When my cousin asked me to be the matron of honor in her wedding, I was thrilled! Even though we live three hours apart, we have always been close. I couldn’t wait to help her celebrate this exciting milestone – and I would get to plan a fun bridal shower. I love planning parties around a specific theme. My first thought was a Disney shower since the wedding is at Disney World. That generated so many cute ideas – foods named after all of the princesses, a story about how “Cinderella” met her “Prince Charming”. . .the ideas just came flooding into my head. Then, I got a phone call from my aunt saying that my cousin really wanted a Kentucky Derby themed shower.
Hmmmm, all I knew about the Kentucky Derby was that it was a horse race that was over in about a minute. What was I going to do with that? I knew I needed to do some research. After reading more about the Kentucky Derby itself and getting some ideas from other Kentucky Derby parties, I realized this wasn’t such a bad thing. There were actually a lot of fun things to do with a Kentucky Derby theme.
The first thing I needed was an invitation to set the mood for the party. I wanted one that would get the guests really excited about the shower. After looking at several options, I fell in love with this one on Zazzle. The line “And she’s off to the altar!” was my favorite. It was perfect for the Kentucky Derby theme. Plus the invitation was able to be customized so I could tell everyone to wear their Derby hats.
In my opinion, the most important part of any party is the food. I knew I wanted to have the food reflect the Kentucky Derby theme as well. I found this recipe for Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders from Blair at The Seasoned Mom. They were the hit of the party. Everyone raved about them! I also made chicken salad and egg salad sandwiches. As sides, we had veggies and dip and a spinach and strawberry salad. For dessert, there were chocolate covered strawberries and assorted mini cupcakes.
I quickly found out that the drinks are equally important at a Kentucky Derby themed shower. My uncle came to be the bartender and whipped up some Mint Juleps and poured cups of Bourbon Cream. We also had a party punch and some iced tea and lemonade.
I made labels to go with the foods so everyone would know what they were eating. You can use them, too, by clicking on the picture below. Overall, the food and drinks were a hit, and they matched really well with the theme.
My aunt took care of a lot of the decorations for the party. She ordered these tablecloths and balloons to give the room a Kentucky Derby feel. We also had roses since the Kentucky Derby is the “Run for the Roses.” The venue was a room in my cousin’s apartment building that can be rented for special events. The room was awesome! It was large enough for all 20 guests to spread out and chat. There was a nice seating area where everyone could eat. The best part was that there were two big screen TVs that were perfect for showing “the greatest two minutes in sports”. (Yes, I figured out that the Derby lasts about two minutes, not one.) The only bad thing was that we weren’t allowed to hang any decorations on the walls. This ended up being okay because there were plenty of other things to grab the guests’ attention.
No party is complete without some games. As the guests entered the room, they were given statistics on all of the horses that were running in the Derby. They were directed to a table that had three buckets on it. One bucket was for “Win,” one was for “Place,” and one was for “Show.” My aunt bought these betting tickets. Each guest took one of each color ticket and wrote their name and the name of horse they thought would win, place, and show. They put the tickets in the corresponding buckets. After the Derby ran and we knew the winners. we pulled names from each bucket until we found someone who chose the correct horse. Those guests won prizes.
We also did a game to see how well the guests knew the bride and groom. I had my cousin and her fiance answer some questions ahead of time for this game. You can download the questions by clicking here. I made little chips that were pink on one side and blue on the other. Each guest got a baggie with twenty chips in it. I read a statement about either the bride or the groom. If the guests thought the bride said it, they turned a chip to the pink side. If they thought the groom said it, they turned the chip to the blue side. The chip was taken away if they had the answer incorrect. The guest with the most chips left at the end of the game won a prize.
I wanted the favors to be something the guests could use after the shower. As I was searching, I saw a picture of a mint plant and thought that would make a good favor. My sister-in-law owns a greenhouse, so I asked her if she could grow some mint for me. I put the mint in little pots I bought at Michaels. Then, I made little signs that said, “Thanks for coming! It “mint” so much!” I glued that to one side of a planter tag and a mint julep recipe to the other side. I was really happy with the way they turned out, and the guests loved them. You can download the labels by clicking on the picture.
Despite my initial hesitation, the Kentucky Derby theme ended up working out really well. I had a lot of fun planning the party, and the party guests had a wonderful time.
*If you would like an editable version of any of the documents, just leave a comment below. If you have a Google account, I can share them with you in your Google Drive.
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