Derby Differently This Year

Photo: Joe Lyman

Spectators will be absent from this year’s Kentucky Derby on Saturday, September 5, but the celebrations will no doubt continue. Embrace the unconventionality of 2020 and stage your own Derby party. G.H. Mumm Champagne, the long-standing preferred champagne of horse racing’s greatest and grandest event, has teamed up with entertaining expert Seri Kertzner of Little Miss Party to provide an ultimate guide on how to ‘Derby Differently.’ From food, to home decor, friendly wagers, and more, Seri's tips and takes will get your Covid-safe party started. 


There are tons of Derby decorations available in stores, but Seri loves to repurpose items from home wherever she can. “I plan to create a winning centerpiece for my brunch tablescape by arranging red roses in a trophy style vase, which you can probably dig up somewhere in the garage. We also have some toy horse figurines my children no longer play with, so after a coat of black & metallic spray paint they’ll make the perfect custom place cards or decorative accents.” 

Photo: Gastronomista


The race takes place at 3:00pm ET, so Seri suggests having guests come over early for pre-race brunch. “I always set out some bowls of chips and nuts for snacking. I’m making a Kentucky Hot Brown dip, served in a cast iron skillet, but for brunch I’ll keep things simple. I love to get a variety of bagels, spreads & toppings, which I’ll display on a large board. My favorite brunch trick is to pre-cut bagels and stack them on my paper towel holder. Add some fresh fruit and you’re done!” To satisfy your sweet tooth without spending time in the kitchen, Seri suggests purchasing dessert. “This year I'm ordering a Bourbon Pecan Pie shipped straight from Kentucky!” 


The Kentucky Derby is known as the most exciting two minutes in sports. So, what do you do to entertain your guests before and after the race? Seri says “Throw on an upbeat themed playlist and place your bets!” Use purchased or DIY printable slips to make friendly wagers. “You can keep it simple and have everyone pick a horse out of a hat. A bottle of G.H. Mumm Champagne makes the perfect prize for the winner!” Hold a best dressed contest to celebrate the most stylish and unconventional Derby duds. “You can purchase or DIY a fun backdrop and props, set out an instant camera and let guests strike a pose.” 

Seri Kertzner sets the party stage. Photo: Seri Kertzner


The most important part of any celebration? “Champagne!” Seri stocks up before race day on G.H. Mumm Grand Cordon AKA the official preferred champagne of the Derby. “Be sure to chill your bubby for several hours before enjoying and set out some fun glassware before guests arrive.” Seri recommends the G.H. Mumm Cloupe - a hybrid between a flute and coupe glass and the perfect vessel from which to sip champagne. Celebrate the win by toasting to each other and the 2020 Kentucky Derby winner!” 

Photo: Seri Kertzner


2020 has shown us how to break with tradition and embrace personal style. Seri suggests you do the same when it comes to your wardrobe. Shop your own closet and craft a look outside of the Derby norm to fit your personal style. “The Derby is such a fun excuse to get dressed up, but let’s be honest, nobody is putting on a seersucker suit and a giant hat for a viewing party at home.” Instead, she suggests flipping the traditional on its head. “Swap flouncy florals and pastels for solid colors and sleek silhouettes. Ditch the traditional Derby hats for chic statement headbands and DIY flower crowns. Trade stuffy bow ties for festive socks, pocket squares and boutonnieres.” 

Fran Endicott Miller

Fran Endicott Miller is a luxury focused freelance feature writer for a variety of lifestyle publications and websites, editor-at-large for, and a California editor for luxury travel concierge service Essentialist. Prior to her journalism career she held positions in the fields of politics, television, and professional sports, and is proud to have established the Golden State Warriors...(Read More)

Around the web