How to Throw a Kentucky Derby Party

You don’t have to be big on “watching the ponies” in order to throw an amazingly fun Kentucky Derby party this Saturday, but what you do need is a game plan. Check out our list below with suggestions and directions as well as THIS Pinterest board created by our brand new West Hollywood apartment building, NMS @ La Cienega, with recipes, tutorials, pictures and more!

1.  Timing

Races usually begin in the early afternoon so your party, if it includes showing the races, will be during the day time.  Check your local TV listings to be sure.  Then again, if you aren’t into the racing aspect, think about throwing a Kentucky Derby After Party!


2.  Decor

Decor for your party is all things horses and Southern!  Think fresh flowers (the race isn’t called a run for the roses for nothing!), pastel crepe paper, black and white striped table cloths and equestrian-chic.  We love these inexpensive custom, printable cupcake toppers to be mounted on toothpicks and placed either on top of appetizers or, of course, cupcakes.  Don’t forget that the guests will be part of the decorations due to the…

3.  Dress Code

While some opt for a very casual approach, a real Kentucky Derby party isn’t a real Kentucky Derby party without pastels, bow ties and hats! Encourage your guests to don their KD Best: summer dresses and outrageous hats for the ladies and bow ties and button downs for the gents.  Pastels are optional but highly encouraged!


4.  Food and Bev

Unless you’re throwing some sort of a full-on dinner party, keep the food hand held and the beverages freely flowing!  Guests will gobble up KD themed finger foods such as Benedictine spread on crackers, hot browns (tastes better than it sounds, we promise!), deviled eggs, bourbon meatballs and the like. Regardless of what beverages you have on hand, be sure to have all of the makings for the classic and official drink of the Kentucky Derby, the Mint Julep!

5.  Music

Music always makes the atmosphere!  If you’re screening the races, place it before and after as well as during the commercials while the TV is muted.  We suggest a blend of country, folk rock, bluegrass and light indie.  We found THIS great Spotify playlist of KD themed music but be sure to add in some of your own favorites as well!