Celebrate Derby Day in Style
Plan a classy equestrian-style party with mint juleps, mouthwatering food and fancy hats.
Planning a derby day celebration this May?
We'll help you host an unforgettable private affair this spring centered on horses, gorgeous hats and, of course, Southern food and bourbon. Following are some of our favorite party ideas to celebrate the thrill of gorgeous spring weather, equestrian competition and the perfect excuse to put on your fanciest duds.
Set the table with your best dishes, medallion ribbons and boots filled with red roses to commemorate the traditional garland of roses.
A color scheme of black, brown and hunter green set against classic equestrian elements helped us create a unisex baby shower packed with elegance. When decorating in the equestrian style, it's best to use the sport of horse racing as inspiration. From the tailored, athletic look of equestrian fashion to the handsome coats of thoroughbreds, there are plenty of ways to incorporate elements of horse racing into your own soiree.
Centerpieces offer endless opportunities to experiment with equestrian style. Here, a mismatched grouping of horse accessories was used to create a collected tablescape consisting of leather horse figures, brass horse head bookends, vintage leather bound books and horse racing post cards. Since most party supply stores carry disposable decor that will not fit the timeless, tailored equestrian look, it's smart to search vintage stores, flea markets and auction sites to find affordable accents that look a bit more high-end.
Cloches are must-haves for stylists and visual merchandisers; they're an excellent way to prominently display single objects. To help the brass horse heads stand out as features, each was isolated into its own glass cloche and then accented with decorative moss. The best places to look for cloches are antique stores or showrooms specializing in commercial display systems. See how to make a cloche centerpiece.
Horse and Pony Figures
For a sophisticated and playful touch, consider using a mix of horse and pony figures as part of your tablescape. Here, a variety of vintage figures made of cast resin, plastic and bound leather help bring the equine motif front and center. The key to grouping mismatched figures together correctly is to ensure a range of widths and heights united with similar colors.
Leather Book Risers
A range of heights plays a large part in the successful design of a tablescape. Rather than using basic acrylic or glass risers, consider using leather-bound and/or equestrian-related hardback books. This allows an opportunity to play up the shower's color scheme while also helping differentiate heights.
Medallion Ribbon Swags
Make your seating award worthy with medallion ribbon chair swags. These can be found online, and to outfit them as swags, simply add a single safety pin along the back of each ribbon. Then attach it to a slipcover. If the existing chairs aren't fit for slipcovers, the medallion ribbons can also be attached with double-sided tape and/or nylon rope wrapped around the chair backs.
Polished brass is commonly found in horse racing in the form of metal cup trophies. Incorporate elements of brass in a new fashion with a mismatched grouping of candlestick holders. This offers another opportunity to enhance the palette by choosing candlesticks in coordinating colors.
Stitched Plaid Napkins
Both Hamptons style and the work of Ralph Lauren are indicative of equestrian and country club aesthetics. Bring that tailored, fashion-inspired touch to your shower with stitched plaid fabric napkins. Pick fabric up by the yard from a local fabric store. Then drop it off with a local drycleaner, and ask for a quote to have their in-house sewing professional cut and stitch the fabric into 10"x10" square napkins with a contrasting thread.
To bring equestrian style to a gift table, consider grouping brass cup trophies along a pedestal table, paired with leather accents and a grouping of horse figures. As far as floral options go, keep in mind that red roses are a classic choice often bestowed to the winners at horse racing events. And since red and green are complementary colors, the roses are likely to pop more against a green backdrop.
Leather Riding Boot Floral Vessels
Put old leather riding boots to work as floral vessels by reinforcing their interiors with flexible vinyl placemats formed into conical shapes. Then place long cylindrical vases inside of each boot. Get the rest of the step-by-step instructions.
Pin the Jockey on the Thoroughbred
Bring a fresh twist to the classic game of pin the tail on the donkey with pin the jockey on the thoroughbred. To make this project, pick up 3/4" inch wooden dowels and coordinating finials and two yards of colored felt for a backdrop. Next, grab several sheets of felt in fun accent colors, glue sticks and a hot glue gun to create the jockeys and the thoroughbred. Cut the backdrop felt to the intended size for your baby shower, and then secure the fabric to the wooden dowels with hot glue sticks. Next, add finials to the ends of the top and bottom dowels, and attach sisal twine along the top dowel for easy hanging. Trace silhouettes of jockeys, one thoroughbred and horse racing accessories to the sheets of felt. Then assemble them with hot glue. And for a final equestrian touch, forego bandanas altogether, and instead, add black felt inside of jockey goggles. Hold it in place with black electrical tape. Hang your creation, and let the games begin! Download the rest of the instructions.
Create your own floral arrangement to center the table using red roses, mint, greenery and a horse figurine.
DIY Derby Hat
You don't need to spend a fortune on a big hat for the occasion. Transform an inexpensive beach hat in three easy steps.
Make it: Derby Day Hat
Classic Mint Julep
Mix up a batch of the legendary cocktail to serve guests in a silver-plated cup. Garnish with a sprig of mint.
Make it: Mint Julep Recipe
This tasty appetizer that meshes deviled eggs with potato skins is the perfect complement to your Southern affair.
Make it: Deviled Potatoes Recipe
Bourbon is not just for your cocktails. Whip up this bourbon bacon ranch dressing to top a salad or dip veggies.
Make it: Bourbon Bacon Ranch Dressing
Shrimp and Grits
For the main course, offer a Southern classic — a plate of shrimp and grits.
Make it: Shrimp and Grits Recipe
And for dessert, present this heavenly bourbon pecan pie that's sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
Make it: Bourbon Pecan Pie
Welcome spring with these charming, chocolatey treats presented in terra-cotta flower pots.
This gorgeous dessert is Valentine's Day perfection.
Take a hands-off approach to barbecue chicken with this easy and delicious slow cooker recipe.