Off to the Races: Kentucky Derby Party

Spring has finally arrived, and if you live in Kentucky you know exactly what that means… It’s time for the Kentucky Derby!

One of the most famous horse races, the Derby is held annually on the first Saturday in May. It’s a time to dress up and gather with friends while celebrating Kentucky racing traditions. No Derby Day is complete without fancy attire, big hats, betting, and good ‘ole Kentucky bourbon!

Good News! You don’t have to make the trip to Churchill Downs to celebrate the Derby. It’s just as fun to host your own party with friends. We teamed up with Brittany Hardin at Eden Bliss Weddings to bring you some at-home Derby Party inspiration.
The Kentucky Derby is a long-standing tradition that dates back to 1875. So, if you’re going to host a successful Derby party, you must keep to tradition..but that isn’t to say you can’t add your own personal flare to it!

We switched out those red roses for some white and coral beauties and created a spin on the traditional Bourbon cocktails you might find in the Grandstand. We were inspired by bright colors, fun girl time, and big derby hats to create an at-home party that made us want The Derby to be a year-round event!

Creative Partners:

Design, Styling and Custom Paper: Elizabeth Duncan Events

Photography: Brittany Hardin with Eden Bliss Weddings

Dresses/Hats: AJS Casuals

Away We Go: The Greenbrier

The Greenbrier America's Resort - Destination Wedding Venues - Elizabeth Duncan Events Wedding

Yesterday, we celebrated America’s Birthday, so today I’d like to introduce you to America’s Resort – The Greenbrier.  Steeped in history, surrounded by natural beauty, and infused with Southern hospitality and luxurious elegance, this is truly a remarkable destination.

I was delighted to be invited by Lori Hicks, the social sales manager, for a site visit. Many clients and friends have told me about The Greenbrier and how their families have been going there for generations, but this was my first visit.

When you arrive at the hotel you can’t help but be in awe of the beauty and grandeur.  The façade of the resort’s main building is often compared to Tara, from Gone with the Wind.  The famous interior designer, Dorothy Draper, has combined color and pattern at every turn that is a bold mix of Florida Palm Beach with refined Southern charm. Mrs. Draper was also the author of the book, Entertaining is Fun! How to Be a Popular Hostess”. From the bright colors and floral prints to the enthusiasm of the staff, the distinctive decor and Southern hospitality are definitely central to the Greenbrier experience.

Greenbrier America's Resort Dorothy Draper design

The Greenbrier was built in 1778 and has hosted U.S. Presidents, foreign dignitaries, celebrities and generations of families. The rich history of the resort is thoroughly embraced, but all of the modern amenities, services, and any activity you could possibly want to enjoy are at your fingertips.


The Greenbrier is an ideal choice for a destination wedding. The options for entertaining and exploring are truly innumerable, but here is just one itinerary that I would propose:


Wedding guests: Main hotel

Parents:  Estate Houses – Colonnade (Bride’s family), Top Notch (Groom’s family)

Wedding Party:  Cottages

Greenbrier Wedding Destination Wedding DC Elizabeth Duncan Events Wedding


  • Arrival
  • Activities on own – tennis, golf, pool, hiking, off-roading, etc.
  • Croquet & Cocktails on the Croquet Lawn
  • Casual dinner on the Prime 44 Terrace. (How amazing are these striped umbrellas!)
  • Late-night Bowling Party!

Greenbrier - Prime 44 - Elizabeth Duncan Events Wedding


  • Spa appointments for the Bridal Party in the morning
  • Bridal Luncheon at the Colonnade House (the dining room table seats 22!)
  • Groom’s Party to play a round on one of the top-ranked golf courses or enjoy other outdoor activities, e.g. fishing, off-roading, clay shooting, hiking, paintball, etc.
  • Welcome Party at Kate’s Mountain with BBQ and bluegrass (I highly recommend Whiskey Rebellion)

The Greenbrier - Wedding Venue - DC Wedding Planner - Elizabeth Duncan Events 7


  • Outdoor ceremony at any of the beautiful garden and lawn options, although the Springhouse is definitely my favorite
  • Cocktails, dinner and dancing in the Cameo Ballroom.


Photo via

Photo via


Farewell Brunch at Howard’s Creek Lodge


The Greenbrier - Destination Wedding Venue - Howard's Creek Lodge - Elizabeth Duncan Events wedding


What makes the Greenbier so exceptional are the numerous activities for guests and the diversity of venues for entertaining!  If you’re looking for an incredible destination wedding location, look no further.


The Greenbrier is nestled in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains in White Sulphur Springs, WV.  The resort is accessible from DC by car (surprisingly fast 4 hours), by train (a leisurely 6 hours) or by a short flight from IAD (1.25 hours).

Thank you again, Lori, for inviting us to visit the Greenbrier. We are so excited to work with you to create beautiful and memorable weddings!


Images:  Unless otherwise noted, all images by EDE

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

I had great fun ringing in the new year with a party for a favorite client.  I have had the pleasure to plan many fantastic parties for Kate, but one of my favorites is the New Year’s Eve party she and her family throw.  A family-friendly party, the New Year is celebrated at 6PM, when it is midnight in Paris.  So, each year, we choose French-inspired themes.  This year, we used the stories of Babar as our inspiration.

from the published book

With palm trees, homemade hot air balloons and a selection of Kate’s sons’ stuffed animals, we created a simple, but fun decor scheme.  Well Dunn provided a delicious French menu and the balloon artist and temporary tattoo artist provided by Bialeks kept the kids completely entertained.

We also created a craft table where the kids could make their own crown and create flags for their own kingdom.

The party was a huge success and a wonderful way for me to bring 2010 to a close and kick off 2011.  I look forward to a year full of fabulous events!