Let's get ready to rumble, y'all! It's time to saddle up and throw a fabulous Kentucky Derby party that would make even the most seasoned Southern belle or gentleman proud. The Kentucky Derby is a time-honored tradition that dates back to 1875 and is often referred to as "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports." But why limit the excitement to just two minutes when you can throw a party that lasts all day long? 

Did you know that the Kentucky Derby is also known as the "Run for the Roses?" This nickname comes from the garland of roses that is draped over the winning horse's neck. The tradition started in 1896 when Ben Brush won the Derby and his owner's wife gave roses to the ladies at a post-race party. The following year, the rose garland became an official tradition and has been a staple of the Derby ever since. 

Now, back to the party planning! With a little bit of creativity and some Southern hospitality, you can create a Derby party that your guests will be talking about for years to come. So grab your hats and mint juleps, and let's get started! 

Step 1: Send out Invitations

Start by sending out some fabulous invitations that capture the spirit of the Kentucky Derby. You can opt for classic, elegant invitations or go for something more playful and whimsical. Be sure to include all the important details, such as the date, time, location, dress code, and any special requests (e.g. BYOB, potluck dish, etc.). Encourage your guests to come dressed in their best Derby attire, complete with fancy hats and bow ties. 

Step 2: Decorate

Next, it's time to transform your space into a Kentucky Derby wonderland. Decorate with red roses (the official flower of the Kentucky Derby), horse figurines, jockey silks, and anything else that screams "Derby chic." Set up a bar area with plenty of mint julep fixings (more on that later) and decorate the tables with crisp linens, silverware, and stemware. Don't forget to have some betting slips and pencils handy so your guests can place their bets on their favorite horses. 

Step 3: Plan the Menu

Kentucky Derby Party (2).png

Photo by everinspireddesign

When it comes to food, you can go as fancy or as casual as you like. Classic Southern dishes like fried chicken, biscuits, and mac and cheese are always crowd-pleasers, or you can opt for more sophisticated fare like shrimp and grits or beef tenderloin. But whatever you do, be sure to serve plenty of mint juleps - the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. You can make them by muddling fresh mint leaves with simple syrup, adding bourbon, and serving over crushed ice in a silver cup. Cheers! 

Step 4: Entertainment

Kentucky Derby Party entertainment

Photo by jeanniew53

Of course, the main event of the Kentucky Derby party is the race itself. Be sure to have the TV tuned in to the race and encourage your guests to place their bets before the horses take off. If you want to up the ante, you can also set up a betting pool and offer a prize to the guest who correctly predicts the winner. And don't forget to have some fun games and activities on hand to keep the party going long after the race is over. You can set up a photo booth with Derby-themed props, have a best hat contest, or even hire a live band to keep the party going into the wee hours of the night. 

Step 5: Derby-Inspired Activities

Apart from the actual horse race, you can incorporate some Derby-inspired activities to keep your guests entertained throughout the party. One popular activity is to set up a horse race game where guests can roll a pair of dice to move their horse along a track, and the first one to the finish line wins a prize. You can also have a horse shoe toss game or a balloon darts game to add some more fun to the party. 

Step 6: Dress Code

Kentucky Derby Party dress code

Photo by cherie.behrens

A Kentucky Derby party is all about dressing up in your best outfit, complete with a fabulous hat or fascinator. Encourage your guests to dress to impress, with women wearing dresses, heels, and a fancy hat, and men wearing suits, ties, and bow ties. You can even have a best-dressed contest and award a prize to the guest with the most creative and stylish outfit. 

Step 7: Party Favors

To thank your guests for coming, give them a party favor that captures the spirit of the Kentucky Derby. You can give out mini bottles of bourbon or mint julep mix, horse-shaped cookies, or even a personalized horse racing betting slip as a keepsake.

Step 8: Safety First

Lastly, it's important to keep safety in mind when throwing a party. Make sure to have non-alcoholic drinks available for guests who are not drinking or have had too much to drink. And if anyone needs a ride home, have a designated driver or offer to call them a cab or ride-share service. 

Hosting a Kentucky Derby party is a fantastic way to celebrate the thrill of the race and the elegance of the South. By following these steps, you can create a fun and memorable experience for your guests. Remember to incorporate Derby-inspired activities, encourage a dress code, serve classic Southern cuisine, and make sure your guests have a safe ride home.

If you're looking for party supplies to help you throw the perfect Kentucky Derby party, consider checking out our Home & Hoopla online party shop, where we offer a wide range of party supplies and decorations. From elegant table settings to whimsical hats and accessories, we have everything you need to create a fabulous Kentucky Derby party that your guests will never forget.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Kentucky Derby party today and get ready for a day filled with excitement, glamour, and Southern hospitality. Now you'll have everything you need to make your party a huge success. Happy planning!