Celebrating Time-Honored Traditions
The way we celebrate the annual running of the Iroquois Steeplechase has to be one of my favorites in the category of party traditions. When I was growing up, my mother had a friend, Marty, who hosted an annual Steeplechase breakfast at her home in Franklin, Tennessee. She treated guests to a beautiful southern breakfast, which my mother would describe to me in detail. Marty’s merry guests were shuttled to and from the races toasting along the way. The party continued in the boxes with a catered picnic. As a little girl, I always thought it sounded like the most fun, and I wanted to host a party like Marty’s when I grew up and had “big fancy parties” of my own. One of the things I loved most about the way Marty hosted was the unique and thoughtful way she thanked her guests for attending. About a week after the party, an envelope would arrive in the mail with a couple of pictures of my parents in their hats and seersucker tucked inside a hand written thank you from hostess, Marty. My mother would share stories from the day, and I loved getting to see the pictures. Thoughtful details like these have inspired me as I host friends and family in my own home. True hospitality is not about impressing, but about giving, about celebrating one another, and helping others enjoy life. I think of Marty as I open the door to the guests of our annual Steeplechase Breakfast. This year will be the seventeenth year of our celebration! The morning of the races we invite family and friends into our home for a southern cocktail breakfast. Some years I have had the breakfast catered, but there is a strong fan base for my mother’s homemade biscuits and cheese grits. The fun of planning this party is that it is personalized. Many of our guests are family and close friends who come every year, and we know their preferences well. We also know some of the guys will arrive “untied” knowing my dad will be on hand for the perfect “imperfect” bowtie job.
Freddie Moore and his team tend bar in the garden, serving traditional race day signature cocktails and a full bar – something for everyone. One year I hired a couple of college guys to help with the bars, and their mothers sent them dressed in seersucker and bow ties. They became known as the “bow tie bar tenders,” and we welcome them back every May.
Spring flowers are in bloom, and the mood is as cheerful as the colors. I choose a floral color scheme for the table and décor, and we make matching rose and boxwood boutonnieres for the gents’ lapels. It’s a festive occasion for spring race day attire, and as our friends arrive dressed in their hats and seersucker, I delight in pinning bouts and taking photos. And continuing Marty’s tradition, I make sure to send photos to our guests after the event!
We continue the party into the boxes for a lovely, and lively afternoon at the Iroquois-and for a good cause! Proceeds from race day benefit Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, a place near and dear to our hearts.
Taking part in this time-honored tradition is a pleasure, as Steeplechase Day is one of our favorites of the year.
This past Saturday, May 12th, we welcomed Steeplechase-goers to our annual race day breakfast. This year, the event held special meaning, as we toasted to the launch of GoldenThread.blog!
A playful invitation sets the tone for the event.
GoldenThread julep cups are perfect for toasting to the blog launch!
Race day cocktails are listed on a handwritten card to spark the interest of party goers.
Adding a colorful touch to seersucker, festive, hand-made boutonnières were pinned as friends arrived!
Custom designed party bow ties were ready for the prefect fit!
A buffet of blue & white invited guests to enjoy breakfast in the garden…A tiered wire-basket server is lined by linen napkins with playful equestrian embroidery. Blue & white porcelain trays offer an array of breakfast options.
“My mother’s” biscuit recipe has been enjoyed as a mainstay of this long standing tradition.
Shaded by the tented lawn, guests enjoy breakfast and lively conversation. Cheerful, festive photos were captured by our photographers, and a good time was had by all-CHEERS!
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