Pony Up

   The Kentucky Derby is one of America’s poshest sporting events. So, naturally, it is a wonderful opportunity for a fabulous party. Local event designer and horse enthusiast Sheila Motley, of Sheila Camp Motley Event Design and Management in Wellington, provides her tips for hosting a Kentucky Derby party.

PBI.com: What design elements fit within an equestrian aesthetic?

Motley: Traditionally, leathers, plaids and wools are used throughout the barn setting. For a Kentucky Derby-themed party, you would certainly use satin and silks as those worn by the jockeys—as well as lots of red roses. The Derby is, after all, considered the run for the roses.

What are some fun ways to incorporate equestrianism in a party?

I love to use lots of leather chairs and tack trunks for side tables and other tabletop needs. Horse bits can make great napkin rings, and riding boots are useful floral containers.

What is appropriate attire for a Kentucky Derby party?

For the ladies, hats! The larger and more creative, the better. For gentlemen, a blazer and a tie.

Any suggestions for floral displays or accents?
Lots and lots of red roses! A garland of red roses would be wonderful down a long luncheon table.

What are your menu suggestions?

Kentucky is known for so many great local foods—burgoo and Hot Browns are always favorites. A sweet ending to the luncheon: Derby Pie.

What about suggestions for entertainment?

Taking guests’ bets early on in the party works well to get the group involved and anticipating the race action. Let your guests prepare to cheer for the fastest two minutes in sports.

What about party favors?

I would greet guests with an early favor: their very own monogrammed julep cup for a mint julep before the race.

Motley crafted this Equestrian-inspired tabletop, featuring Hermès Balcon du Gaudalquiver china and a blend of NYC Brownstone and Burlap linens, at the Todd Minkus Stables in Wellington. Photo by Rose E. Martin


   Speaking of mint juleps, bartender Glenn Carson of Testa’s Restaurant in Palm Beach has a great suggestion for a Palm Beach twist on the classic cocktail: garnish it with a dollar-bill rose! Here’s how:

1. Form the bud of the rose by folding one dollar bill in half and then curling the top corners of the bill. Curl one edge inward and another outward.

2. Form the petals by folding one bill in half on an angle so that it forms a ‘V’. Then curl all the edges inward. Repeat with three more bills, for a total of four.

3. Join the bud to the stem by slipping a six- to eight-inch piece of floral wire through the fold of the bud dollar bill, then bend the wire so the bill is held snugly in the middle. Twist the wire ends to form one piece and then twist the flower of the bud.

4. Use the same technique on each individual petal, using a separate piece of floral wire for each petal. However, do not twist the petal dollar bills. Instead, reshape using your finger to cup it like a petal.

5. Assemble the rose by holding the bud in one hand and arranging the petals around the bud. Then, twist all floral wires together to form one stem.


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