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How to Throw a Kentucky Derby Party to Remember

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If you can’t be at Churchill Downs this year to celebrate the Run for the Roses, throwing a Kentucky Derby party might be the next best thing. You might even have more fun than you would at the races, as long as you’re an epic party planner.

If you’re short on Kentucky Derby party ideas, we can help. Here’s everything you need to host a fun and memorable Kentucky Derby-themed party that your friends will love.

Send Out Kentucky Derby Party Invitations

As much as it’s convenient to invite your friends to the party via text, we suggest you send out physical invitations. Opening an envelope with a themed invitation is more fun and sets the tone for an elegant occasion.

You can find various party invitations designed for Derby Day online, and you can customize the design any way you want.

Apart from the date, time, and venue information, make sure you specify the dress code so that all your guests know how to dress the part. Not everyone knows what to wear to a Kentucky Derby party, so you can also provide some outfit ideas.

Decorate the Venue

If you’re going to have a Kentucky Derby-themed party, you should decorate the venue accordingly. Whether you host the party indoors or in your backyard, take the time to add a touch of flair to create a celebratory atmosphere.

Since roses are the Kentucky Derby’s official flowers, fill some wicker baskets with roses and place a rose centerpiece on the table.

Horseshoe coasters and stirrup napkin rings would also be perfect additions for setting the tone.

If you’re going to host your party outside, you might want to make a plan for moving it indoors in case it rains. The beginning of May usually comes with nice weather, but you never know.

Prepare Some Classic Southern Dishes

You can’t throw a Derby Day party without serving proper Kentucky Derby party food. Your menu should match the theme, which means preparing some classic Southern dishes that they serve at Churchill Downs.

To hit the jackpot with your Kentucky Derby party food, make any (or all) of the following:

●Chicken kabob with mint pistachio pesto

●Bacon bourbon caramel popcorn

●Smoked turkey and brie sandwiches

●Bourbon sea salt and chocolate caramel tarts

●Kentucky Hot Browns

●Benedictine spread

●Pimento cheese dip

●Cucumber canapés

●Derby Day bourbon brownies

These delectable foods will delight your guests and make them feel as if they were at the races, enjoying the festivities before the most exciting two minutes in sports.

Serve Delicious Kentucky Derby Cocktails

Your Kentucky Derby party can’t go without some delicious cocktails to wet your whistle. While you could serve wine, beer, or anything else that you and your friends like, ditch all the cocktails that don’t match the Derby Day theme.

If you’re familiar with Kentucky Derby traditions, you certainly know that the official drink of the famous horse race is Mint Julep.

Apart from this classic bourbon cocktail, you can make:

●Brown Derby

●The Steeplechase

●Pink Lily

●Kentucky Mule

●Kentucky Gambler Punch

●Woodford Spire

●Southern Sweet Tea Jam

Find the recipes online and get all the ingredients days in advance so that you can have enough time to plan your party outfit.

Make sure you serve Mint Juleps in silver or pewter cups, as is the tradition at the races.

What to Wear to a Kentucky Derby Party

No Kentucky Derby party is complete without the proper attire. While you may find it more comfortable to stick to casual clothes, the celebration calls for glamor.

When looking for the perfect outfit, do it as if you were going to Churchill Downs and not having a home party. Make sure that everyone dresses for the occasion to create the right atmosphere and add a flair to the event.

Men should wear formal suits or pants with a suit jacket and a button-down shirt. Classic ties or bow ties are cool accessories to include, as well as fedoras or bowler hats to top off their outfit.

When it comes to women, it’s all about being extravagant yet classy and sophisticated. It’s about being glamorous and going all out. Spring or cocktail dresses in vibrant colors, or loose fancy suits, coupled with stylish high heels and fashionable accessories, are the way to go.

The essential accessories for a Kentucky Derby party are hats. Hats for the races are statement pieces that should express your personality and perfectly top off your outfit.

Even if you host your party indoors, have all the ladies follow the dress code and break out their favorite Kentucky Derby hats.

Best Hats for Kentucky Derby Themed Parties

Some of the most popular Kentucky Derby hats are wide-brimmed headpieces and fascinators. They can be real head-turners that can turn your Kentucky Derby party into a day to remember.

There’s a wealth of options to choose from, depending on your personal style. You can go for a classic straw hat with a delicate bow, a wide-brimmed topper with elegant feathers, a headband embellished with pearls, a subtle fedora in a bold color, or a show-stopping fascinator worthy of royals.

There’s no shortage of choices when it comes to Kentucky Derby hats. To help you pick your favorite that will suit your style ideally, we’ve rounded up some of the best hats for Kentucky Derby-themed parties.

Carrie by The Niche Collection

This wide-brimmed black-and-natural hat is ideal for independent women who want to show off their feminine side. The white crown topped with a large white rose goes perfectly with the black window sinamay. The pink trim is a niche touch that makes the sinamay pop.

Brimingham Hat by Snoxell & Gwyther

This tan-and-ivory headpiece is a classic that will never go out of style. It’s ideal for women who want to look elegant and have a timeless style without making a bold fashion statement. Anyone can easily pair this hat with a black, navy or ivory dress. This hat is also available in Ivory and Champagne and an Orange and Hot Pink color combination

Lia Kentucky Derby Hat by Vixen Millinery

This one is for all the ladies who exude elegance and want to show off their gentler side. The pink sinamay with a silk flower and feathers make this side-brimmed hat one of the most sophisticated pieces that every woman should have in her wardrobe. Someone can easily pair this with a white or ivory dress (which they probably already have

Sydney Downbrim Hat by Ivory and Navy

This dramatic fascinator hat is a head-turner that will make all the other hats at your Kentucky Derby party fade into oblivion. It’s a unique fascinator that embodies style and independence and can make you look spectacular. Anyone can easily pair this hat with a bright pink, green or navy blue dress.

Christiane by Vixen Millinery

If you’re looking to make a bold fashion statement, this stunning black-and-white fascinator hat is yet another excellent choice. The feather spray on top of the round sinamay base can perfectly complement any outfit and make you look utterly sophisticated.

Toni Fascinator Hat by Vixen Millinery

This pink and aqua fascinator is a unique color combination exclusively for Gold Coast Couture’s customers. Stand out amongst the crowd with this hat’s feature of a beautiful pink bow.

Kiki by Nigel Rayment

This blush-pink fascinator is an absolute stunner. It’s both delicate and quirky, thanks to the unique feather spray and its attractive faux-pearl embellishment. It’s quite womanly and is sure to turn all eyes on you at the party.

Erin by The Niche Collection

If you need a hat to go ideally with your colorful dress, you can’t go wrong with this white sinamay hat. But no matter what outfit you pair it with, you will look gorgeous. The fascinator is classic and timeless, but the white rose on top makes it a bit more fun and chic.

Now that you know how to throw an epic Kentucky Derby party and dress to impress, start making your plans and remind your guests to save the date. Be sure to browse the rest of our Kentucky Derby hat collection to find a fitting headpiece and celebrate Derby Day in style.