16 Apr

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby® Garden Party

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby® Garden Party

“The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports™” is right around the corner already, and you know what that means…. party time! For the past few years, HWTM has partnered with 14 Hands Winery (a proud sponsor of the Kentucky Derby® for the 2nd time this year!) – to bring you lots of creative inspiration for celebrating the Derby in style at home. First there was the vintage-modern style Taste of Derby theme, followed by last year’s Preppy Paddock Party.

DREAMING UP A NEW LOOK FOR 2014

This year, I wanted to come up with something really colorful, fresh, and a bit unexpected, which always makes things more fun for the party guests! Inspired by the artistic look of the 14 Hands wine bottles and the vibrant colors of jockey racing silks, I mixed in greenery and rustic elements as a nod to the outdoor nature of the race, plus some preppy black and white patterns for a hint of classic Derby style.

The result is a festive Kentucky Derby® Garden Party theme that feels both elegant and fun at the same time… I hope it inspires you to invite some friends over and bring the Derby home this year too, no matter where you live! You’ll find details on how to recreate the look below, and can also click here to download all of the {FREE} party printables used throughout this theme. Enjoy! ;)

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

– Repurposed wood horse adorned with a DIY crepe paper “Garland of Roses”, inspired by the Derby tradition
– Derby themed party signs displayed in open frames backed with dried moss + mini moss garlands
– Wine glass bases transformed into Southern Belle style “derby hats” for the ladies
– Gold-painted toy horses, jockeys and horseshoes used as place card holders and centerpiece accents
– Bold striped farfalle pasta used as both food and decor (Check out the “bow-tie” drink charms!)

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby® Garden Party

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby® Garden Party

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby® Garden Party

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby® Garden Party

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby® Garden Party

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby® Garden Party

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby® Garden Party

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby® Garden Party

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby® Garden Party

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby® Garden Party

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby® Garden Party

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby® Garden Party

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby® Garden Party

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby® Garden Party

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby® Garden Party

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby® Garden Party

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby® Garden Party

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby® Garden Party

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby® Garden Party

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby® Garden Party

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby® Garden Party

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BRINGING THE DERBY HOME

The Kentucky Derby® is such a FUN excuse to get together and celebrate with friends! As I touched upon earlier, the purpose of designing and sharing this new theme is to help inspire you to bring the Derby home (in style!) – and to make it easier on you by providing a variety of ideas that really can be recreated at home. You don’t need to be a master florist or designer to bring these ideas to life, and you also don’t need to do them all, OR worry about making them look exactly the same. Just find the ideas that work for you, get inspired, and off you go! In other words, have a little fun with it. ;)

Also, since I’ve partnered with 14 Hands on this project, of course there is a focus on wine and creative ways to serve it – which comes pretty naturally for me since wine is a big part of most celebrations in my group of friends! The connection between 14 Hands and the Derby feels like such a natural fit as well… in addition to being inspired by the unbridled spirit of the wild horses that once roamed Washington State (as rendered artistically on the 14 Hands bottles), their brand new winery is even located in “Horse Heaven Hills”. It’s also fun to be able to tell your party guests that they’re enjoying the exact same wine being served to the guests at Churchill Downs – and makes the party feel even more authentic!

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DIY PROJECTS

Rustic Garden Party Centerpiece
I wanted the table centerpiece to be festive, unique and approachable. A rustic container was filled with a colorful mix of flowers, then topped with a mini bunting garland fashioned from preserved sheet moss and patterned paper. The container was embellished with hand-cut printable silhouettes on the long sides, and iron horseshoes (spray painted gold) on the short sides.

Southern Belle Stemware
We transformed the bases of wine glasses into ladies’ Derby hats with felt, ribbon, and feathers. If you make each “hat” a little different, they will also double as glass markers! (Look for a DIY tutorial on these coming soon.)

Farfalle Bow-Ties
Add raffia to bold striped farfalle pasta to create clever — and super EASY — bow-tie drink markers and decorative accents.

Golden Horses & Jockeys
Inexpensive toy horses and 5” horse and jockey figures were given a quick coat of gold spray paint, then used to dress up the table place settings and centerpiece. As a side note — the 5” horse and jockey figures arrived as a shiny yellow gold, but I sprayed them with a softer matte metallic shade of gold to make them look more upscale. I also painted some 2.5” plastic horse and jockey figures gold, removed the bases with a wire cutter, and used them as golden “emblems” on some of the vases and floral containers.

Win Place Show Vases
Silver trophy and julep cup vases were filled with colorful flowers and accented with printable Win, Place, Show flags — an easy way to transform any centerpiece into a Derby theme!

Mossy Signs & Frames
We cut foam core to fit in open wood frames, covered it with sheet moss and used it as backer for the printable 8×10 signs. Unfinished wooden 4×6 frames ($1 each at Michaels) were also covered in moss and used to display the printable “Run for the Roses” signs.

Winner’s Crate
A rustic wooden crate was embellished with wooden craft numbers that were spray painted gold. Three toy horse figures covered in chalkboard paint stood above the numbers to represent the Win, Place, and Show horses.

Crepe Paper Roses
We needed to make a lot of paper roses for decor, so choosing an easy-to-accomplish style of paper flower was key. I’ve made paper roses before using standard card stock, but the simple change of bringing them to life with textured crepe paper this time made a world of difference!

Rose Garland Horse Centerpiece
The Garland of Roses is a significant element of the Kentucky Derby®, and I really wanted to create something to represent it well in the party decor. On a decor-scouting trip to HomeGoods, I stumbled on a fantastic wooden horse statue that was just begging to get all dressed up for the party. ;) A couple coats of black chalkboard spray paint + lots of red crepe paper roses (secured with glue dots) and voila! I am so happy with how this piece turned out — it definitely makes a statement and feels artistic, but is also surprisingly approachable. This general idea can definitely be recreated in a variety of ways, using different styles and sizes of horse figures, from toys and statues to wire topiary horse forms.

Paper Flower Derby Hat
Big hats are another important element of the Derby and a great place to utilize paper flowers! Here, a simple & inexpensive wide-brimmed hat was given a big dose of Derby style with just a few DIY paper roses and colorful feathers. Added bonus of decorating your own hat: you can make it perfectly match your party — or your outfit, of course!

Mossy Accents
Rolled preserved sheet moss was used to add a “garden party” vibe to many elements in the decor, from embellishing display stands and serving trays to creating mossy bunting banners. Wired moss was also used to decorate the glass drink dispenser.

Free Printable Party Decor
I designed a new Kentucky Derby® Garden Party paper collection to help bring this theme to life and tie all of the elements together. Everything from drink flags and patterned paper to decorative wraps and party signs is included. You can check it out in detail – and download it all for free – right here. Just print, cut, and enjoy!

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FOOD & DRINKS

The drink station is all about creative presentation! The 14 Hands Wine and the embellished “Southern Belle” and “Southern Gentlemen” wine glasses are the stars of the show, and we also whipped up an easy Wine Julep cocktail for a light & refreshing twist on the traditional Mint Julep. To make this at home, simply muddle mint in the bottom of a pitcher, fill it half way with ice, then add 1 part 14 Hands Pinot Gris or Hot to Trot White Blend and 1 part ginger ale. Done! Don’t you just love it when things are easy? ;)

Southern Sweet Tea is a great non-alcoholic option for Derby parties. We garnished ours with a generous helping of lemon wheels and served it from a barrel-shaped glass drink dispenser for some rustic appeal. Mason jars were also embellished with twine and provided as drink glasses for the Wine Julep cocktail and Sweet Tea.

When it comes to Derby party food, you can do anything from a sit-down meal to small bites. Since there are already so many great Kentucky Derby® inspired recipes and images out there (we featured several of them in last year’s post), I decided to just focus on a couple easy recipes that coordinated well with the look and feel of this new theme.

The first recipe is a Southern pasta salad that features the same bold striped farfalle used on the wine glasses and decor. I just couldn’t resist the idea of a guest holding a wine glass with a farfalle bow-tie, then noticing the same striped design on their plate (and in some of the party decor)! I just love surprising guests with clever tie-ins like that at parties. My husband also made some Sweet & Spicy Bourbon Pecans to use in the salad, and I’ll be sharing the recipes for both in a separate post next week, so stay tuned!

The second recipe we shot was Watermelon-Feta-Mint Salad Bites drizzled with balsamic glaze. These are super easy to make and the description pretty much says it all when it comes to the recipe, but I felt like this idea was especially fitting here because of the colors (watermelon for red roses) and the use of mint as a tie-in with the Mint Julep.

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STAY TUNED FOR FREE PRINTABLES & DIY
I hope you’re enjoying the new theme so far! Make sure to visit us again next week to check out some DIY Tutorials, where I’ll be breaking down some of the ideas & recipes featured here in more detail. And don’t forget to come back later this afternoon to download the Free Kentucky Derby® Garden Party Printables!

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CREDITS & RESOURCES

– Partner: 14 Hands Winery (Check them out on Facebook and Twitter!)
– Party Styling & Photography: Hostess with the Mostess
– Graphic Design / Party Printables: Hostess with the Mostess
– Table Linens: La Tavola

Leave a Comment

17Comments

1
bloomdesignsonline SAYS:

I think this is my favorite party that you’ve done. The hats and bow ties on the glass stems are genius!

Reply April 16, 2014 at 9:40 pm

jenn s. SAYS:

Thanks, Jenny! :)

April 17, 2014 at 5:53 am

2
@AllAboutNuptial SAYS:

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby Garden Party http://t.co/i2UNCsvPUT

Reply April 16, 2014 at 10:02 pm

3
Michelle - I DO invitations by michelle SAYS:

Stunning as always, Jenn! Love the fonts you used and the gorgeous color scheme. The red flowers on the horse centerpiece are lovely!

Reply April 17, 2014 at 4:10 am

jenn s. SAYS:

Thanks, Michelle! The “rose horse” centerpiece ended up being my very favorite element too! :)

April 17, 2014 at 5:53 am

4
@EliteStylesNYC SAYS:

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby Garden Party #outdoor #events #eventprofs #ideas http://t.co/U6m9D2Jm3Q

Reply April 17, 2014 at 3:02 pm

5
Bianca Cirillo SAYS:

I am in LOVE with this entire party!!!!! I don't know if I wish I was throwing it or attending it! It's amaze-balls!

Reply April 17, 2014 at 10:31 pm

6
Gina Schlesinger SAYS:

I host a party every year for this and LOVE all your printables. Thank you so much for sharing them!

Reply April 18, 2014 at 11:57 am

7
Lindee Katdare SAYS:

Wow…I LOVE everything about your party!! I wish I would have seen this sooner. I do lifestyle and design segments for a TV show here in Roanoke…so many great ideas!! Glad to find your page.

Reply April 23, 2014 at 12:48 pm

8
Jennifer Castillo Carrasquillo SAYS:

This is the MOST AMAZING find….Thank you so much!!! My daughter loves horses so much that I told her we should do her Sweet 16 Kentucky Derby theme. Even better, the first Ever Kentucky Derby started on May 17 which is her birthday. I know we still have 3 years to go……but so excited to plan.

Reply May 17, 2014 at 12:38 am

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