The Kentucky Derby has never been a casual affair. You and your guests deserve a taste of Southern decadence, and there are several ways to recreate it. Whether you’re spending your Derby Day at a local park or in your own home, we have some tips on how to host the perfect Kentucky Derby Party.
1. Double Your Invitations as Prediction Cards
A paper invitation is only appropriate for a refined event like the Kentucky Derby. Why not utilize your invitations as your guests’ prediction cards? Encourage party goers to bring along their invitations to create a more authentic atmosphere.
2. Set a Dress Code
As a rule, hats are mandatory at Derby Day celebrations. The more extravagant, the better. But for a truly authentic experience, encourage your guests to dress to the nines from head to toe. Everyone loves an occasion to dress up, and this is no exception.
3. Get Your Drinks Ready
The mint julep is the traditional drink of the day, but you should offer an entire array of refreshment options. 14 Hands is a fun wine to feature due to its equestrian theme, and champagne is also a must. Keep the glassware formal, even for non-alcoholic options. Some of your guests may just want to enjoy a soda, but they’ll still want to feel sophisticated with a crystal champagne flute in hand.
4. Plan a Proper Party Menu
The food is just as important as the drinks. Southern staples are an obvious option, but you can serve anything you like, as long as it’s served on the appropriate dishware. Make sure to include a couple Derby Day basics, your guests will be more than satisfied. It’s sure to be a warm day, so even if you’re holding your party outside, be sure to keep the proper items refrigerated.
5. Decorate Appropriately
The springtime surroundings will help set the scene for you, but you’re welcome to add your own personal finesse to the affair. Decorative ribbons are a nice touch, as are roses. You can even make your own rose wreath and gift it to the guest who accurately predicts the race’s winner.
6. Plan Some Guest Activities
Your party will most likely start a couple hours before the main event, so have some games available to keep everyone occupied and excited. If the weather allows, set up a game of horseshoes or cornhole. A photo booth complete with props is also a fun touch and will create unique pictures that guests can share on social media.