In celebration of their new – and super tasty! – Kentucky Derby® Red Blend, which debuted earlier this year, 14 Hands Winery asked me to come up with some ideas for a “Derby Style” Inspired Viewing Party this year. Fun direction for a theme, right?! I thought so too. :)
Style is such a big part of the Kentucky Derby® experience in general, and there are lots of directions you can go with it as far as colors and patterns. I used the wine label as inspiration for the color palette, and decided to stick with versatile & classic patterns like bold stripes, checks, & a floral pattern… featuring roses, of course! I also designed a “Derby girl” silhouette and little wine glass “fascinators” to represent the ladies, alongside neck tie and bow tie elements for the guys. Last but not least, pops of gold and a hint of glitter to add class and fun!
PARTY DETAILS to look out for:
– Wine glasses embellished with DIY Derby Fascinators and printable Neck Ties
– Bourbon-based wine cocktail dubbed the “Twin Spires Sangaree”
– Gold Derby Decals (made from horse stickers & gold spray paint) adorning wood stands & jars
– “Run for the Rose Chips” & Salsa + Mint Julep Fruit Salad
– Neck tie garlands, fabric bow ties, and painted mason jar “Race Horse” table centerpiece
– “Hold Your Horses” napkin toppers + lots more FREE Derby Style Printables (recently updated to work for 2016!)
Before we get too far into the decor, let’s talk about this new Kentucky Derby® Red Blend real quick. It has a core of darker fruit flavors, lots of depth and complexity, and is a great way to enjoy a taste of the Derby at home. As 14 Hands winemaker Keith Kenison explains, “Our goal when crafting this unique wine was to capture the fun yet sophisticated essence of the Kentucky Derby.”
Most importantly, it tastes REALLY GOOD! My parents – who really enjoy wine and can be on the “pickier” side about it, shall we say – came to visit while I was working on this project… After tasting the Derby blend, my dad immediately asked me where he could buy a whole case. Definitely a good sign. ;) By the way – it’s available in most major grocery stores. You can use this online tool to check availability near you.
• • • • • T H E P A R T Y I D E A S • • • • •
And now, onto the creative inspiration! Scroll down for a few more images that will give you a general feel for the theme, followed by organized sections for the following: Food + Table , Drinks + Desserts, and Accent Decor + Printables.
Instead of doing a full set table like last year’s theme, I decided to just come up with a fun centerpiece for the table and set the food up on a styled buffet. I’m really happy with how this centerpiece turned out! (DIY tutorial coming soon.)
I’m kind of on a kick with silhouettes right now… so I thought it would be fun to design a “Derby girl” graphic for the party’s printable paper collection, and then also bring similar silhouettes to life in 3D form! I ordered 2 wood cut outs of the silhouette graphic from Ten23 Designs, then used paper for the “outfits” to keep things quick and very budget friendly.
This Neck Tie Garland is one of my favorite elements from the theme, and could easily translate to other themes too! (DIY Tutorial coming soon.) I used gold horse silhouette stickers to give the neck ties some Derby flair:
• • • • • F O O D + T A B L E I D E A S • • • • •
Sonny (my husband) and I set the food up buffet-style in our kitchen. The menu included the following:
– Chicken Salad Sandwiches embellished with printable rose food picks
– Veggie platter dubbed “The Veggie Paddock”
– Mint Julep Fruit Salad
– Pimiento Cheese Grits
– “Run for the Rose Chips” & Salsa – We rolled tortillas into “roses” for this dish. Tutorial coming soon!
– “Popcorn Paddock” with 2 flavor options + self-serve individual popcorn containers
I just used extra fabric to fold napkins for the table. Fabric is pretty inexpensive if you shop around (I got these patterns on sale for $2-$3/yard and you only need about 1/4 yard per napkin). The table featured just the fabric napkins & the centerpiece + paper horse shoe silhouettes that on the chair backs. The horse shoes say “ride on over & saddle up” as a themed play on the traditional phrases of “pull up a chair” or “take a seat”. ;)
• • • • • D R I N K S & D E S S E R T S • • • • •
We all know that Mint Juleps are synonymous with the Derby, but I wanted to offer another cocktail option, so in addition to serving the Kentucky Derby Red Blend and other 14 Hands varietals, we mixed up a batch of Bourbon-based red wine cocktails made with muddled cherries and simple syrup. (You can also make cocktails individually, of course, but sometimes that’s not the best option for a party when you’ve got a zillion other things to do!)
As a follow up to last year’s DIY Southern Belle Stemware, these glasses were embellished with little fascinators and paper ties! (DIY Tutorial coming soon.)
For the Mint Juleps, we embellished small mason jars with ribbon and gold horseshoe stickers:
Since the food took over the entire kitchen counter, the drinks and desserts were set up together on a separate large table.
These cinnamon-sugar ties are made from tortillas that we cut with cookie cutters, dipped in butter, coated in cinnamon sugar, and baked. So yummy! I embellished them with store-bought, piped vanilla frosting.
These Brownie Rose Towers are also semi-homemade. I used store bought brownie bites and cored the top layer so there would be room to add sugar roses (purchased at Michaels). I dusted the roses with edible shimmer to match the gold in the party, and stacked 2 brownie bites together with a layer of frosting in the middle.
Although most of the desserts were store-bought or DIY, I splurged on a gorgeous professional cake by Stevi from Hey There, Cupcake!. I always love how Stevi brings my paper designs to life in edible form, and thought her handcrafted sugar paper flowers would be especially fitting for this theme!
• • • • • A C C E N T D E C O R + P R I N T A B L E S • • • • •
Paper designs and fabric details were used throughout the party to tie everything together. I added little fabric bows to gold horse statues (which have made an appearance of some shape or form in my past 3 years of Derby parties!) – and added a mix of fabric and artificial flowers to a chicken wire frame used as the drink & desserts menu sign.
I also found this cute little vintage chicken wire utensils holder and filled it with small mason jars filled with flowers & accent feathers. The front detail is a toy horse spray painted gold and hot glued the container.
Last but not least, don’t forget to have some fun with all the Free Printables! When in doubt or in a time crunch, the 2 easiest ways to quickly give your party some “Derby Style” are the Kentucky Derby® Red Blend and the free printables, which you can print from home at any time and display or utilize however you’d like. To find the 14 Hands Kentucky Derby® Red Blend or your favorite 14 Hands wines at a store near you, click here. Enjoy! :)
For more party inspiration, click here to browse our Kentucky Derby® Party archives. And if you happen to be in the mood for a Preppy Paddock or Garden Party theme, good news! I’ll be updating some of the printables in past posts this week so that those collections will work for this year too.