Melbourne Cup celebration ideas

From Melbourne Cup events at home to park soirees and catered celebrations out, get all the tips you need to make this Melbourne Cup celebration one to remember!

Friends having wine outdoors

It may be “the race that stops a nation”, but Melbourne Cup can also have the opposite effect on your heartbeat when you’re left in charge of planning Cup Day celebrations for your friends, family or colleagues.

The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s richest horse race and is held on the first Tuesday of November every year. While the day is of course packed with many smaller races, the main event kicks off at 3 p.m. And no matter where you may be across the country, most of us will take a break from work, pause the house chores or put down the study books and watch the race with friends, family or colleagues. It’s a tradition that’s been happening across the country since 1861.

Whether you’re planning to host a party at home, outside or in a restaurant, be sure to browse through our top tips to make the day a great success!

Celebrations at home

Why not hold a mothers-and-bubs day where your fellow stay-at-home mums can bring their kids and enjoy a day out without having to hire a babysitter? Your most important task is to ensure you have plenty of entertainment, toys and games on hand to suit kids of all ages. The older children may be happy to watch cartoons and draw while the little ones should have plenty of blocks and toys to play with. Set up a play space between the mums and the TV so you can watch the race and keep an eye on the kids at the same time. Avoid putting pressure on the mums to eat at the table at a certain time, and instead prepare a buffet of healthy treats and allow your guests to help themselves in between nappy changes and playtime. Also consider whipping up a bunch of fun mocktails so the non-drinkers can still be part of the fun! You can extend the horse theme to the food (for example, a horsetrack cake or cupcakes that spell out your top picks for winners), decorations (you can DIY some horse bunting and hang it across the front door) and the invitations (print off horse outlines and cut the invitations in these cute shapes).

An outdoor affair

We’re lucky enough to be spoilt with some fantastic weather in November so why not make the most of the sunshine and head out into the great outdoors? Choose a convenient location like a local park, riverside, beach or botanical garden and make sure you get there early to reserve your spot. Make a checklist ahead of time to ensure you take all the essentials like blankets, plates, cups, cutlery and serviettes. Consider appropriate picnic food options like crackers, quiche, miniature sandwiches, pull-apart loaves, chips and fresh fruit. Pack an esky with plenty of water, juice and ice to keep the food cool. If you’ve got kids in attendance, be prepared to beat their bordeom by packing a range of toys and games like bubble blowers, badminton, balls and even more creative options like props for a hobby horse race, apple bobbing or an egg and spoon race.

Sit back in a catered venue

If you want to avoid the stress of hosting the event yourself, you’ll find respite in a Melbourne Cup gathering at a restaurant, café or bar. Plenty of venues offer specials on the day, so call around and ask for their best deals. The more guests you have, the more likely you are to get a good bargain, so make sure you have your final headcount on hand before you contact the venue. Keep in mind the wants and needs of all your guests — do some smoke? Does anyone need wheelchair access or find climbing stairs difficult? Will the venue be too loud for others? Advise all guests of the cost and dress code well in advance so everyone can be prepared and have the very best Melbourne Cup Day possible!

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