entertaining, party ideas, tabletop inspiration

Off To The Races :: A Kentucky Derby Party

Every year I vow to myself that I'm going to throw a fabulous, over-the-top, big-hat worthy Kentucky Derby party (because really, I just want to wear the hat) and this year I finally got inspired to throw a little something together...

kentucky derby party spread and ideas // via coco+kelley

I love a little dose of preppy style every now and then, so what better excuse for a stripes, ribbons, seersucker, and roses?

all the elements you need to recreate this kentucky derby party // via coco+kelley

Here are the elements. Gifts for guests are tucked into striped boxes topped by golden jockeys (that we spray painted!). Table numbers mimic the gates at the track - pick your number wisely! Mint Juleps are a must, but we put a little twist on ours... And then of course there are traditional Derby snacks: benedictine and cucumber sandwiches stuffed with parsley, and maple bourbon pecans set on individual plates.

kentucky derby party ideas// via coco+kelley

The set up was inspired by these super fun harlequin print (just like the jockeys wear!) paper dishes. I found ribbon to match the colors, and did a simple DIY with these wood numbers and a little paint to coordinate as well!

kentucky derby party spread and ideas via coco+kelley - each guest gets a plate and picks their number to correspond with a horse!

kentucky derby party spread and ideas // via coco+kelley

kentucky derby party spread and ideas // via coco+kelley

So what's with the numbers, you ask? Well, I placed them next to a plate, so each guest would get their own snack and pick a number at the same time. (There are 20 horses in the Derby so make your guest list to match!) 

When the race begins - everyone has their number. Whoever's horse wins, gets a prize at the end!

kentucky derby party spread and ideas - vintage racetrack toy // via coco+kelley

Or... you can have some good old fashioned fun with a little game like this one - set them around the party and let your guests compete according to their number!

kentucky derby party spread and ideas // via coco+kelley

I like the subtle stripe motif too - you can see it in the straws, gift boxes, seersucker tablecloth, and the numbers... but it's not even close to overwhelming! Just a nice common thread to tie the theme together even more.

kentucky derby party spread and ideas via coco+kelley - each guest gets a number and a snack plate! the number corresponds to the horse they're 'betting' on

kentucky derby party spread and ideas - granita mint juleps! // via coco+kelley

And then, of course, there must be a mint julep! But ours isn't just any julep - we created a boozy granita for guests to sip on or spoon, and it's insanely delicious and refreshing. (Recipe tomorrow!). 

kentucky derby party spread and ideas - white roses and rununculus // via coco+kelley

kentucky derby party spread and ideas via coco+kelley - parting gifts for guests are placed in striped boxes topped with gold spray-painted jockeys

Parting gifts for every guests always top off the celebrations. What you put in them is up to you!

Is anyone hosting a party this year? I do hope you'll use some of these elements!

images by meghan klein for coco+kelley // styling by cassandra lavalle