In early May, we hosted our 2nd annual Kentucky Derby Party and this year’s theme was “Big Hats & Bow Ties”. This was a big success amongst our friends in 2021, so decided to make it an annual tradition…for now at least! The afternoon consists of fancy hats, dressing up, watching the races, eating, socializing with friends, and day drinking – what’s not to love?
As I did in 2021, I decided to prepare and serve all of the food instead of asking guests to bring a dish to share. I pretty much kept the same menu for our 2022 party, just swapping out a couple of items. One dish that I was happy I thought about serving is Chicken and Waffles, complete with maple syrup on the side. I ordered chicken tenders from Raising Cane’s and The Hubby made a bunch of Belgium waffles that we broke into quarters. I also served deviled eggs this year, that’s always a good, Southern dish!
You can find details on the dishes and recipes here from my 2021 post.
I also served the Roasted Red Bell Caprese bites, but this time, I used these cute horseshoe picks – the perfect find on Amazon.
For the food signs, I purchased this template from miss pok-a-dot on Etsy and was able to download the file to customize each sign, they looked great on the buffet!
We served a full bar as well as a cooler full of sparkling water, hard seltzers, and beer – and of course we had mint juleps available for the guests to make! I used the same batch recipe from Wild Open Eats from last year – it works out perfectly for a large group.
Once again, the guests did not disappoint with their outfits! We maintained the tradition of voting for the best dressed with the following categories: Best Dressed Lady, Best Dressed Gent, Best Hat, Best Bow Tie, and Best Dressed Couple. I purchased the sign and voting cards as a template to download from MonarchEPrintables on Etsy, here is the link. Here is a picture of the winners and their prizes. Although you can’t see the best hat very well in this photo, my friend Susan on the far right had an awesome fascinator / headband that looked like butterflies around her head, it was fantastic! Here is a link to the product on Amazon.
My awesome friend Dave Abercrombie did a fantastic job of coming up with a couple of betting games in which we could all participate – we had several guests with cash in hand at the end of the race! His amazing wife Brenda helped add to the décor with several rose covered horses – they were perfect!
I rented a grass wall again from Kayla’s Décor, this year making is slightly larger and adding balloons – this proved to be a fantastic backdrop for photos throughout the day.
Everyone looked so amazing! I cannot wait to host our 2023 Derby Party!