Friday, August 22, 2014

Kentucky Derby Themed Bridal Shower

I know I am way late posting about this, considering my bridal shower was way back on April 26. Oh well. Better late than never, right? What I wanted to share with you all today is the incredible Kentucky Derby themed bridal shower my sister, my bridesmaids and my mother put together for me.

Why Kentucky Derby themed?

I'll start with some background. As you probably know by now, I ride horses. Way back when the hubs and I got engaged, I came up with the idea to have my bachelorette party at the actual Kentucky Derby! It has always been a dream of mine to go, still is, and here's why.

Because I was late to the whole getting married party, most of my good friends are already married and already have kids. Four of those friends had babies just a few months before we would have gone to the Derby. There was no way I could ask my friends to take the time away from their new babies/kids and pay all that money to travel to Louisville for a weekend.

So to make it easier for everyone, we decided to keep it local (or as close to local as you can with friends spread all around the mid-Atlantic) and went to the Virginia Gold Cup Races on the first Saturday in May instead of the Derby.

My sister decided to stick with the Derby theme for my shower, which was the week before the actual race. She kept the theme a surprise from me, which I thought was so sweet! I knew the shower was taking place when it did since I had to travel home to Jersey for it.

The Kentucky Derby themed invite my sister  had made for my bridal shower from Darby Cards on Etsy

Some of the Derby themed touches

My sister painstakingly glued moss onto horse moldings to create the most precious horse topiaries for the table centerpieces and as accents around the room. I know how ridiculously difficult and messy that is as I tried to make one eons ago, let alone make a dozen or so! They came out beautiful though and I still have one displayed in my living room.

Moss topiary horses as centerpieces and accents

My mom had an incredible-looking and quite delicious derby themed horse cake custom made for my special day. There were even little "mint julep" dessert cups to go along with it. Mint juleps are the official drink of the Kentucky Derby (see recipe below)

A derby themed cake and mint julep dessert cups filled the dessert table.

Throughout the room my mom and sister used old pictures of me riding, some of my old ponies nameplates from off of their stalls, old trophies of mine and even my horsey themed license plate from my first Jeep!

Everyone learned a little Kentucky Derby history to show-off at their Derby parties the following week thanks to some horsey-themed games that my bridesmaids thought up.  

One of the coolest aspects of the day, was that my sister requested on the invitations that everyone wear their favorite derby hat. As I am sure you know, fancy hats have become quite the Kentucky Derby staple. I thought it was such a great idea to get all the guests in on the Derby excitement as they planned their outfits for the day.

My sister even had special hats made for the bridal party and me with our monograms. Mine had my soon-to-be new initials! We all ended up wearing our hats the next weekend at the Virginia Gold Cup.

Photos of some of the guests and their Derby hats!
As a parting gift, each guest received their own pot of a mint plant. Attached to the pot was a recipe for creating your own mint julep at home! So clever!

My sister with the mint plants she potted up and cared for before the party.
Here is a little mint julep recipe from the Kentucky Derby itself for your next Kentucky Derby soiree.

Mint Julep Recipe

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • Sprigs of fresh mint
  • Crushed ice
  • Kentucky bourbon
  • Silver Julep Cups
Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of bourbon. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

Hope you enjoy! Cheers!

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