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Kentucky Derby Party Planning:
Decorating Tips and Suggestions

  • Greet your guests with traditional mint juleps served in a real mint julep cup or a Official Kentucky Derby glass.

  • This is a perfect occasion for displaying sterling silver for an elegant dinner or buffet.

  • Place a red rose at each ladies' place-setting and use red or silver bordered placecards for a sit down dinner.

  • Fill a silver wine cooler with long stemmed red roses as a centerpiece encircled by mint julep cups filled with fresh mint.

  • Fill large vases or unusual containers with red roses or colorful spring flowers, azaleas, dogwood, or any flowering greenery from your yard. The aroma and color will enhance your home and add a touch of 'Derby Fever'.

  • Garnish silver serving trays with rosettes of tomatoes and radishes. Watercress, Bibb lettuce, and mint are also traditional and attractive to use with molded salads, terrines and appetizers.

  • Buffet tables can be accented by wrapping red napkins around silver flatware and tying with narrow white satin ribbon. Red or jockey silk colors make colorful runners for tables.

  • Baskets filled with red geraniums or tulips create an informal atmosphere.They can be used for tables, patios and outdoor barbecues.

  • Make your food table festive by using horseshoe-shaped molds for aspics and pates. Garnish trays with tomato roses, piped cream cheese roses, rinsed and dried flower petals; scatter them on the table around the centerpiece.

  • Cake molds of horseshoe and hot air balloons shapes are available. There are also candy molds of roses, horses and other decorative molds. Kentucky candies, such as Bourbon Balls and Modjeskas are impressive to pass at the end of the dinner or to give as gifts.

  • Use Hadley Pottery, Kentucky's premier potter, for favors, containers, or as serving pieces. Julep cups in stoneware or silveware a traditional Derby favorite.

  • Place a large handsome horse sculpture in the center of a table and surround with greenery and a garland of roses for the horse's neck.

  • Edible centerpieces, such as fresh fruit, vegetables, and even scooped-out loaves of bread make interesting containers for many foods, including our delicious Kentucky Dill Dip. Roses, tulips, violets, mums, and nasturtiums are edible flower petals.

  • If entertaining informally, use signs to decorate your home. Tape a sign on the closet door marked 'Paddock', on the bar marked 'Watering Hole', on the kitchen door marked 'Infield', to the dining area as the 'Clubhouse' and the television room as the 'Grandstand'. Restroom doors might be marked as 'Studs' and 'Mares'. A "Derby Parking Only" sign is perfect for the driveway or out by the street for your guests.

Invitations for your Kentucky Derby Party
Planning your Derby Party Menu