Derby Day Dining

Last week I posted photos of the Kentucky Derby Buffet I created for my “Art of Tablescaping” students. This week I have the sit-down dinner version that uses a number of the same elements from that buffet table to demonstrate how various pieces can be used for either setting.
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge!)

The same table in the same room is all dressed up for a slightly more formal sit-down meal. I used the same black floor-length linen to let the gleam of the silver and brightness of the red roses show best. The white china tones down the dark linens and flower, thus saving the table from looking too morose.


I swapped out the more plentiful Arcoroc “Seabreeze” glass buffet plates for my sister’s very formal Noritake “Whitebrook” china. Derby Day is the time to pull out your finest china and silver, and this china is definitely treasured in our family. The china rests atop highly polished silverplate chargers.

IMG_5107WMThese same lettered napkins were displayed in a silver champagne bucket in the buffet version. They are now simply folded, placed beneath the dinner plate and allowed to hang so as to prominently show the initial. The white of the napkin helps to break up the sea of black linen.

IMG_5121WMThe same heirloom silver flatware pattern – last week placed head-to-toe at the start of the buffet table – is used.

Noritake “Spectrum” iced beverage glasses await the traditional Southern sweet tea. The same julep cups that surrounded the huge silver punch bowl on the buffet last week are now placed at each individual setting.

Each place setting gets its own salt & pepper shakers.


IMG_5159WMLast week these riding boots (actually a Z Gallerie umbrella stand!) were up to their straps in French baguettes. This week, sitting atop an heirloom silver tray (used last week to display veggies), they spill over with lush red roses. The silver candlesticks flanking the urns on the buffet last week are now on the table. Again I used metal case Paradise candles to keep the look pristine and avoid wax spills on my linen.

Over on the buffet behind the table where the punch bowl and julep cups were displayed last week is a more subdued coffee set up. The red rose balls on oil-rubbed bronze urns from last week remain in place.

On the wall sconces are miniature versions of the larger buffet urns with horseshoes added to further tie them in with the Derby.

With just a few tweaks here and there you can go from buffet to sit-down, casual to formal without sacrificing style. While the horse was omitted from this setting (I’m sure no one would want to spend the night staring up his rump!), the Kentucky Derby feel is definitely still there. It’s semi-formal, but made less stuffy with the addition of the whimsical centerpiece.

Another table on this site that I think would just look fantastic for a Kentucky Derby celebration, “Roses in October”, can be found HERE. Although it is set up using white roses, a simple switch to red roses would make it just perfect! If you’d like to see another tablescape using red rose balls and bouquets, click HERE for “Should Have Put A Ring On It” or HERE for “Kentucky Derby Buffet”.

I’ll be skipping on over to Tablescape Thursday at Susan’s Between Naps on the Porch on Thursday anytime after 9:00 a.m. CDT.

39 thoughts on “Derby Day Dining

  1. Pingback: Kentucky Derby Buffet « Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One

  2. Alycia…I can hear the sound of the horn now before the race…..the sights of the fabulous hats…the condensation on the metal cup of the mint juleps…ahh, the traditions…and you make it even better with your roses…gorgeous table…and all the decor that surrounds it in the room…one day, if I am a lucky girl, I will have the pleasure of sitting at one of your wonderful tables!!!….Hey, do you think the boots are my size…a 7…


  3. Wonderful setting Alycia. You are so clever with your accessories. love the boots umbrella stand. Your china is gorgeous! I am so ready for a mint julep. Roses are so beautiful.


  4. I love how you changed the setting from buffet to sit down. Very elegant. I really love how you used the umbrella stand in both settings, very clever. I would have never thought to use an umbrella stand on the table, but it looks amazing! The black and red are such a stunning combination. Have a great week!


  5. Talley Ho, girl! (No, I am NOT calling you a Ho!) I love this. Those boots are soooooo great. Last May, I almost got run over trying to buy red roses from a street vendor for Derby Day, so I’m sort of afraid to try another Derby Day table. I think I’ll just admire yours. Great job!
    Linda @ A Toile Tale


  6. I love this formal-but-warm-and-inviting-and-festive table, Alycia. Certainly worthy of such a celebrated event full of tradition! I love the rose petals–quite fitting, and the color scheme. Perfect! Were your guests your parents, as you had thought? I’m sure your guests loved the theme. ~Zuni


  7. Looking good! Love the changes and the use of the boots! The only horse race I’ve ever paid attention to is the Kentucky Derby! So much energy put into such a short amount of time! It would be fun to be sitting at this beautiful table watching the race and sharing a toast as the race begins!


  8. Oh that looks so elegant. Love the colors, the drama of the black and red and the elegance of the china and silver! So glad you will be linking this table to Let’s DIsh, tonight at 7!
    I just ordered fitted to the floor cloths, got a great deal at Linensnthings on line. I didn’t have any fitted, and they will be great for buffet tables.


  9. Such a beautiful, elegant table, Alycia. Some day I’m going to go to the Derby. 😉 Love seeing all these fun details ~ the riding boots, the mint julep cups, etc.


  10. How fabulous Alycia! I love all the elements you’ve used for creating this tablescape for the Dervy, wow! I love the boots centerpiece and I’m mad about red, black and white! Thank you for your terrific visit..luv it when you do, as you are a master tablescaper my friend. Enjoy your weekend.


  11. I don’t think you’re getting my comments because of wordpress. You’re an inspiring teacher, writer, and decorator. It is impressive to see your level of expertise, and then to read your explanation about the reasons for your choices. Awesome. Thank your for your generous spirit! ~CJ


  12. You table is sophisticated, elegant and is so VERY chic. Stunning would be an appropriate word to describe it. What more can be said. It is a masterpiece!!!

    I signed up for your blog by email post for the third time now. And I think the third time is a charm and it has finally worked. I put it through my blog email this time and its seems to have gone through with me confirming the subscription. I hate to miss any of your posts because I think you are a tablescape genius. I love your work Alycia. You are an inspiration to all.



  13. I am totally in love with the full length black tablecloth against your white chairs & intend to go hunting for some fabric to duplicate this look very, very soon! My chairs are very similar to yours, ya’ know.

    Everything about this table speaks of elegance & grace!
    Well done, Alycia…you are so very talented, Honey.
    Thanks for sharing it with us.



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