We all know last year was a wreck. Everything was cancelled and rescheduled. And the Kentucky Derby was no exception. Usually held on the first Saturday in May, the Derby had to be rescheduled due to the pandemic in 2020. And they rescheduled it for Labor Day weekend, which fell directly on Josh’s 30th birthday. Of course, I am a sucker for a theme, and this was the perfect opportunity to through the biggest Derby-themed party in celebration of my boo. So honestly, the rescheduled-date couldn’t have been more convenient! (Seemed to be the only convenient thing in 2020 😉)
Josh’s Derby Thirty
I say this always when it comes to parties- it is all about the details! I love added little touches of the theme that fit perfectly. And I love adding play on words too- like the “Derby Thirty,” and the “Ridin’ Dirty.” I had custom drinkware and koozies made off Etsy with the logo I designed that immulated the Kentucky Derby logo, but customized with everything JB.
The signature drinks were a hit! I tied in Josh’s favorite vodka, Tito’s, with the Kentucky Derby, the Oaks Lilly, for a fruity option. And for a bourbon option, I created a Lemonade-lavendor drink that everyone obsessed over!
You can find the recipes for each below:
- 1 part vodka
- 1 part sweet & sour
- 1/4 part triple sec
- 3 parts cranberry juice
- 3 parts Lemonade
- 1 part St Luke Lavender Whiskey
- 1 part Sprite
- 1/4 part simple syrup
I also made themed jello shots that looked like mini mint juleps and oaks lilys. Recipes below:
Mint Lemon Jell-O shots
- 2 packets of gelatin
- 1 cup of lemonade
- 1 cup of vodka
- Mint leave garnish
Lily Jell-O shot
- 1 packet of raspberry jello
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 TBSP lime juice
- 2 TBSP cranberry juice
- 1/2 cup vodka
- 1/4 cup triple sec
- Lemon and blackberry for garnish
The decor throughout was a classy take on the southern holiday. I spray-painted horse shoes and mini horse statues gold and placed them in the roses in mint julep cups. I added trophies and ribbons and turf-like mediums on backdrops and as table runners. In honor of the Run for the Roses, I added red bouquets throughout.
Even though the heat got the best of my balloon garland, I was so excited to make this one. Made in navy, white, and grey balloons, I added mylar horses and paper roses for that extra POP of Derby-theme!
Instead of a cake, I opted for a Kentucky classic: multi-levels of Derby pie surrounded by an array of cupcakes decorated as roses. Kroger did such an amazing job at making this vision come to life! I added a custom cake topper to the center-most pie, which I ordered from Etsy. And the most perfect cookies by Kelsey at Sweet T’s. They were the perfect custom touch to the dessert table.
Aside from the drinking, to keep guest entertained, we had one of our closest friends set up a “bidding window” where everyone could place bets on the horses that were running for the big day. That was so much fun and kept everyone excited!
And it wouldn’t be a Burris party without a photo backdrop! I love the traditional boxwood green that went perfectly with the horse-racing theme. I had a large print out of his birthday logo printed and glued it to a hoola-hoop I spray painted gold- which made for a PERFECT frame that was cost-effective and light-weight for mounting to the backdrop.
For my look, I wore a blush ruffle dress from Selfie Leslie. It matched perfectly with the custom fascinator hand crafted by the lovely Nicole at Finchy Baby Hats. Be sure to give her a follow on Instagram and hit her up for all your Derby-headwear needs. Not only does she have a wide variety of gorgeous fascinators already made, but she can hand-craft a custom order based on your planned outfit and match the colors perfectly!
I wanted JB to be comfortable, yet dapper. A simple gingham button up and his favorite pair of dress pants matched perfectly with his themed tie and socks from Back Down South.