May 3, 2018 • PARTIES
How to Throw the Ultimate (And Most Instagrammable) Derby Party with Color by K
The countdown to the Kentucky Derby is on.
Our prettiest dresses are hanging in our closets; our festive hats are purchased; and our bets are (nearly) placed.
And even if you’re not making your way to Churchill Downs for the big race this season, you’ll want to make sure you’re celebrating just as much wherever you are. May we suggest throwing a Kentucky Derby party at home?
To help inspire you on your own Derby party endeavors, our Charleston friend Kristin Chambless of Color by K and her pal Laura Boyd of Strawberry Banke put together the Derby party to end all Derby parties. Complete with the brand new Draper James x Crate & Barrel collection and a touch of Woodford Reserve’s finest (be sure to get the Woodford Reserve Mint Julep recipe here), this one is sure to go down in history.
Hear from Kristin and grab her three key tips on throwing the ultimate (and certainly most Instagrammable) Derby party below.
What was your inspiration behind this Derby party shoot?
I wanted to do Derby in a different way then most tablescapes I’ve seen in the past. Something a little more updated and modern, yet attainable for any hostess. I especially wanted to play up the Draper James x Crate & Barrel collection! Incorporating lots of blue, white, and green was the goal.
I kept the florals simple (hydrangeas are a great way to fill a table without being too costly) with a few white roses here and there. Because what’s a Derby “Run for the Roses” party without actual roses?!
I also teamed up with Laura Boyd of Strawberry Banke to put together a Southern-inspired menu that incorporated lots of color and fresh garnishes that would play well with Draper James colors. (Keep following the Love, Reese blog to get these recipes!)
She had a great idea to include large amounts of mint, not only as garnishes but also as arrangements in julep cups sprinkled around the table! I think it all came together quite lovely.
Tell us about the menu you chose.
For this Derby party, we wanted to keep things simple so we could enjoy a julep or two and still catch the races! We kept it classic with nods to the races and age-old Kentucky traditions (think classic Benedictine and Pimento cheese sandwiches) but kept everything bite-sized to elevate the party a bit.
For the menu, Laura put a few twists on Southern classics with fun presentation, sticking to tried and true recipes and simple, nostalgic flavors. Adding a few fresh salads added color to the table, and lightened up the heavier comfort food for the perfect early May celebration!
Deviled Eggs with Pimento Cheese and Chive
Watermelon, Tomato & Feta Salad with Basil and Mint
Callie’s Ham Cocktail Biscuits with Assorted Mustards and Chutneys
Spring Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
3-Layer Pimento Cheese Triangles
Lemon Tart with Fresh Berries
Bourbon Spiced Pecans
Callie’s Cheese Crisps
Describe this party in one word.
What drew you to the Draper James Summer Floral Love Circle Dress?
I’ve always been a fit and flare kind of gal; it’s a style that always makes me feel comfortable and confident. Knowing how to dress your body type is so important when selecting clothing—when you find something you love, stick with it!
The print on this particular dress really sold me though. I love anything with a floral print, and I like how this print paired so well with the new Crate & Barrel items.
Tell us how you both chose to style the dresses.
Laura and I both kept our styling simple and classic: nudes heels and pearl studs. We really wanted to let the dresses shine on their own.
What are your 3 tips for throwing the perfect Derby party?
1. Keep it simple.
Even if you’re the hostess, you also want to be present with your guests. Keep your food simple by incorporating options you can make ahead or are even pre-made from a local grocery or bakery (we’ve incorporated Charleston’s famous Callie’s Biscuits).
That will simplify your day-of prep and allow you to enjoy the festivities yourself!
2. Focus on fresh.
Everything from fresh, flavorful food to fresh blooms and herbs for garnishes. Having those fresh elements will make the entire party feel more lively and allow your food to really pop off the table with little additional effort.
3. Dress on theme.
The hostess sets the tone for the entire party. Make sure you’re dressed appropriately for your Derby theme. Think sundresses, neutral heels, and maybe even a hat or fascinator to top it all off.
What was your favorite Crate & Barrel piece, and why?
The Stripe Platter! Love the size and shape—you can surprisingly fit quite a bit on it, as we’ve placed an entire salad and order of biscuits here.
It’s also super versatile for festivities throughout the year. I can’t wait to re-use it not only for summer parties, but also holiday-focused parties like the Fourth of July and Labor Day.
Keep scrolling to get more Derby-party inspiration from Kristin and Laura, and stay tuned for more recipe posts from the dynamic duo.
Biscuits c/o Callie’s Charleston Biscuits
Bourbon c/o Woodford Reserve