It's Derby Time! Ideas & Inspiration for Throwing an Epic Kentucky Derby Party

It's Derby Time! Ideas & Inspiration for Throwing an Epic Kentucky Derby Party

Carrie McBride
Apr 27, 2015

The annual Kentucky Derby horse race is one of the most festive sporting events of the year and an ideal event to plan a party around: the hats, the roses, the horses and the bourbon! We've put together resources on decor, drinks, food and more to help you pull off an epic Derby party:

(Image credit: Style Me Pretty)

Gussy it Up with these Party Decor Ideas:

Get Your Derby Fashion On:

Encourage guests to get into the spirit of the Derby with their fashion choices. Traditionally, women wear hats (considered a must and believed to be good luck) and, usually, dresses. If you have some, consider having a few extra hats on hand in case someone shows up without one or setting out some materials to make your own. Derby hats are often grandiose and whimsical so anything goes! (above: a how-to for making a Derby hat from an inexpensive beach hat at DIY network)

Men often wear seersucker suits or colorful pants and dress shirts with many men taking a cue from 1920's style and donning bow ties and suspenders. Straw hats and bowlers are also popular for men.

(Image credit: Brooklyn Derby)

To Julep or Not To Julep?

(Image credit: The Kitchen Prep)

Derby Nosh

(Image credit: PopSugar)

Derby Desserts

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Derby Extracurriculars

  • Watch the race, natch!
  • Bet on the race! For money or just for fun. You can go online to bet officially or try it yourself at home (here's some guidance and, of course, "there's an app for that" (a few actually: Derby Jackpot, Twinspires, TVG & Xpressbet).
  • Have a yard? How about a game of horseshoes? Here's how to play if you've forgotten.
  • Award a prize for best hat or best dressed.
(Image credit: M Shanghai String Band)

It's Not a Party Without Tunes

  • Bluegrass (M Shanghai pictured above)
  • Jazz
  • Blues

Have you thrown or attended a great Derby party and have ideas to share? Please leave them in the comments!

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