• Tuesday on Jasmine

KENTUCKY DERBY PARTY

Updated: Apr 6

With the Kentucky Derby coming up, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to buy ridiculously large hats and fascinators, wear fun fancy dresses and force our guys into some bowties and suspenders! They may have moaned and groaned but looking at the pictures, we would say they enjoyed themselves! Even the kiddos got in on the fancy action, and looked quite dapper themselves!


group of people dressed up for Kentucky Derby in hats, fascinators and dresses

Follow along with us below while we walk you through each piece of this bash: the Decor, Activities, Food and Drinks!


 

THE DECOR


While designing this particular party, we didn't want to go with "typical" derby decorations that you see on Pinterest and Instagram. We wanted to make sure to give it a twist of our own and went with navy and white striped satin tablecloths topped off with rustic accents, pops of color and touches of silver! Complete with a ton of items pulled from our houses, some rented Jack Whiskey barrels from local party rental company, Caroline's Rentals, we were absolutely THRILLED with how this all managed to come together!


Kentcuyk Derby Party setup with blue and white tables, a derby drink station, food table and a horse betting table

We don't tend to normally like to rent items for parties, as we are all about staying as budget friendly as possible, but since most of the items used for this party were compiled from all 5 of our houses, we decided to rent the Jack Whiskey barrels - it wouldn't be Derby without it, right?! For the weekend rental they were only $60, so we didn't think that was an awful price! And quite honestly, they added so much character to the setup that they were totally worth every penny!



One of our favorite parts of this party was the drink station we came up with! We used a raised garden bed that one of our husband's built us a couple years ago! We were too lazy to make a garden this year so we decided to repurpose it! We lined the entire bottom with a tarp and filled it with a ton of ice. We then stuck all the beverages in there and the drink station was born! It even already had the chicken wire, which was the perfect place for our DERBY sign! It worked so well there was still ice in it the next morning! Like we said before, we love to use items from around our houses to cut down on expenses! Don't be surprised if you see this make an appearance at another one of our gatherings, and if you live in our neighborhood and see us carrying this massive garden bed down the road - mind ya own 🤣 !


a drink station with the word DERBY across the back filled with ice, beer, vodka, seltzers and sparkling water

 

THE ACTIVITIES


We knew we had to incorporate some friendly competition into our day, and it wouldn't be the Derby without putting some money where your mouth is! We designed this fun betting table, complete with mason jars labeled with each horse's gate number that responded with each horse's information which was displayed behind the table, designed by one of our own.


Kentucky Derby horse betting table with horse options strung across the top

We charged $1 per bet and each bet required you to fill out your name and drop it into the horse's mason jar! The kids LOVED this, the adults LOVED this and we cannot recommend this enough! It is great to incorporate into other parties you are hosting that are centered around a competition of some sort !



Only one of us was lucky enough to win all the loot, but it made the race that much more exciting with everyone cheering on the horses they placed their bids on!


man in pink suit jacket and yellow bow tie holding golden trophy

We also had yard games for everyone to play - corn hole, rope toss and horseshoes (which one of our gents made the pits for us the morning of - they really are a part of the show behind the scenes!)



Of course we had to toss in a fun kids activity too, to ensure that they too had a fun afternoon, not just us! We decided to make them their own DIY fascinator/fedora station! All of the supplies for the DIY fascinator/fedora station came from the Dollar Tree - believe it or not! It is an incredibly affordable activity that you can customize to any party and the kids loved making them!


When we think of using this activity as a party activity, tea parties come to mind! The kids spent a good hour or so gluing and positioning everything just right! This also can double as a take home favor that they can use for dress up, crazy hat day in school, display in their room or save it for next years Derby! We certainly cant let the little gentlemen be left out so we made sure to purchase them their own black and white fedora's from Party City for $5!



We can't forget about the men! They really do put up with a TON of our antics and crazy ideas and support us 100% - building stuff last minute, making store runs, hanging the high stuff....we aren't saying they aren't party poopers sometimes HAHA, but they deserve their moment in the sunshine too so we opted to have a good old fashioned cigar bar for them to treat themselves for all the effort into getting snazzy and building some horseshoe pits that day.


 

THE FOOD


Instead of going for a sit down meal, we decided our menu would consist of typical "southern fare" items that we could pick on all evening!



The Party Menu:

  • Mini chicken and waffles *Note* these are super easy - they consist of mini toaster waffles, popcorn chicken pieces and are drizzled with maple syrup!

  • Watermelon topped with mint and feta drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette

  • Veggie tray

  • Charcuterie board

  • Gluten free bourbon BBQ meatballs (AMAZING!! click here for the recipe! We made it GF by using frozen GF meatballs)

  • Turkey and cheese horseshoe shaped sandwiches

  • Fruit salad with lime mint syrup

  • Deviled eggs

  • Sweet Tea

  • Homemade Strawberry Lemonade

  • We couldn't forget the traditional Derby Pie for dessert! If you have never had "Derby Pie" we highly recommend it! It is so sweet and delicious - goes great with a side of vanilla ice cream!



If you follow the Kentucky Derby, you will know that it is known for a particular beverage - The Mint Julep! They serve these at the Derby in very specific Julep cups and we knew we had to duplicate them! Instead of making a batch cocktail, we purchased these stainless steel julep cups and glued some ribbon to them for a pop of color! We filled each cup with airplane bottles of Woodford Reserve and added homemade mint simple syrup in reusable mini alcohol bottles. We topped the little Julep kit off with a straw for all of the adults!


group of people holding stainless steel cups filled with Mint Julep beverages

They were quite delightful - even for those of us who don't care for whiskey! The simple syrup really masks the alcohol flavor - you definitely need to give them a try at some point!


This party was SUCH a fun way to make a small moment memorable for everyone involved! Do you celebrate the Kentucky Derby? If not, you should try it sometime! It is such a fun day to get dressed up, wager some money without going broke and spend time with each other!


Happy Derby Day!

group of women wearing dresses and holding Kentucky derby hats in front of their faces

 







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