Off to the Races: Kentucky Derby-Inspired Wedding Decor

From: Spring/Summer 2017 edition

“My clients are often looking for a classic wedding with a few fun twists,” says Jennifer Reyes, coordinator and owner of AWE Productions, based in Portland. Pulling together a wedding tableau inspired by the French leather goods house Hermès as well as the fanciful spirit found at the Kentucky Derby, Reyes combined Hermès’ signature orange hue with leather accents and equestrian motifs for a championship look.

1. Derby Style (above)

“Giving guests more direction in attire is a fun way to get your guests to dress up without feeling like they need a tux or an evening gown,” says Reyes, who added a cheeky dress code to the invitation suite designed by Crave Design. $15 each, includes folding enclosure invitation (with leather mounting and wrap closure), RSVP card and envelope, directions insert and outer envelope.

2. Terrific Topper

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Fanciful hats, fascinators and headpieces for men and women have been a part of the spectacle of the Kentucky Derby since its start in 1875 in Louisville, Kentucky, as well as at Portland Meadows’ annual Derby celebration in North Portland. Bliss Bake Shoppe in Beaverton dreamed up this fanciful—and delicious—confection that tips its hat to the horse racing culture. Vanilla cake with whipped buttercream filling and fondant icing. $90, serves 15–24 guests. Charger and fork from Barclay Event Rentals.

3. Perennial Favorites

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Decorating the corner of SW Jefferson and Broadway in downtown Portland with its colorful creations, Gifford’s Flowers has been family-owned for four generations. In keeping with the heritage theme, its bridal bouquet and matching boutonnière include perennial favorites such as garden roses and orange dahlias as well as unexpected geranium and magnolia greenery. Prices start at $165. Boutonnières, $15.

4. Derby Drink

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Reyes created a custom punch that features Portland’s Bull Run Distilling Co. bourbon, grapefruit juice, bitters, simple syrup, club soda, blood orange and mint garnishes, and is decorated with ice cubes by PDX Ice emblazoned with the happy couple’s initials. 2-inch logo ice cubes, $1 each, minimum order 50. Punch bowl and cups from Vintage Mingle.

5. Rose Parade

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Including vintage dishes in a place setting is the perfect way to add charm to a banquet table. A modern graphic touch—in this case, a gold charger—balances the more traditional rose-decorated plate. Gold charger, ivory and gold dinner plate, vintage salad plate, napkin and flatware all from Barclay Event Rentals.

6. Name That Seat

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How adorable is this name tag, with its tiny horse and handmade card? Card by Crave Design, price upon request when ordering an invitation suite. Hand-painted horse figurine by AWE Productions, price upon request as a part of a coordinating package.