Celebrating the Kentucky Derby Tahoe Style

Even in the Sierra Nevada, you can have a wedding design inspired by the Kentucky Derby.  After all, what’s not to love about this steed race that is steeped in history and southern charm?

In 1904, the red rose became the official flower of the Kentucky Derby, and over 400 roses make up the winner’s garland every year.  The groom and his party can make a run for the roses and pick the winning red blooms for their boutonnieres! Flaunt your Derby style with bow-ties for gentlemen and complement their attire with fascinators for the sporting ladies.

Kentucky Derby themed weddingPhoto:  Rachel Red Photography 

If horsing around in style, and dressed to the nines is your thing, you’ll love Vineyard Vines.  They have been the Official Style of the Kentucky Derby for 8 straight years now.  Every wedding party should feel this great, with their darling colorful neckties to blazers, pants and more.

Kentucky Derby tiesPhoto courtesy of Vineyard Vines

No Derby-themed wedding is complete without the race’s signature cocktail, the bourbon-based mint julep, classically served with crushed ice in a silver cup with a beaded rim. Here’s how to make the classic mint julep cocktail worthy of a Triple Crown victory:

  1. Place the mint and ½ oz. simple syrup into a julep cup
  2. Stir well to dissolve the simple syrup and to release the oil and aroma of the mint.
  3. Add 2 oz. of bourbon. FYI, Woodford Reserve is the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby.
  4. Fill with crushed ice and stir well until the glass becomes frosty.
  5. Garnish with the mint sprig.

Photo:  Red Bridge Photography

To accompany the beverages, consider some down-home Southern victuals.  For hors d’oeuvres, serve Baby Hot Browns, Shrimp with Smoked Grits and Pimento Cheese deviled Eggs.  For the entrée serve Kentucky Country Ham, than top off dinner with Mini Chocolate Pecan Cakes and Bourbon Peach Pie Pops.

Photo:  Rachel Red Photography 

To entertain guests while they’re dining, cue up a Bluegrass band to add to the southern ambience.


Finally, if you’re looking for a Derby-inspired venue, there’s no better place than the Equestrian Center at Tahoe Donner.  How about making a grand entrance to your ceremony on horseback?  And don’t forget the red roses for your horse – they will bring out the Southern Belle in you.

Photo:  Cassie Schott Photography