The Ultimate Kentucky Derby Party Guide

Break out your fascinators, it’s the Kentucky Derby! The over-the-top event creates the perfect party atmosphere for men and women alike - it’s one of the biggest sports and fashion events of the year. We’re here to break down the basics to throwing the perfect Derby party!


Image Source:  Ashlynn Eliff Designs

Image Source: Ashlynn Eliff Designs

Your party impression starts with your invitations, especially for such a formal event. Make sure you really nail the Derby aesthetic with those invites! Etsy has a ton of adorable print-off downloads you can buy on any budget. We love this set in particular - the roses are the perfect Derby touch. If you’re looking for something feminine with a soft charm, these invites from Ashlynn Eliff Designs are gorgeous. Be sure to let your guests know your dress attire expectations in your invite, too. Fascinators are a classic Derby party staple, but you don’t have to have a formal event if that’s not your style!


Image Source:  Tea Time Magazine

Image Source: Tea Time Magazine

Don’t feel pressured to go all out with extravagant meals for your guests. This party is about the overall experience (and the endless Mint Juleps!) so focus on that instead of a sit-down meal. Serve up tons of Southern comfort food to keep with the Derby feel, but do it through fun and unique appetizers. Try making horseshoe finger sandwiches as a nod to the theme! The Kentucky Derby official site has a ton of recipes you can follow if you’re not sure where to start, too. We’re drooling over the Bacon Bourbon Caramel Popcorn, which would be the perfect favor for your guests!


Image Source:  Pizzazzerie

Image Source: Pizzazzerie

This one’s a given: it wouldn’t be a Kentucky Derby party without some old fashioned Mint Juleps. Highlight this as your signature drink with a Mint Julep bar!

Or just serve up some of the classic drink in some shabby chic mason jars, complete with paper straws. If you want to add a little variety to the classic Derby drink, experiment with some fun infused flavors, like this gorgeous Lavender Mint Julep!


It wouldn’t be “The Run for the Roses” without flowers, so don’t be shy with your florals! Whether they’re fake or fresh, decorate with tons of roses in various springtime tones to really capture that Derby feel. Accessorize with charming touches like mason jars, gold accents, and some greenery to pull everything together.

Image Source:  Evite

Image Source: Evite


Image Source:  Little Legel Designs

Image Source: Little Legel Designs

The main race is only two minutes, so make sure you have plenty to keep your guests entertained! Start the party off well before the race starts so you have time to mingle and get in the spirit. Set up some trivia for your guests with these fun print-offs from Etsy, or take the party outside with a game of horseshoes! Don’t forget betting games, either - it’s part of the excitement!