We hosted our daughter’s 2nd birthday party this past weekend, and Ivy adores horses, so we decided to throw her a Horse-Race Themed ‘Off “2” the Races’ party with lots of Derby touches from the menu to the decor!
If you’re a new reader here at Pizzazzerie, first of all, welcome! We have lots of fun here! You’ll quickly learn that throwing parties is my love language. I adore the charming little details that make kid’s parties extra special. Ivy’s horse-race themed birthday party might just be a new favorite.
Let’s dive right in! I love how everything turned out for Ivy’s party, so I’ve tried to share all the details and pictures below in case you want to check it out or even host your own “off 2 the races” party!
Off “2” The Races 2nd Birthday Party
Horse Race Themed Birthday Invitation
I customized this invitation from PrettyPlainPaper on Etsy and added in these adorable hat envelope liners too. I tied on the extra little insert card and added a note about dressing up for the derby theme!
Horse Tablecloth Details
The main dining room table was for all the food, mint juleps and lots of horse-race themed decorations. I always like to start any tablescape with the base or tablecloth. I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted and had the perfect vision of a grandmillennial blue and white horse print.
So I headed over to Spoonflower and had this blue horse print fabric customized to the perfect soft shade of blue by the designer. We sewed it into a tablecloth (but handy tip, Spoonflower does provide their fabrics in tablecloths also, it just takes a bit more shipping time).
It turned out fabulous, and I love it so much that I know I’ll be reusing it for Derby get-togethers for years to come.
I wanted to add some horse race ribbons to the front to pin the fabric up. I love the charm it added to the table. I have details on how I made these award ribbons below in the section about the children’s table.
Derby Table Decorations
I used my mother’s large silver tray as a base on the table to hold an antique silver trophy that I used as a vase for the occasion. I wanted lots of pastel pink, blue and white flowers. All the flowers came from Trader Joe’s and Fresh Market with a few from our local wholesale florist, Import Flowers, here in Nashville.
I always include this detail in my party posts, but my mom taught me this trick and I love it. If you have a garden, head outside and clip greenery sprigs to tuck down in your arrangements. I used lots of my variegated ivy as a sweet nod to my girl. Any touch of greenery really makes a grocery store arrangement a lot more custom-feeling and charming.
I have a small collection of miniature silver loving cup trophies that I pulled out for the table to fill with extra florals and mint for guests to use for their mint juleps.
Small silver oval frames of Ivy were the perfect addition to the silver tray. Framed pictures at birthday parties (or used as place cards at place settings) is one of my favorite touches to a tablescape.
The decorative horse statue is one I’ve had for many years, it’s an antique I actually picked up for the Derby tablescape in my 4th book, Entertain in Style. We also added in a few sweet stuffed animal horses that Ivy loves.
The stick horses made the perfect party favor for the children! Ivy is still playing with hers. I bought them SEWnSoHandmade on Etsy! She was lovely to work with and customized the colors exactly how I wanted them to match the pink and blue color scheme. I bought the heads only, then we stuffed them and added the wooden dowels (from Home Depot).
My childhood wooden rocking horse made an appearance too with a little floral addition!
Derby Kids Party Menu
I wanted to keep the menu authentic to Kentucky Derby themed party foods. Here’s what I served on the main table!
- Mini Derby Pies (the mini pecan pie recipe from my book with chocolate chips added)
- Kentucky Hot Brown Bites (recipe in my book also)
- Mini Ham Biscuits
- Decorative Derby Sugar Cookies (customized by Marta)
- Cheese Straws
- Junior Juleps (Mint Julep Punch – served without the bourbon, which was available for adults)
Off 2 the Races Cake
My sweet friend Lizzie from Copper Whisk Cakes made the adorable Derby Themed Cake for Ivy. She has made all the birthday cakes for my girls, and completely nails it every single time!
Children’s Derby Party Table
I wanted to have a special table for the kids with lots of Derby and horse-race themed decorations. I LOVE how this sweet table came together.
For the sweet horse award ribbons, I cut cardstock into small squares (it took 8 4″x4″ squares) then accordion-folded them and glued together to make a large, round circle. I glued on a round circle of pink or blue paper. I topped each with a sweet photo of my Ivy or a big white ‘2’!
At the bottom, I added in streamers in various pink and blue prints. I love how these turned out. We tied them on to each chair.
Horse Fence Trays
For each place setting, I created a little horse fence tray to hold the plate, napkin, and goodies. To make these, I bought 8″x10″ white canvases like you see in any art/paint aisle. Then we hot glued on mini fairy fence to the edges. This was such an easy DIY project!
In each tray, I also added in a little horse cup for their junior juleps. I got the horse cups from Oriental Trading and swapped out the straws for pink striped straws.
The kids loved our outdoor activity, horse rides on a sweet little pony! The rain cleared (it was pouring rain a few hours before the party), and I was so thankful the sun came out!
We had the BEST time celebrating our Ivy, horse-race themed!
If you have any questions about her Off two the races party, leave a comment below! Many of you have already told me you have little ones turning 2 around the Kentucky Derby. This would make a darling theme!