Easy and Fabulous Entertaining: Kentucky Derby Party

Easy and Fabulous Entertaining: Kentucky Derby Party

Recently, my friends Mari, Libby, and I joined forces to plan a Kentucky Derby/surprise birthday party for Libby's fiance Sal.  Sal, with my and Mari's husband, are all bourbon enthusiasts so we thought this party would be a big hit. 

The three of us ladies got together one night, hopped on the internet and planned the decor and menu. 

Here is what we came up with for essentials:


Main Dishes:

  • Horseshoe shaped Benedictine Tea Sandwiches
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Bourbon Meatballs
  • Pulled pork sliders (bourbon BBQ sauce)
  • Bacon and Brussel Sprout Mac and Cheese (and a plain for the kids) RECIPE HERE
  • Watermelon
  • Derby Brown Butter Pecans
  • Homemade  Beef Jerky


  • Devil's Food "Horse" Cupcakes
  • Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream and candy rose garnish
  • Chocolate Covered Bourbon Balls


  • Classic Mint Julep
  • Strawberry Mint Julep
  • Kentucky Mule
  • Official Derby Bourbon

These mini bottles of bourbon were also the party favors. 


The Derby is often referred to as the "run for the roses" because the winner is adorned with a rose blanket consisting of 554 red roses!! So we knew roses had to be incorporated into the decor.  Our friend Mari, who hosted at her home, used a large champagne bucket to hold the fresh roses.

She also recruited the help of her three children to cut out a bunch of paper roses which she scattered around the house. 

I found some free Kentucky Derby printables HERE, and used the "Run for the Roses" banner, which we hung on Mari's mantle and also printed the cupcake toppers.

Games, Contests and Betting:

For the horse betting, Mari and her husband Mike printed off little bio's for each of the horses in the race.

Slips were provided and you wrote your name on the slip and placed it in a numbered mason jars corresponding with the horses. 


There was also a "most creative hat" and "best gent ensemble" competition. 


For outdoor games we played Bag-O (corn hole), Giant Jenga, horseshoes, and Beirut. 




Typical attire for woman include bright or pastel colored spring dresses and a large embellished hat (or fascinator).  

By the way,  my friends and I had good luck at stores like Marshall's and Burlington Coat Factory for some inexpensive hats which we embellished with flowers from Michael's Crafts. 

The dresses that Libby and I are wearing are both Lilly Pulitzer. 



Men typically wear pastel or bright colored shirts, blazers, bowties or ties, suspenders and fedora or bowler hats. 

We can't forget about the kiddos who were adorable with their decorated hats! And, I have to shamelessly point out my sweet Greyson who won the award for "best gent ensemble". 


Although the race is certainly a quick one, the traditions and festivities that surround this event sure make for a fun filled spring day of celebration with friends! 








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