Kentucky Derby Themed Wedding Inspiration

We are so excited to begin our Southern Bride & Groom styled shoot spotlight series, in which we share some of our favorite photos – many that did not make it into our printed edition. We are kicking off this annual series with the exquisite shoot that graces our Winter-Spring Cover for SB&G 2015, our Kentucky Derby Themed Wedding, set in a gorgeous pastoral setting in NC.

The Kentucky Derby brings to mind traditional elegance: men clad in dapper suits, ladies donning decorative hats, and of course, lots of red roses! Wedding planner and designer Chelsey Morrison of Gather Together had a vision of blending that classic upscale look of Derby Day, with the rustic wedding look that is so popular with NC brides. We chose Portofino, an equestrian center, and wedding and reception venue in Clayton, NC, with its massive oaks and rolling fenced pastures, and state-of-the-art Ali 2 Stable, as the setting for our Derby wedding soiree. The stunning photographs are all by Rachel Red Photography (you might recognize one from our current cover!).


Kentucky Derby Themed Wedding Fashion – Hats and All

Of course, one of the first things that come to mind in association with Derby Day is fabulous hats and Southern swagger! Our bride wore Modern Trousseau, from Tre Bella Bridal, a couture bridal salon in downtown Durham. The Jenny Yoo bridesmaid gown also came from Tre Bella Bridal. Our groom was clad in a Michael Kors suit from Belk at Crabtree. Charlotte-based headpiece designer Lore Emelio brought some of her Derby-inspired pieces to top it all off.

The ladies’ looks were complemented with fine jewelry from Diamonds Direct Crabtree Raleigh– they even provided a horseshoe necklace to match our theme – and exquisite hair and makeup by Makeup for Your Day, a Raleigh and Wilmington-based studio that specializes in coming to the bride and her wedding party.

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Kentucky Derby Themed Wedding Invitations

Off on the Right “Hoof” – The theme of every wedding starts with the invitation! Our “Run for the Roses” traditional wedding featured gorgeous red blooms appearing in the letterpress stationery suite, custom-printed by Union Press & Paper, Durham-based wedding stationer.


Kentucky Derby Themed Wedding Catering

The center of any reception is of course the reception! Our team created a most elegant table display for our upscale Derby wedding soiree. A mirrored seating chart with calligraphy hand-paint by Marika Wendelken leads guests to the Grandstand table and other premier Derby-themed seating areas. Tre Bella Flowers designed table arrangements that mixed in pops of bright fuchsia with the classic rich red, to give the lush flowers texture and depth. An elegant tabletop look was designed with the gorgeous products from Party Reflections Raleigh.

Delightful appetizers from Donovan’s Dish such as Millionaire Skewers of NC shrimp with hearts of palm, rose-shaped minted radish tarts and Longshot ham and deviled eggs are served on specialty Beatriz Ball equestrian trays, available at Bailey’s Fine Jewelry.

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Run For the Roses with a Kentucky Derby Horse, Clad in Roses

What is a Derby-inspired wedding without a photo-opp with a horse? Our sweet mare was a grand winner on this Derby Day! And she was very sweet and cooperative as a model for our garland of roses created by Tre Bella Flowers.

Horse-Rose-Garlandbride-groom-with-horseDerby-Wedding-HorsePortofino-NC-Weddingbride portrait - petting horseWedding Day Celebratory Indulgences

After dinner our Derby-themed wedding celebration includes Mint Juleps for the ladies, and a cigar bar for the gents. Our display is set atop bourbon barrels from Party Reflections, amid Portofino’s picturesque horse pastures. Hand-painted mirror signage is by Marika Wendelken.


Kentucky Derby wedding Cake

The incredible horse stable at Portofino was the picture-perfect place to stage our cake, a hand-painted equestrian themed creation by one of Raleigh’s longest-standing bakeries, Edible Art (they just moved to North Hills!). We couldn’t resist a sweet photo-opp for the newly-weds with horseshoes!

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A Classy Farewell – Southern Wedding Exit

A classic wedding deserves a classic sendoff. What better match for a Rose themed affair than a ride into the sunset as newlyweds in a vintage red Rolls Royce? This particular beauty is from Classy Transportation, and is available for weddings.

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STYLIST Gather Together  |  VENUE Portofino  |  PARTY RENTALS & BARRELS Party Reflections  |  FLOWERS & CONTAINERS Tre Bella Flowers |  MEN’S ATIRE Belk  |  BRIDE & BRIDESMAID GOWNS Tre Bella Bridal  |  JEWELRY Diamonds Direct Crabtree  |  CUSTOM HEADPIECES Lore Emelio  |  HAIR & MAKEUP Makeup for Your Day  |  INVITATIONS & PAPERS Union Press & Paper  |  CATERING Donovan’s Dish  |  HAND-PAINTED CAKE Edible Art Bakery  |  EQUESTRIAN TRAYS Beatriz Ball available at Bailey’s Fine Jewelry  |  CALLIGRAPHY ON MIRRORS Marika Wendelken  |  PHOTOGRAPHER Rachel Red Photography  |  VINTAGE ROLLS ROYCE Classy Transportation

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