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Eco-chic Kentucky Derby Wedding

Eco-chic Kentucky Derby Wedding
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Synopsis: The Kentucky Derby is right around the corner. If you are a fan of beautiful horses, icy mint juleps and slow southern drawls, the Kentucky Derby can be the perfect theme for your gracious and green wedding. Our eco-chic event expert will show you how to bring divine derby details to your big day.

Horse racing has long been called the sport of kings & the most famous horse race in America is the Kentucky Derby. Held the first weekend in May each year, this Louisville Kentucky race has developed a uniquely southern theme all its own over time. Mounds of roses, Kentucky traditions and everything equine are the epitome of this particular race.

Kentucky Derby Eco Wedding - Decor

Kentucky Derby details can be used to design a sustainable wedding that is sweet & southern as a mint julep. You can use traditional red & black colors or go with a lighter color scheme of pink & grass green for a softer, modern look.

Kentucky Derby Wedding Groom Attire

Sustainable Kentucky Derby Wedding – Southern Hospitality

Let’s talk southern attire, shall we? In order to bring a southern casual look to your gentlemen in the wedding party, have them wear lighter colors & fabrics. A grey linen suit or khakis with a dress shirt & bowtie and/or suspenders will scream southern gent.

For the ladies, consider local roses for the bouquet or go with an iconic southern alternative to a bouquet. A few possibilities are lace fans, big garden hats, vintage hankies or parasols. 

Kentucky Derby Wedding Beverage/Straw Display

When the guests are arriving, show that southern hospitality by offering them organic mint juleps with locally crafted bourbon in silver julep cups & lemonade in mason jars to quench their thirst. Use Ecopartytime’s striped paper straws as a eco-friendly & stylish accent to your Kentucky Derby drink table.

Kentucky Derby Wedding Flower Decor

Sustainable Kentucky Derby Wedding – The Horse, Of Course

Even if you can’t have a horse be your ring bearer, there are plenty of other ways to add equine flair to your sustainable derby wedding. You can incorporate horses, saddles & silver loving cups into your invitations, logo & decor. If you know of someone who is into horses & racing, you can usually borrow or rent items such as saddles, jockey colors, silver awards, old equestrian photos, and other such equine finery. Layered into your décor, these items will really reinforce your Kentucky Derby theme. 

Kentucky Derby Wedding Bride on Horse

You can also bring in that equine element by holding your wedding at a horse farm, barn, or rescued horse ranch that will have horses milling around in the background for wonderful photo opportunities & ambiance. If that isn’t a possibility, consider bridal photos or engagement photos with one or two horses to stage around the reception.

Horseshoes, award ribbons and silver trophies are other horse- related items you can use when designing and decorating your derby wedding. Traditionally horseshoes are hung upside down to keep the luck from pouring out. Hang them by ribbons up and down your aisle, scatter them on the sign-in and cake tables, and if you know a good welder like Aspen Ironworks, www.aspenironworks.com, have them craft recycled horseshoes into a wedding bench which you can later use in your garden or home. 

Kentucky Derby Wedding Theme Vintage Photo Display

Eco-Chic Kentucky Derby Wedding – Divine Derby Details

Of course, no Kentucky Derby wedding would be without the traditional call to post. You can use this as a light hearted way to announce dinner is served or even as a groom processional. This traditional trumpet piece is usually played before each horse race & is a recognizable piece guaranteed to bring a smile to your guests’ faces. 

Kentucky Derby Wedding Trumpet Player

As another nod to the Kentucky Derby’s long standing traditions, you could craft your ceremony site to look like the winner’s circle. Traditionally, red roses are arranged in the shape of a horseshoe with a small stage in the middle just outside the horseshoe. To make it green, use locally grown roses.

Bourbon and Kentucky horse racing are uniquely blended. As an homage to Kentucky bourbon crafters like Evan Williams, Makers Mark, Four Roses & Jim Beam, have a whiskey tasting area in your reception for those who want to get into the spirit (bad pun, I know. LOL) Decorate it with wooden whiskey barrels, roses and statues or pictures of former derby winners to add equine elegance to the area. 

Kentucky Derby Wedding Bourbon Barrels

As you get ready for the big day, don’t forget to share your thoughts and ideas for your own eco-chic julep of a wedding. Please post pictures of your sustainable Kentucky Derby Wedding with the hashtag #Ecopartytime so we can share in your big day! This is Melissa Wagner-Gens, Chief Chica Verde of Emerald Events & Weddings & your Ecopartytime Green Event Expert, hoping your derby wedding day is one that’s “Divinely Derby”!!

Photo Credits: True Photography, The Kentucky Derby Museum, Justin Demutiis Photography, Katelyn James Photography, Brooke Courtney Photography

About the Author:

Melissa Wagner-Gens is Ecopartytime's Green Resident Expert. She is also a Green Event Educator, certified event planner & owner of Emerald Events and Weddings.

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