Kentucky Derby Party Ideas: Fun Derby-Style Entertaining Trends for Race Day! by Debi Lilly

5 years ago

Kentucky Derby Party Ideas: Fun Derby-Style Entertaining Trends for Race Day!

Hey hey hey, it’s almost Derby Day. We love Kentucky Derby everything. Especially the mint juleps. Time to start setting up that bourbon bar and dusting off your Derby hat with our fast and easy party tips and trends.

Derby Dress: Ask guests to play the part, and wear their Derby hats and bowties. As they say, getting dressed up is half the fun. On your invitation, at the bottom list Derby hats and bowties invited for a clear, simple dress code request.

Yes, fellas, you, too. Your hat, bowtie and a southern gentleman suit, please.

Jockey Silks Flags: Fill the party space with paper pennants inspired by race day jockey silks Derby flag decor. An easy DIY: Google the jockeys racing and print out or draw (or have kids draw) a pennant flag for each jockey/horse. Cut pennants into triangles, and double-side tape or glue stick to ribbon. Poof! You instantly add colorful decor to the party ceiling, walls, bars, buffets.

Cocktail Straws: Using the same pennants/silks designs, in a smaller scale, create straw pennants. Cut mini pennants into triangles and tape to colorful striped straws. Place into a glass on the bar, and drinks just look – and taste – better.

Next, you guessed it. Pop those straws into a perfectly styled mint julep cocktails. Here is my mint julep recipe!

Derby Props: Instagram party props are a great way to keep guests entertained, keep the party interactive and create fun photos and keepsakes. Think of some clever Kentucky Derby sayings and print or draw signs onto cardstock (heavier weight stands up nice and straight when held.) Tape them to a wooden skewer, place on a table for guests to grab and pose with and enjoy.

Best Dressed: Take Derby style and prop signs next level with a best-dressed contest. As host or hostess, you can award signs or have a contest with paper ballots for best dressed female, male, best hat, best bowtie, etc. Who will win best dressed? It's so exciting to watch and see.

Taste of Kentucky: Derby menus include all the local savory and sweet favorites, and a big old red rose cake is a nod to the blanket of red roses the winning horse wears post Derby. Cover the top of your favorite bakery cake with red roses, and add a ring around the base for a fast DIY Derby cake. 

Happy Racing, y'all!

Planning, styling, florals, stationery by A Perfect Event
Photos by 
Marcin Cymmer

For more inspiration, visit

Kentucky Cocktail Classics: How to Make a Refreshing Mint Julep!

Mint Julep Recipes: Try This Variation on a Mint Julep for Your Kentucky Derby Party

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Mike Prochaska
Love watching this event! Went onice it was so fun to people watch
Elisa Schmitz
I love watching the Derby, and it's even more fun when it's in a party setting. Thank you for the great ideas, Debi Lilly !

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