Whether you grew up around horses or are simply a bride looking to bring some classic, tailored style to your celebration, an equestrian-style wedding is a natural fit in the South. (And a favorite at Southern Weddings – see here, here, here, and here, for starters!) With the help of our friends at Keeneland, one of the South’s most famous racetracks, today we’re sharing ten ways to incorporate equestrian style in your wedding.
1. Choose an equestrian setting. One of the easiest ways to tie in an equestrian theme is to host your wedding at an equestrian facility! A beautiful backdrop like Keeneland can include a racetrack, the starting gate, barns, and rows of pretty fencing as far as the eye can see.
2. Set the tone. Clue your guests into your celebration’s style right from the start by adding an equestrian flair to your invitations. A whimsical watercolor crest incorporating a horseshoe or a pen and ink sketch of your venue are two options we love.
3. Add some witty wording. In addition to graphic details, the verbiage you choose for everything from your invitation to your signage, escort cards, and cake flavors can point to your setting and theme. Try plays on betting (“we’re betting on a good time,” “the odds are favorable”) and race terminology (“and we’re off!” for the welcome dinner, “a photo finish” for the Sunday brunch).
4. Choose a fitting gift for the wedding morning. Many couples choose to exchange gifts on the morning of the wedding. Horseshoe cuff links or a horsehead tie bar will always remind your groom of your big day in an understated way!
5. Invite guests to get in on the action. Whether you’re marrying on Derby weekend or not, inviting your lady guests to don their best oversize hats is a fun way to invite them to be a part of the theme. In our experience, guests are usually eager to get on board as long as they have time to prepare, so be sure to note your suggestion on your wedding website and/or invitation!
6. Make an entrance. If you’re an equestrian yourself and/or want to involve your beloved horse in your celebration, consider an entrance or exit on horseback. A simpler but no less magical option is a classic white horse and carriage, like Lauren and Luke chose.
7. Involve the kids. Are you the lucky aunt and uncle to tons of nieces and nephews? Consider offering pony rides during cocktail hour – it will be a guaranteed hit not only with the littlest ones, but as a spectator sport for the rest of your guests! Horse-themed coloring books, crayons, and small horse figurines can extend the fun to the kids’ table once dinner is underway.
8. Kick back and relax. If you have the space, setting up two stakes for horse shoes is another great way to keep guests entertained during cocktail hour.
9. Decorate with equestrian motifs. From horseshoes to prize ribbons, there are several iconic symbols that offer endless opportunities to riff on equestrian style. Try them mixed into your centerpieces, at the escort card display, made into food signage, or as guest favors!
10. Toast the newlyweds. With a mint julep, of course – the unofficial drink of the Kentucky Derby, and the most appropriate choice for an equestrian-style wedding!
Looking for the perfect location for your equestrian wedding? Consider Keeneland, an iconic race track and event venue in Lexington, Kentucky that offers a timeless, unique setting perfect for your biggest day. With rolling hills of Bluegrass, panoramic views of the racetrack, and the historic charm of the grounds, Keeneland weddings are unlike any other.
This post is brought to you by Keeneland. Thank you for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!