//, Styled by Jenn, Theme Parties/{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby® Garden Party

{Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby® Garden Party

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Kentucky Derby Wine Bar Station with 14 Hands Wine

“The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports™” is right around the corner already, and you know what that means…. party time! For the past few years, HWTM has partnered with 14 Hands Winery (a proud sponsor of the Kentucky Derby® for the 2nd time this year!) – to bring you lots of creative inspiration for celebrating the Derby in style at home. First there was the vintage-modern style Taste of Derby theme, followed by last year’s Preppy Paddock Party.


This year, I wanted to come up with something really colorful, fresh, and a bit unexpected, which always makes things more fun for the party guests! Inspired by the artistic look of the 14 Hands wine bottles and the vibrant colors of jockey racing silks, I mixed in greenery and rustic elements as a nod to the outdoor nature of the race, plus some preppy black and white patterns for a hint of classic Derby style.

The result is a festive Kentucky Derby® Garden Party theme that feels both elegant and fun at the same time… I hope it inspires you to invite some friends over and bring the Derby home this year too, no matter where you live! You’ll find details on how to recreate the look below, and can also click here to download all of the {FREE} party printables used throughout this theme. Enjoy! ;)

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

– Repurposed wood horse adorned with a DIY crepe paper “Garland of Roses”, inspired by the Derby tradition
– Derby themed party signs displayed in open frames backed with dried moss + mini moss garlands
– Wine glass bases transformed into Southern Belle style “derby hats” for the ladies
– Gold-painted toy horses, jockeys and horseshoes used as place card holders and centerpiece accents
– Bold striped farfalle pasta used as both food and decor (Check out the “bow-tie” drink charms!)

Kentucky Derby Hat with DIY Paper Flowers + Garden Party Wine and Decor

Rustic Garden Kentucky Derby Table Centerpiece and Gold Horses

Kentucky Derby Centerpiece - Garland of Roses Horse

Kentucky Derby Printable Drink Sign and 14 Hands Wine


Kentucky Derby Party Printables by Hostess with the Mostess

Elegant and Colorful Kentucky Derby Garden Party Table

Rustic Garden Party Centerpiece with Gold Horseshoe and Jockey

Gold Painted Horses and Jockeys - Kentucky Derby Party

Southern Belle Wine Glasses with DIY Felt Hats - Kentucky Derby Party Idea

DIY Red Crepe Paper Roses - Kentucky Derby Wine Party

Wine Julep Cocktail with 14 Hands Hot to Trot White Blend

Wine Julep Cocktial with Free Printable Sign by HWTM

Mason Jar Drinks with Twine and Kentucky Derby Party Flags by HWTM

Garden Party Southern Sweet Tea

Kentucky Derby Garden Party Rose Decorations

Kentucky Derby Chair Banners

Watermelon Feta Mint Salad Cubes

Southern Bow-Tie Pasta with Striped Farfalle

Rustic Chalkboard and Gold Horses - Kentucky Derby Party

Run for the Roses Party Decorations



The Kentucky Derby® is such a FUN excuse to get together and celebrate with friends! As I touched upon earlier, the purpose of designing and sharing this new theme is to help inspire you to bring the Derby home (in style!) – and to make it easier on you by providing a variety of ideas that really can be recreated at home. You don’t need to be a master florist or designer to bring these ideas to life, and you also don’t need to do them all, OR worry about making them look exactly the same. Just find the ideas that work for you, get inspired, and off you go! In other words, have a little fun with it. ;)

Also, since I’ve partnered with 14 Hands on this project, of course there is a focus on wine and creative ways to serve it – which comes pretty naturally for me since wine is a big part of most celebrations in my group of friends! The connection between 14 Hands and the Derby feels like such a natural fit as well… in addition to being inspired by the unbridled spirit of the wild horses that once roamed Washington State (as rendered artistically on the 14 Hands bottles), their brand new winery is even located in “Horse Heaven Hills”. It’s also fun to be able to tell your party guests that they’re enjoying the exact same wine being served to the guests at Churchill Downs – and makes the party feel even more authentic!



Rustic Garden Party Centerpiece
I wanted the table centerpiece to be festive, unique and approachable. A rustic container was filled with a colorful mix of flowers, then topped with a mini bunting garland fashioned from preserved sheet moss and patterned paper. The container was embellished with hand-cut printable silhouettes on the long sides, and iron horseshoes (spray painted gold) on the short sides.

Southern Belle Stemware
We transformed the bases of wine glasses into ladies’ Derby hats with felt, ribbon, and feathers. If you make each “hat” a little different, they will also double as glass markers! (Look for a DIY tutorial on these coming soon.)

Farfalle Bow-Ties
Add raffia to bold striped farfalle pasta to create clever — and super EASY — bow-tie drink markers and decorative accents.

Golden Horses & Jockeys
Inexpensive toy horses and 5” horse and jockey figures were given a quick coat of gold spray paint, then used to dress up the table place settings and centerpiece. As a side note — the 5” horse and jockey figures arrived as a shiny yellow gold, but I sprayed them with a softer matte metallic shade of gold to make them look more upscale. I also painted some 2.5” plastic horse and jockey figures gold, removed the bases with a wire cutter, and used them as golden “emblems” on some of the vases and floral containers.

Win Place Show Vases
Silver trophy and julep cup vases were filled with colorful flowers and accented with printable Win, Place, Show flags — an easy way to transform any centerpiece into a Derby theme!

Mossy Signs & Frames
We cut foam core to fit in open wood frames, covered it with sheet moss and used it as backer for the printable 8×10 signs. Unfinished wooden 4×6 frames ($1 each at Michaels) were also covered in moss and used to display the printable “Run for the Roses” signs.

Winner’s Crate
A rustic wooden crate was embellished with wooden craft numbers that were spray painted gold. Three toy horse figures covered in chalkboard paint stood above the numbers to represent the Win, Place, and Show horses.

Crepe Paper Roses
We needed to make a lot of paper roses for decor, so choosing an easy-to-accomplish style of paper flower was key. I’ve made paper roses before using standard card stock, but the simple change of bringing them to life with textured crepe paper this time made a world of difference!

Rose Garland Horse Centerpiece
The Garland of Roses is a significant element of the Kentucky Derby®, and I really wanted to create something to represent it well in the party decor. On a decor-scouting trip to HomeGoods, I stumbled on a fantastic wooden horse statue that was just begging to get all dressed up for the party. ;) A couple coats of black chalkboard spray paint + lots of red crepe paper roses (secured with glue dots) and voila! I am so happy with how this piece turned out — it definitely makes a statement and feels artistic, but is also surprisingly approachable. This general idea can definitely be recreated in a variety of ways, using different styles and sizes of horse figures, from toys and statues to wire topiary horse forms.

Paper Flower Derby Hat
Big hats are another important element of the Derby and a great place to utilize paper flowers! Here, a simple & inexpensive wide-brimmed hat was given a big dose of Derby style with just a few DIY paper roses and colorful feathers. Added bonus of decorating your own hat: you can make it perfectly match your party — or your outfit, of course!

Mossy Accents
Rolled preserved sheet moss was used to add a “garden party” vibe to many elements in the decor, from embellishing display stands and serving trays to creating mossy bunting banners. Wired moss was also used to decorate the glass drink dispenser.

Free Printable Party Decor
I designed a new Kentucky Derby® Garden Party paper collection to help bring this theme to life and tie all of the elements together. Everything from drink flags and patterned paper to decorative wraps and party signs is included. You can check it out in detail – and download it all for free – right here. Just print, cut, and enjoy!



The drink station is all about creative presentation! The 14 Hands Wine and the embellished “Southern Belle” and “Southern Gentlemen” wine glasses are the stars of the show, and we also whipped up an easy Wine Julep cocktail for a light & refreshing twist on the traditional Mint Julep. To make this at home, simply muddle mint in the bottom of a pitcher, fill it half way with ice, then add 1 part 14 Hands Pinot Gris or Hot to Trot White Blend and 1 part ginger ale. Done! Don’t you just love it when things are easy? ;)

Southern Sweet Tea is a great non-alcoholic option for Derby parties. We garnished ours with a generous helping of lemon wheels and served it from a barrel-shaped glass drink dispenser for some rustic appeal. Mason jars were also embellished with twine and provided as drink glasses for the Wine Julep cocktail and Sweet Tea.

When it comes to Derby party food, you can do anything from a sit-down meal to small bites. Since there are already so many great Kentucky Derby® inspired recipes and images out there (we featured several of them in last year’s post), I decided to just focus on a couple easy recipes that coordinated well with the look and feel of this new theme.

The first recipe is a Southern pasta salad that features the same bold striped farfalle used on the wine glasses and decor. I just couldn’t resist the idea of a guest holding a wine glass with a farfalle bow-tie, then noticing the same striped design on their plate (and in some of the party decor)! I just love surprising guests with clever tie-ins like that at parties. My husband also made some Sweet & Spicy Bourbon Pecans to use in the salad, and I’ll be sharing the recipes for both in a separate post next week, so stay tuned!

The second recipe we shot was Watermelon-Feta-Mint Salad Bites drizzled with balsamic glaze. These are super easy to make and the description pretty much says it all when it comes to the recipe, but I felt like this idea was especially fitting here because of the colors (watermelon for red roses) and the use of mint as a tie-in with the Mint Julep.



For more details on some of the creative elements in this theme, check out these tutorials:

Vendor Credit
By |2019-03-29T10:21:26-07:00April 16th, 2014|Kentucky Derby, Styled by Jenn, Theme Parties|

About the Author:

Jennifer Sbranti is the founder of Hostess with the Mostess®, a creative living and party planning resource established in 2006. She lives in Northern California with her husband, Sonny, and daughters Macy (8) and Rylie (6). Sbranti’s work has been featured in media outlets such as Good Morning America, The Today Show, Real Simple, People, InStyle Weddings, and Extra! TV. She has designed creative content and unique live events for several well-respected brands, including Mattel, Coca-Cola, The Hershey Company, Toys”R”Us, Pottery Barn Kids, and Starbucks.


  1. […] promised, here are links to download all of the {free!} party printables from our new Kentucky Derby Garden Party theme for 14 Hands Winery. Inspired by the colorful painted horses motif on the 14 Hands bottles, I […]

  2. bloomdesignsonline April 16, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    I think this is my favorite party that you’ve done. The hats and bow ties on the glass stems are genius!

    • jenn s. April 17, 2014 at 5:53 am

      Thanks, Jenny! :)

  3. @AllAboutNuptial April 16, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    {Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby Garden Party http://t.co/i2UNCsvPUT

  4. Michelle - I DO invitations by michelle April 17, 2014 at 4:10 am

    Stunning as always, Jenn! Love the fonts you used and the gorgeous color scheme. The red flowers on the horse centerpiece are lovely!

    • jenn s. April 17, 2014 at 5:53 am

      Thanks, Michelle! The “rose horse” centerpiece ended up being my very favorite element too! :)

  5. @EliteStylesNYC April 17, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    {Festive & Elegant} Kentucky Derby Garden Party #outdoor #events #eventprofs #ideas http://t.co/U6m9D2Jm3Q

  6. Bianca Cirillo April 17, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    I am in LOVE with this entire party!!!!! I don't know if I wish I was throwing it or attending it! It's amaze-balls!

  7. Gina Schlesinger April 18, 2014 at 11:57 am

    I host a party every year for this and LOVE all your printables. Thank you so much for sharing them!

  8. […] week, I shared the new Kentucky Derby® Garden Party theme that I recently designed for 14 Hands Winery with you, and now it’s time to dig a […]

  9. Lindee Katdare April 23, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Wow…I LOVE everything about your party!! I wish I would have seen this sooner. I do lifestyle and design segments for a TV show here in Roanoke…so many great ideas!! Glad to find your page.

  10. […] in home Derby celebrations too! I wanted to showcase them in a fresh, creative way for our recent Kentucky Derby® Garden Party theme for 14 Hands Winery, so we made a bunch of red CREPE PAPER ROSES to use as party […]

  11. […] and hat inspired decor, I wanted to add a little “Southern Gentleman” flair to our Kentucky Derby Garden Party too, and bow-ties are a great way to accomplish that. Last year we made a bunch of miniature fabric […]

  12. Derby Day Inspiration: Are You Ready for the Races? - An Everyday Occasion April 29, 2014 at 4:36 am

    […] Ellen DeGeneres lives and breathes in the inspiration on the daily… Can you imagine having a gorgeous barn of your own? She is one lucky (and extremely funny) lady. You go girl! And for those of us who can only dream of having a barn someday, how about a beautiful rustic wood planter instead? (via NY Times and HWTM) […]

  13. Kentucky Derby Party Ideas Round Up April 30, 2014 at 10:33 am

    […] Southern Belle Wine Glasses via […]

  14. […] short days away! I really wanted to do something extra special to the wine glasses for our recent Kentucky Derby® Garden Party theme for 14 Hands, and came up with a fun idea for turning the bases of the glasses into (very […]

  15. Jennifer Castillo Carrasquillo May 17, 2014 at 12:38 am

    This is the MOST AMAZING find….Thank you so much!!! My daughter loves horses so much that I told her we should do her Sweet 16 Kentucky Derby theme. Even better, the first Ever Kentucky Derby started on May 17 which is her birthday. I know we still have 3 years to go……but so excited to plan.

  16. Monique Richmond September 17, 2014 at 12:00 am

    Beautiful job!

  17. Charlene Panzone March 13, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    Some very good ideas. xoxoxox

  18. mic March 14, 2015 at 7:36 am

    Will you have 2015 printables?

    • jenn s. March 14, 2015 at 1:45 pm

      Yes :) We’ll have a brand new collection next month, and are also planning to update these to 2015 as well (by the end of March). Stay tuned!

  19. Angie W. April 17, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    Any word on the 2015 printables? I am so excited to get ready for my party and use them! :-)

    • jenn s. April 17, 2015 at 2:15 pm

      Hi Angie – We’ve updated the dates for 2015 but haven’t had a spare moment to edit the post yet – it should be done be end of day Monday, and the new set will be live on Monday as well. Thanks for your patience! :)

  20. Plan the Perfect Kentucky Derby Party - A Style Portrayed April 23, 2015 at 9:41 am

    […]  This party by Hostess with the Mostess is by far my favorite! I loved how she used stripes, flowers and fun colors.  Every detail was […]

  21. […] Flower Petal Aisle by Stephanie Pool via Style Me Pretty  •  Bridesmaids Dresses by Clane Gessel via BRIDES  •  Floral Heels from Lulu’s  •  Wedding Favors via Martha Stewart  •  Groom’s Attire by via Love My Dress  •  Cake Topper via Better Off Wed  •  Cocktails via Martha Stewart  •  Tin Pail Flowers via Wedding Wire  •  Wedding Dress photo by Abby Jiu Photography via StyleMePretty  •  Dahlia Centerpiece via Borrowed and Blue •  Watermelon Bites via Hostess with the Mostess […]

  22. Bridgett Rose December 3, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    I absolutely love these! I am greatly inspired by them for my Derby event. Do you happen to know the font used for the word Kentucky?

    • jenn s. December 3, 2015 at 6:23 pm

      Thanks, Bridgett! The word Kentucky is actually hand drawn calligraphy stock art (purchased on Shutterstock) though… so it’s not a font. Sorry! I wish it was too – it’s beautiful handwriting. :)

  23. Ellen W May 15, 2016 at 7:44 am

    Doing a Southern Themed Golf Tournament this summer – any word on the printablables? I love the wine glass hats

  24. Lindsey Rollins May 25, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    I am looking to buy the digital papers that were used for this but can’t find them anywhere. Does anyone know where to find them?

    I also would like to make the little banner on the flower boxes but there is no download template for that either.

    Everything is so cute!

    • jenn s. May 28, 2016 at 7:27 am

      Hi Lindsey –
      By “digital papers” are you referring to the printables or the paper stock that we used to print them on? For the printables, you can download them all for free right here – I think you may already know that, but including just in case. :) For the mini banner, I didn’t create a template for that – the tiny banner panels were just free-hand cut from patterned paper (for the colorful flags) and sheet moss (for the green flags). If you’d still like an 8.5×11 sheet of the colorful paper, let me know and I’ll add it as a download. :)

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