we put together all the best tips to hosting your very own Kentucky Derby party.
A Little History
The Kentucky Derby takes place on the first Saturday in May every year, and typically draws a crowd of 155,000 people. It is the longest continually held sporting event in America, and it is one of the most prestigious horse races in the world. Often called “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports”, the Kentucky Derby receives this nickname from the approximate length of time it takes the winner to run from the starting gate to the finish line. The Kentucky Derby is the first race within the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, where it is followed by the Preakness Stakes race and the Belmont Stakes race.
Setting the Theme
Chloe, from Celebrate and Decorate was unable to come due to a family medical emergency. However, she did ship all the wonderful elements of a beautiful table beforehand. Using the black and white checks of a jockey’s attire, the harlequin table cloth is the perfect backdrop. Moss in a roll make a wonderful runner and adds the grassy feel of Churchill Downs.
The horse head centerpiece is a clever use of craft materials and you can see the entire DIY here. Finding the wooden horse head silhouette on Amazon, Chloe covers it in moss, adds roses for the mane and adds a harlequin ribbon for the bridle. This can be used as decoration for the front door (add a hook) or as the table’s centerpiece.
Beautiful silver mint julep cups are filled with fresh red roses that I order from The Bouqs. Waiting for a 20% off promotion, I purchase 6 dozen (4 dozen would have been plenty)gorgeous red roses. I place 10 roses in each mint julep cup (6 cups) and surround the horse head. If you are looking for mint julep cups, here is a resource.
The Place Setting
Since the Kentucky Derby is one of the most prestigious races, it’s time to pull out the silver and crystal. After experimenting with different chargers and dinner plates, we decide a simple white plate with a beaded silver charger with a white embroidered linen napkin is the most elegant.
If you don’t have real silver or silver-plate, there are many faux silver chargers available. You can see these more affordable options here. Having a basic white dinner plate allows you the opportunity to make your table casual or more formal. Here is a good option on white dinner plates.
Chloe makes these stunning red rose napkin rings and you can see her DIY here. Even though she wasn’t physically present, we all greatly appreciate her creative contributions to this gorgeous table.
Sparkling crystal glasses, silver candlesticks and silver wine/champagne buckets add more glamour to the table.
Andrea from Design Morsels finds these small horseshoes which we scatter around the centerpiece. Adding the white slipcovered dining chairs around the table, again makes this dining experience extra special.
The table is placed under the very old date palms trees on the south side of our historic property.
Even though mint juleps are the traditional cocktail for the Kentucky Derby, we dust off our best Waterford champagne flutes and serve a Thomson & Scott Noughty dealcoholized sparking rosé bubbly (first found this on Food 52).
A variety of cheeses, crackers, salami, olives, nuts and fruit make a colorful, yet tasty tray of nibbles.
Icy shrimp with cocktail sauce on a vintage Fenton Spanish Lace Silver Crest ruffle edge milk glass pedestal cake stand gives some height to a small table. This is one of my favorite cake stands and as I am writing this, there is one available on eBay here.
Fresh shrimp and a wonton hors d’oeuvre create different textures and flavors. An interesting mix for your guests.
For more food and decorating ideas, see my Derby Day Fun post from 2019 here.
And a Hat, of course!
Hats are a long standing tradition at the Kentucky Derby! And what is a Derby party without a lovely chapeau!
On the Kentucky Derby website, you can download the entire Kentucky Derby 2022 information guide, the list of horses and you can even place a bet on their website. They even have an online store for your to purchase party supplies.
Thanks to Chloe’s creativity and the capable hands of Andrea from Design Morsels and Chas from Chas’ Crazy Creations, we hope you will be inspired to host your own Kentucky Derby party! What fun to put it all together here at our home and share these moments with such great friends.
Some of the photos are taken by Emily Supiot from Cozy Clicks.