Talk Derby to Me: DIY Derby Style Entertaining Ideas

Recently I was asked to join a group of designers & bloggers on Pinterest to pin entertaining ideas for the Kentucky Derby. Being a city girl, I was hesitant to accept the invite. Honestly, because I thought what in the world could I contribute? I don't know diddly about the Kentucky Derby - but I do like hats! So I accepted the invite from Cynthia Bogart, Founder & Editor of The Daily Basics and cruised around the board for a bit to get the gist of the contributions. Boy did I learn a lot - from both the board and reading several blogs and sites on line, including the Kentucky Derby Museum. My learning's inspired my blog post contribution at Hadley Court this week, which also includes some of the history behind the Top 5 Kentucky Derby Traditions, how to apply those traditions as your Derby inspiration, fashions for men and a small gallery of Derby hats.  

While being inspired and contributing to the Talk Derby To Me board, I came across two pretty amazing blogs - Jennifer Sbranti's Hostess With the Mostess and Courtney Whitmore's Pizzazzerie - Both full of festive & creative party ideas with sweet styling plus recipes you can pull together for a Derby Party this Saturday. First are a few of my favorites I found on Hostess With the Mostess...

A simple toy, painted in gold looks uber elegant, whether you're hosting a "Millionaires Row" viewing party or a "Insiders Track" garden party.

Click link to go to: Golden Horses and Jockeys

Jennifer's "Hot To Trot" Derby themed table was adorable using pasta bow ties on the wine glasses for the Southern Gents, and turning the bottoms of the ladies wine glasses into the traditional Derby hat, said to be a symbol of 'Good Luck' at the races...

Click link to go to: Southern Belle Stemware DIY

Jennifer also has free printable on her site, for easy and fun party table decor.

Six more DIY Derby Style projects can be found on Jennifer's 

DIY Derby Style Projects Include:
Fabric Bow Ties
Preppy Horses
Party Paddock Centerpiece
Winner’s Cup Arrangements
Paper Diamond Garlands
Wooden Photo Booth Props

So many wonderful details! From the clever watering hole sign at the ice bucket to the bow ties, not only on the stemware, but on the tray as well.

Another wonderful idea - simply taking one of the Derby phrases as inspiration - "Photo Finish" is an excellent idea for everyone to capture a special photo opp at your Derby Party!

Love the simplicity of this moss-covered frame, also at "Preppy Paddock". It's simply unfinished wooden frames ($1 each at Michaels) covered with sheet moss & used to display Jennifer's free printable 4×6 signs.

Mint is a traditional flavor served at the Kentucky Derby and can be found in cupcakes and cocktails...

Sabrina created these fantastic Mint Julep Cupcakes
(and yes - they include a 1/2 cup of bourbon in them!) 

Great idea for a kid-friendly Mint Julep - Create a Junior Mint Julep!

I'm sure these smell and taste heavenly!
I've never tried bourbon, but after seeing all these recipes for drinks & cupcakes, I definitely want to try it this weekend - especially these Lavender Mint Juleps from Courtney!

Be sure to visit Pizzazzerie to check out Whitney's Mint Julep With Lavender + Derby Party Ideas, plus also check out 6 Mint Julep Recipes With A Twist and Kentucky Derby Delight Recipes.

Other Derby Day entertaining ideas I liked from the Talk Derby To Me board were the creative ways to present napkins for a buffet...

Clever idea! A simple ribbon band can turn your buffet napkins into a Derby Style bow-tie!

These simple rolled napkins tuck in a bowl with some fresh greens look like a bowl of napkin roses - great if you're hosting a "Run for the Roses" viewing party buffet.

If you're wondering how to set your buffet, refer to this diagram, and also my post at Hadley Court (I included a video!)

 Using trophies as containers is a fantastic way to create Derby Style floral arrangements - Perfect for a Garden Party!

Having worked in window display and visual merchandising for stores, I thought this rose centerpiece tablescape was adorable! A delightful Derby inspired tablescape by the Social Butterflies, LLC

And what would Derby Day be without the hats and fashion...

This is the essence of true Derby day attire for the ladies - The dress sweet and demure, with a beautiful hat. Pure elegance. One of the many stunning and stylish hats featured on the collaborative Kentucky Derby ideas board – Talk Derby To Me

Men can personalize their Derby day style with a hand made, Italian silk, custom couture pocket square.

 Rather than 'Run For the Roses', I'm ready to run out and find a fabulous hat plus pick up a (mini) bottle of bourbon to try a Mint Julep this weekend, and even sing "My Old Kentucky Home"!

So are you Derby ready? Will you be hosting a viewing party? Or are you heading to Churchill Downs to see the race between the twin Spires?

For more entertaining ideas plus history behind the Top 5 Kentucky Derby Traditions, visit Hadley Court to read my guest post, Run For The Roses: Kentucky Derby Entertaining Ideas. Also - get FANTASTIC inspiration from visiting the collaborative Talk Derby To Me board on Pinterest.

Thanks for stopping by and have a Happy Derby Day!


  1. This is Indeed absolutely wonderful !!! xoxoxo

  2. These are great and useful ideas for party planning. Recently, arranged my cousin’s bridal shower party at one of the exotic New York Event Venues. Invited all her friends and arranged a private party. They all enjoyed a lot at this party.



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