As one of the most anticipated sporting events in Australia, Melbourne Cup Day is the perfect excuse to host a party. Here are a few tips for celebrating the 'race that stops the nation' on the first Tuesday in November. Think fancy frocks, fun food and plenty of champagne!
Choosing your location
Depending on the size of your guest list, you can either host your party at home (especially if you have an al fresco or pool area), or consider hiring a venue or heading to a local park or even the beach. If you’re hosting outdoors, you should take into account wet weather options nearby just in case, space and available seating, and the ability to cater effectively for your guests.
Theming your party
Cup day is all about glitz and glamour. Horseracing is often dubbed the 'sport of kings', so why not choose a sophisticated, yet vibrant colour scheme of red, purple and royal blue on a backdrop of black and white?
Examples include white tablecloths with floral arrangements that pick up your theme colours in the centre, black table coverings with royal blue placemats and serviettes mixed with silver candles, colourful bunting and horse figurines or racing paraphernalia. You can even use horse shaped balloons or piñatas for a splash of fun.
The dress code
The Melbourne Cup is one day of the year that everyone wants to frock up for. On your invitations, specify a dress code such as cocktail wear, ties and tiaras, or an 'all white' theme for example. Or choose to throw a costume party based around spectacular hats, racing greats, jockeys and royalty.
No matter where you’re hosting your party, whether in Melbourne or Sydney or elsewhere around Australia, investigate party food catering, so you spend more time enjoying yourself and less time in the kitchen.
Think about some creative alternatives to traditional finger food, such as a hot dog stand with delicious relishes, which is always a popular idea – especially when you’re hosting a lot of people in an outdoor location.
Catering for your Melbourne Cup party must include, of course, champagne. You can also make your own themed cocktails and mocktails and name them after this year's favourite horses.
Playing games is a great way to keep everyone amused until the big race. Make up your own sweepstake, play horse shoe quoits, make an adult version of 'pin the tail on the horse or jockey', divide everyone into trivia teams and create your own Melbourne Cup quiz, or play charades with the theme centred on famous horse names.
You can even host your own mock-up version of fashions on the field, with a runway for the models, music catering to the demographic of the guests, and prizes for the best dressed man and woman.
Round everyone up for the start
Most importantly, don't forget to have the TV or the radio set up for the big race at 3pm. Round everyone up for the start, and then spend the afternoon and evening kicking up your heels to celebrate this year's winner.
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