How to Host a Melbourne Cup Party

Hosting an office Melbourne Cup party? Here’s a list of everything you need to know!

The race that stops the nation! The great thing about Melbourne Cup is it allows pretty much allows the whole of Australia to host a party or attend a party during working hours!

Hosting a Melbourne cup party can be great opportunity to host a small intimate event for their staff in the boardroom nibbling on chicken and salad with a few wines, but for others it is a great way to throw an exclusive event for their top clients.

Finding a suitable venue to hire out exclusively on Melbourne Cup day can be pretty much impossible, many restaurants and venues use their space to host a ticketed lunch event.

Here are our best tips for organising the perfect Melbourne Cup Day event in your office:

1. Establish The Budget

Find out how much money you are able to spend on the function. The budget will have an impact on the catering choices and drinks.

2. Where In The Office?

Do you have a big board room, warehouse or large area you can set up and watch the race?

Want to take your event outdoors? Depending on the size of your office, a carpark can be a unique idea. You may also want to organise a marquee for extra shade, tables and chairs.

Melbourne Cup Party

3. Watching The Race

You can plan the perfect event but if you don’t have great coverage of the racel, then all your efforts will have gone to waste! Turing on a TV and getting coverage seems straightforward but with AV, things can always go wrong, so make sure you check the TV, channel and reception before the day.

So that everyone in the office can watch the race, consider hiring a large projector.

Need a quote for your AV equipment? Get in touch with us.

4. Decide On A Theme For Your Melbourne Cup Party

A theme can be great fun and add some extra sparkle to your day. There are plenty of themes to choose from.

Best dressed

Traditional themes include “Best Dressed“/ “Fashions On the Field.” Make sure everyone gets dressed up. The ladies will have on their hats and fascinators and the guys can wear their scarfs. Make sure you have prizes for best dressed.

Colour theme

Either a straight colour scheme like black and white or staff can come dressed in their favourite jockey colours.


5. Styling

The great thing about Melbourne Cup Styling is that the colour palette is unlimited – there are so many beautiful bright colours featured on the jockey’s outfits. But in our experience, we suggest keeping it black and white with one or two really bright colours for some extra pop!

Florals, bunting and feathers are always very popular for Melbourne Cup styling. Contact your local flower markets for some great options.

For inspiration, check out Saber Events Pinterest boards.

6. Food

As this event is at lunch-time, a buffet or sit-down meal will be preferable.

Food is a very important part of any party or event. Average food can ruin even the best party, so make sure you put lots of thought into your catering. Your chosen caterer will be able to help guide you on the choices that best suit your budget and theme. Ensure you obtain multiple quotes and cross check that it includes napkins, cutlery and rubbish removal.

Otherwise for budget saving events, pop down to your local Coles or Woolies and grab a few chickens and a variety of salads. This is always a winner!

Another great option, if you have a very multicultural office, is to ask everyone to bring in a dish that represents their heritage.

A grazing station with a beautiful mixture of cheeses and biscuits allows everyone in the office to ensure they have lots to eat. Another on-trend ideas is a dessert station set up for the afternoon – might need that sugar hit after a delicious lunch!

Remember to check for any special dietary requirements in the office and give yourself plenty of time to prepare.


7. The Office Bar

There is really only one choice on Melbourne Cup day and that is CHAMPAGNE! In saying that, you can also offer basic beer, wine, soft drinks and cold water. For this type of event, we don’t suggest any spirits or cocktails – leave that for your end of year office Christmas Party!


8. Entertainment

Hopefully you are running on budget and will have a few extra dollars to spend on some entertainment. Ask around the office if anyone wants to be the office DJ for the day! Otherwise just play some background music while you are waiting for the race to start.

If children are attending you could arrange a face-painter, balloon artist, jumping castle or even a science show.

9. Finer Details

Make sure you start selling the sweeps around the office early in the day – this will help build the anticipation.

To make the event feel a bit special, create a fun in-house invitation and invite everyone along. Make sure you don’t miss anyone! Now that everything is pretty much under control, it is time to work out the finer details.

Hire a photographer or get someone in the office to pose as the paparazzi. Have a fun “Fashions on the Field” competition and don’t forget prizes! Grab some funny prizes to make the event a little more fun.

Remind staff to put their out-of-office on and divert phone calls for the duration of the party. You don’t want to miss any important calls.

10. Start Planning

At Saber Events we run through our checklist everyday to ensure that we are on target and on schedule for every event.

Don’t forget to delegate whenever possible. Also don’t forget this is your Melbourne Cup party too. Enjoy it!

If you find that you just don’t have the time to organise your office Melbourne Cup function, call us. We can organise some or all of the event for you, sticking with your budget and theme.

Saber Events


1800 808 505


Melbourne Cup