This year my husband Max’s Birthday fell on the day of the 141st Kentucky Derby as well as the anticipated match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. It couldn’t have happened on a better day! Max will bet on anything among his friends – so, a little lighthearted gambling ensued this past weekend for his 26th Birthday.

I have always wanted to host a party for the Kentucky Derby, hats and Mint Juleps included. When I attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, many of my girlfriends and sorority sisters would travel to Churchill Downs, all dolled up, and enjoy the festivities of the historical and revered traditions of the Kentucky Derby. I never had the chance to attend myself, but have always loved the pomp and parade of the traditions steeped in class, and have been waiting for the excuse opportunity to throw my own Derby party and don my own charming hat!

I found the most amazing printables from Hostess with the Mostess for the party. They are FREE and updated to show this year’s information (2015). Amazingly, they go really well with my home decor already, so the only thing I needed to add was the flowers, paper plates & napkins, and signs for the drinks! I have included the printables that I made at the bottom of this post for you to download for FREE as well. Can’t wait till next year’s derby – I already have some new ideas!

To keep things interesting, everyone drew a horse name from a bowl, and that was the horse they rooted for. It was really fun, and it kept everyone interested in the event and in anticipation of the race. The person with the winning horse received a prize – at a price. In order to claim their gift card, the winner had to take a shot of Green Thunder (1 part Absinthe, 1 part moonshine). Since my sister in-law’s boyfriend drew American Pharaoh, he won the honor of taking the shot, and taking home the prize.

For the ladies, I provided some cute fascinators so they could participate in the Kentucky Derby tradition of outlandish head-wear like I was. I even made Max a little boutonniere with some extra flowers from my arrangements. The flower arrangements that I put together were probably the prettiest I have ever done, and I was so proud. I loved the way the colors worked together and how vibrant and fresh it looked. It was also not too feminine (since it was my husband’s birthday, after all) and incorporated one of Max’s favorite colors: red. I used the same method of taping that I always do, and you can find a DIY tutorial here for a Spring flower arrangement. It is a wonderfully useful technique when arranging flowers which can be adapted for all kinds of vases.

The food that I made for the party was a hit – I suppose that eventually I will have to put up all of the recipes. For now, I will just give you a sneak peek at the menu as well as the Sparkling Blackberry Mint Julep recipe. It is a twist on the traditional Mint Julep, and with the addition of the Champagne and blackberries, not as potent, which worked out really well since it was a very long day waiting for the race to begin. I also subbed in Jack Daniel’s whiskey instead of Bourbon, because this family might as well be sponsored by Jack Daniel’s! Although I put a lot of effort into the snacks and drinks, Max insisted that dinner be simple – so we ordered pizza! Yes, it was the easy way out, but there were smiles on everyone’s faces, which is all that matters to me.

Max had a wonderful birthday celebration, and thank you to everyone who came by!

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4×6 signs

8×10 sign

8×10 Raise a Glass sign

decorative bottle wraps

Hot to Trot mini banner

Let’s Eat chair flags

mini party flags

pennant flags

tent cards

wreath silhouettes


Blackberry Mint Julep sign

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