When Mandy’s college friends set the date of her bridal shower for the same weekend as the Kentucky Derby, they knew that this long-cherished horse race, with its unsurpassed excitement and Southern charm, would make the perfect theme for the spring celebration. Each lady arrived at the backyard party in her Sunday best, heels on her feet and a big hat — a staple of the Kentucky Derby — on her head. Its sleek color scheme an ode to the bride’s Alma Mater, The University of Georgia, the soiree’s decor was beyond lovely. Bright red roses and carnations spilled from shiny silver vases, silhouettes of horses, horseshoes, and Derby quotes scattered about the celebration on chalkboards and in picture frames. Little lace doilies labeled the refreshments at the drink table, which included sweet tea, lemon water, and — of course! — mint juleps. Exquisite vintage furniture was set up in the yard, exuding an aura of timeless elegance and femininity as the ladies talked, laughed, and celebrated the glowing bride-to-be! This winning affair was captured by Kelley Raye Photography!
Please give us an overview of the event.
After planning 8 wedding showers in the last 3 years, this group of college friends decided a Kentucky Derby shower was something fun and new that they hadn’t experienced. The Kentucky Derby runs the first weekend in May each year. The timing was right, the weather cooperated and by the time guests arrived…The Kentucky Derby had come to the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia!
Decor, especially furniture. You can take any event to the next level when you think about the whole picture, big details and small ones.
What were your playful twists that made the event unique?
One of the hosts has roots in Kentucky and had dozens of vintage collectable Derby glasses dating back to the 1970’s. Custom DIY signs were made saying fun phrases like, “Talk Derby to Me” and “Mint to Be.” Prized paper ribbons were made to show off the menu. Everything was pulled together by the vintage furniture, decor and details.
What was the most memorable moment?
None of the ladies had ever had a Mint Julep, so trying something new was such a special, and refreshing treat!
Tell us about the food and desserts.
No Kentucky Derby party is complete with an array of Southern foods. We had everything from cucumber and chicken salad sandwiches, to broccoli and hash-brown casseroles. No one left hungry. To top it all off, red rose chocolates and red rose cupcakes made the “Run for the Roses” event simply delicious.
What kind of energy did your entertainment give the event?
When you get 15 women around a back yard with food and drinks, you don’t need much entertainment other than a fun loving bride.
If there was one thing you could change, what would it be?
The weather. It was one of the hottest days of the year, so staying outside meant glistening under our large hats. (Southern women don’t sweat; we glisten.)