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You don’t need to care about horse racing to host an amazing Kentucky Derby party. Let me repeat that. You do NOT need to care about horse racing! Our annual Derby soiree is centered around a few key elements, but you’ll notice that the race itself comes in as 4th priority, and we still have a great time!

  1. Mint Juleps
  2. Fancy Duds
  3. Southern Dishes
  4. “The most exciting 2 minutes in sports”
  5. “Run for the Roses” themed decor

Mint Julep Recipe

For a proper mint julep, you’ll need only a few simple ingredients.

Ingredients

  • Fresh Mint (place 8-10 leaves in your palm and slap the mint to release it’s oils).
  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • ¼ oz Simple Syrup (or to taste) then stir
  • Fill your Julep cup with crushed ice
  • Garnish with a sprig of mint, and ENJOY!

Directions

  1. Place 8-10 Fresh Mint leaves in your palm and slap the mint to release it’s oils.
  2. Add 2 oz Bourbon.
  3. Add ¼ oz Simple Syrup (or to taste) then stir.
  4. Fill your Julep cup with crushed ice.
  5. Garnish with a sprig of mint, and ENJOY!

I realize that not everyone owns a set of silver/ pewter julep cups, but a collins glass or whatever you’ve got will work just fine. If you do have proper julep cups, the metal will frost up making this drink seem extra refreshing on a hot day.

Fancy Duds

This is your excuse to all dress up in big floppy hats, fascinators, sundresses, bow ties, colourful pants and ascots! Why not let guests cast their vote for Best Hat, Best Dressed Lady, Best Dressed Gent? If your group is really into it, you could even have prizes for Silliest Hat or Best Bow Tie as well.

Just in case your friends are unable to buy/ make their own hat, you could set out a few extra fascinators and sun hats for them to borrow. This taupe hat was a spur of the moment DIY project for me, when my shipment of fascinator making supplies ordered off Etsy did not arrive in time. It’s not perfect, but it did the trick in a pinch!

Southern Dishes

We recommend making some Southern dishes, here are a few that were real crowd pleasers with our guests!
– Hot Brown Sammies
– Pulled Pork
– Benedictine Spread

Derby Pie

Traditionally this one is a standard size pie, but since my guests would be mingling I made a mini tart size version they could grab as they go. Better for holding a Julep in the other hand!

Ingredients

  • 24 Tart shells (or home-made pie crust if you’re a rockstar!)
  • 1 ½ Cups chopped pecans
  • 24 pecans, halved for topping tarts
  • 1 Cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Cup dark corn syrup
  • ½ Cup granulated sugar
  • ½ Cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ¼ Cup bourbon
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¼ Cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tsp cornmeal
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Place your tart shells on a cookie sheet lined with tin foil to catch any messy drips.
  2. Sprinkle pecans and chocolate into the bottom of each shell.
  3. In a large sauce pan, combine corn syrup, white sugar, brown sugar, and bourbon. Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly for 3 minutes.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, vanilla, butter, cornmeal, and salt. Gradually add the corn syrup mixture, whisking constantly.
  5. Fill each tart shell a bit more than half full, then top with a pecan half.
  6. Bake at 325° for approximately 25 minutes watching for the filling to set and the crusts to become golden brown. Cool before serving.
  7. Tarts can be made in advance and frozen, then thawed in the fridge the morning of the party.
mini Derby Pie and Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookie

Salted “Derby Pie” Cookies

These elevated chocolate chip cookies made with bourbon were a delicious treat, so I’m sharing the recipe.

Ingredients

  • ¾ Cup cubed, unsalted butter
  • 1 ¼ Cup packed, light brown sugar
  • ¼ Cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 TBS good quality bourbon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ¼ Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • ¾ Cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 Cup dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat just until melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar. Whisk in the egg, bourbon, and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, powder, and salt. Then incorporate the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Fold in the pecans and chocolate chunks.
  4. Make dough balls about the size of 3 TBS worth and place them 2 inches apart on your baking sheet.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Sprinkle with additional salt, and enjoy!

Red Rose Cupcakes

Dubbed the “Run for the Roses”, the garland is made up of over 450 red roses. As a nod to those, I went with Red Velvet but feel free to sub in your own fave cake flavor.

The Race (AKA “Run for the Roses”)

They don’t call it “The most exciting 2 minutes in sports” for nothing. If you’re not that interested in horse racing don’t worry, you can still host a super fun Kentucky Derby party. We’ve had guests who were having such a great time they missed the actual race, and that’s ok!

Rose themed Kentucky Derby Party Decor

Alright, now I’ve seen plenty of beautiful colour pallets used for Derby parties such as pastels, or blue and white, or green and yellow. These are all so unique and I do love them… but the colours of Derby for me will always be red, black, and white with metallic accents.

Here is a fun horse shoe shaped wreath that I hung on my door to welcome guests and set the party mood as they arrived.

Planner's Signature

The colour trend guru’s at Pantone are predicting that the most popular colour of 2019 will be Living Coral.

Pantone Colour Trends

It’s said to have a playful energy, with warmth and it’s quite a mellow and cheerful hue.

“Just as coral reefs are a source of sustenance and shelter to sea life, vibrant yet mellow Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment.”

Although this tablescape photo doesn’t really reflect how subtle the blue was, it’s still an interesting example so I’m sharing it. I used coral and shades of tangerine and peach with cookies for place cards. Those were a fun detail!

Pantone Colour Peach Wedding
Pantone Colour 2019

It’s certainly a departure from 2018’s regal Ultra Violet Pantone Colour.  Check out how much fun we had playing with that dramatic and vibrant colour!

What are your thoughts?  We want to hear!  How would you use this colour in your own wedding?

Credits

Planning and Design: Birch & Bunny Weddings and Events
Venue: Hyatt, Calgary, Alberta
Tablescape Rentals: Modern Luxe Rentals
Tablescape Menu: Brinley Wilder Design
Tablescape Cookie Place Cards: Cake Bake Shoppe
Floral Photo: JM Photography
Florist: Flowers by Janie
Colour Trends Forecasting: Pantone

Planner's Signature


In the heart of Calgary’s East Village, overlooking the Bow River is the century old Simmons Building that is home to Charbar.  We knew this 102 year old building with its exposed brick, wooden beams would be the perfect location for this styled inspiration shoot.  I chose a love poem by E.E. Cummings because it evokes the really romantic feeling that I was going for with my design for the shoot.


For a more bohemian bridal look I selected this crop by Theia with delicate scalloped eyelash lace and long sleeves. Pearl & Dot Bridal Boutique and we decided to pair that with a flowy bridal skirt by Kathryn Bass Bridal.  Blissful Paper Co. created the beautiful calligraphy paper banner for our love poem.

This is a still image from the video by Cinderwood Films, just wait until you see the full video! Thanks to MaddPretty Salon for bringing out our model’s natural beauty.
Beautiful blooms with lots of rich colours and textures by Foxglove Studio.


CreateLove Designs created our invitation suite and menus with floral designs.
wedding chair signs
I had a style in mind for the table number, chair signs, place card names so I reached out to Custom Laser Works who even created a fun guest book alternative. (see down below). Bella Linens contributed lovely romantic lace on blush table linens as well as the draping and luxe candelabras!

I just love this little wooden bar cart from Orange Trunk Vintage, which we styled as a desert and drinks table with their other lovely vintage pieces.

Fancy some sweet treats by Modern Bake YYC? Oh how yummy these were!

Bringing together this incredible team of vendors to collaborate on this inspiration shoot was so much fun. Thank you so much for all of your effort and contributions!

Creative Team
Venue:  Charbar
Photographer:  JB Photography 
Videographer:  Cinderwood Films
Planner:  Laura Richert of Birch & Bunny Weddings and Events
Florist:  Foxglove Studio
Bridal Boutique:  Pearl & Dot
Dress Top:  Theia
Dress Skirt:  Kathryn Bass
Cake, Desserts:  Modern Bake YYC
Stationer:  Create Love Design
Paper Banner Calligraphy:  Blissful Paper Co.
Laser Cutter:  Custom Laser Works
Linens: Bella Linens
Salon: MaddPretty  (Hair: Jason Mellor, Makeup: Chanel Piersol) 
Model: Carolynne Scofield
Calgary Wedding Coordinator

WPIC certified

Wedding at The Commons

Holly + Brett are a truly unique couple, so their wedding at The Commons had to stand out!  Exposed brick and pipes made this the perfect statement venue. Laid back, sentimental, and so much fun, their wedding incorporated their personalities into every detail.  Find out what they swapped out instead of the traditional wedding cake, bouquet or guestbook!

Fun details like this pair of vintage typewriters as a guestbook alternative, made Holly + Brett’s wedding so unique.

Wedding at The Commons Calgary

Carefully selected vintage pieces create a warm and inviting lounge area instead of having a typical signing table for their marriage document. We later added a few pieces to make it the ideal hangout when dancers needed a break.

In place of a bouquet, Holly opted for handmade fabric flowers on her couture dress.

For their “I Do’s” they went with this pretty hanging greenery installation and vignette of vintage crates and candles instead of a traditional arch. Greenery garlands on string lights draped from the ceiling rafters, among exposed pipes. Their ceremony was both intimate, and personal.

Leading up to the big day, Brett worked hard on his 1960 Chevy Bel Air so that he could drive his Bride Holly away in it after the ceremony. During Cocktail Hour, Brett and several of the couples’ friends and family showcased their classic cars.

No traditional wedding cake here, Holly + Brett opted for a vintage popsicle cart from Family Freezed. The popsicle sticks were even personalized with their names and wedding date!

To keep guests going through the night, Holly + Brett brought in a Food Truck for late night snack. You can never go wrong with pizza. Especially when it’s your wedding at The Commons and pizza from an Inglewood hot spot.

I had so much fun, with you guys!  It was a true pleasure to be involved in your wedding and to work with the following amazing team!

Credits

Ceremony & Reception Venue – The Commons, Hemingway Room
Wedding Coordinator – Laura Richert with Birch & Bunny Weddings and Events
Photographer –  Gillian Stevens Photography
Officiant – Tamara Jones
Florist – Amborella Floral Studio
Vintage Rentals – Heather with Orange Trunk Vintage
Catering, Rentals – Great Events Catering, Great Events Rentals
Bartending – Imagine Bartending
Desert – Family Freezed Vintage Popsicle Cart
Personalized Popsicle Sticks:  Custom Laser Works
Late Night Snack – Food Truck from Without Papers Pizza 
Hair Stylist – Dawn Bradley
Makeup Artist – Trena Laine
Couture Dress – Sarah Cameron with Pure Creation
Custom Fabric Flowers for Dress – Lillian Chua
Featured on – 100 Layer Cake
Published in – Dote Magazine, Weddings vol.2

Planner's Signature

WPIC certified

Kelsie and Jordan celebrated with loved ones at their Sirocco Wedding. They shared their love of travel and adventure by incorporating carefully chosen travel themed details.

Sirocco Wedding Kiss
Sirocco Wedding

The get-away golf cart whisked the newlyweds away for photos, dragging these adorable tin cans behind.

Just Married Tin Cans

Meanwhile, our team had a golf cart of our own which I used to shuttle Grandparents and elderly neighbors up to the club house for cocktail hour. (Having our own golf cart is just so handy to zip over to the ceremony site and back, so it’s one of our fave things about working at golf courses such as this Sirocco Wedding).

Meanwhile back at cocktail hour, guests were entertained by a highland dance troop.  Choreographed by their teacher who was none other than the Bride herself! If you want to see a clip of the dance, here is a link to Cinderwood Films’ video of Kelsie and Jordan’s wedding day.

Scottish Dancers

Each table was named after one of the trips Kelsie and Jordan had taken together over the years. Table runners with photos printed on them were a sweet way to share those wonderful trip memories with guests. Watercolour graphics of each location adorned the seating chart and corresponding table sign. Place cards tucked inside clear luggage tags were the perfect touch, along side favors of tea and honey bags.

The cake table featured 5 unique wedding cakes made by Alison LaFrance with Whippt Desserts & Catering. With delicious passion fruit flavor inside, each cake was delicious and more beautiful than the last!

While guests enjoyed their choice of those lovely cakes, we had scheduled a few private moments for romantic photos at sunset.

Congratulations once again, to Kelsie + Jordan!  Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your special day. It was such a joy to work with the two of you as well as the incredibly talented team for travel themed wedding.

Credits:

Ceremony & Reception Venue – Sirocco Golf Club
Photographer –  Jeremy Martel and Amy Cheng with JM Photography
Videography – Megan Darragh with Cinderwood
Wedding Coordinator – Laura Richert with Birch & Bunny Weddings and Events
Officiant – Judy Wiltse with Vows by Judy
Cakes – Alison LaFrance with Whippt Desserts & Catering
Florist – Oscar and Janie with Flowers By Janie
Band – Two Bit Bandits
Hair Stylist – Rory with Shag Salon
Makeup Artist – Michelle with Trena Laine
Ceremony Arch – Birch & Bunny Weddings and Events

Planner's Signature
WPIC certified

Marsala Macarons

Marsala has been announced as Pantone’s prediction for the colour of the year for 2015.  Compared to last year’s color Radiant Orchid, this year’s colour is a much more rich hue.  It’s deeper and pairs well with metallics.  **Just between us darling, that’s a little clue as to a certain wedding inspiration styled shoot that I may have in the works!
Marsala Pantone Color of the Year 2015Bride's Manicure
“This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty.” says Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of Pantone Color Institute.

Will you be incorporating this rich wine hue into your wedding colour pallet?  We’d love to hear from you!

Calgary Wedding Coordinator 

Wedding Planners Institute of Canada Certified Wedding Coordinator & Consultant

Pantone Purple

Radiant Orchid has been announced as Pantone’s prediction for the 2014 colour of the year!  It’s bright, and cheery, and it’s not just for spring! This shade pairs especially nicely with dove grey or with summer colours such as greens or a sunny lemon yellow.  Fall and winter Brides can mix with metallics or muted tones if they feel this shade is too bright for their colour scheme.

“An invitation to innovation, Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality” An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute.

Calgary Wedding Coordinator

Birch & Bunny Weddings is dedicated to providing a seamless journey down the aisle, and events that are truly a reflection of the two of you.  Your vision will be executed down to the last detail, and I’m honored to be a part of your wedding day.