Kentucky Derby Party Planning Guide

Are you ready to get down and derby? Even if you aren’t able to sit on Millionaire’s row for the Greatest Two Minutes in Sports, you can still don a fabulous hat and host an unforgettable viewing party in your luxury Dallas apartment. Plan your Derby party with this guide.


Set the tone right out of the gates for your sophisticated soiree with a classic color combination of red, white and black invitations. Hand deliver invitations inset in a real horseshoe to your friends and neighbors, or mail this chevron derby invite. If you prefer paperless posts, send an evite. Be sure to give your guests enough time to plan their wardrobe and find the perfect hat, especially if you are awarding prizes.


Continue the theme started in your invitations and carry it throughout your décor. Roses are an obvious choice, since the Kentucky Derby is nicknamed the Run for the Roses. Keep it simple with small table centerpieces or go overboard with larger arrangements from a local florist. Check out these free printables and other practical yet posh decoration ideas for a pure-bred party across the board.


No Derby party is complete without signature cocktails and food. Mint Juleps served in silver cups are a must! Other race-day cocktails that you may want to serve include:

  • Black-eyed Susan Cocktail
  • Bourbon Smash
  • Citrus Arnold Palmer with Bourbon
  • Long Island Iced Tea
  • Whisky Sours

As for the food, keep with southern tradition and serve up some country ham and buttermilk biscuits with a side of Kentucky hot browns. Satisfy your guests’ sweet cravings with a Chocolate Pecan Pie for desert, or simply serve chilled Junior Mints in julep cups.


Your guests will love showing off their shopping savvy and creativity with a hat contest. Silk scarves, bow ties or a bottle of Old Forester Kentucky Bourbon make great prizes. It also makes the race more interesting if guests pick a horses name from a hat and win a prize if their horse finishes first.

Up the ante this year by using this guide for your Kentucky Derby gathering in Dallas. Do you have any other ideas or suggestions? Share them in the comments below.
Amy Johnson

is UDR’s budding social media guru, and has been instrumental in constructing the brand’s content strategy. After graduating from University of Colorado- Boulder, she started working for UDR as a marketing intern. When she isn’t perusing the web for the perfect pins and Facebook posts, she can be found hiking somewhere with her dog Rory.

Comments are closed.