It’s Australia’s favourite day to suit up, don a frock, and watch the race that stops the nation. Whether you’re in it to win it, or just excited to have the day off work, Melbourne Cup is best celebrated in comfort and style.

If you’re stuck for ideas, why not try something a little out of the ordinary and transform the racecourse car park into the ultimate social gathering spot? The Melbourne Cup Carnival has a range of car parks you can rent out for your friends, family or colleagues. But to make the most of your outdoor space, it’s best to deck it out with the right equipment and accessories.

For a day to remember, here’s what you need to think about.


Chairs and Tables

From folding chairs to luxurious lounges, café or bar tables, the furniture you choose will determine how your site will look and feel. The good thing is, you can tailor the experience to your own tastes with a range of colours and styles to pick from.

Need inspiration? You can always keep it boho-style with low stools and small coffee tables, or go for backyard-chic vibes with pastel coloured folding chairs and mesh garden tables. If it’s more about the beverages, using bar stools and tables will give you that festive feel, while lounges and ottomans will amp up the elegance.

What you go for will depend on your budget and sense of style. However, there are many combinations that will not only make your guests feel comfortable, but are affordable too. A rule of thumb to make sure you’re giving your guests enough room to roam around and socialise is to plan to hire half the amount of chairs to people.

Food and Drink Stations

Melbourne Cup is the perfect day to pop the champers – especially if you win a race or two. So make sure your car park has a decent bar to serve drinks from. For a more laidback vibe, think about hiring a standing tub filled with ice and cold beers.

When it comes to displaying or serving your food you could opt for a simple food station, or set up a couple of trestle tables for laying out canapés, tea and coffee, water pitchers, breadbaskets, and even a champagne stand.

Cutlery, Crockery and Cups

How will your guests eat? Will it be finger food or more of a sit down affair? The type of food you dish up will determine what kind of cutlery and crockery you’ll use. If you’re serving full meals, you’ll need large plates, bowls, and a full cutlery set. If you’re keeping it more casual with canapés and share plates, you can get away with using platters, smaller plates and serving utensils.

Because it’s Melbourne Cup, you’ll likely need champagne flutes or saucers, white wine and red wine glasses, tumblers, water glasses, and if you need them, tea and coffee cups. To keep your guests happy, make sure you hire one and a half glasses per person.

Shading and Fencing

Melbourne Cup falls at a pretty warm time of year. For sun protection and comfort, it’s best to hire a couple of big umbrellas. Being reasonably water resistant, the umbrellas will also do a good job of keeping your guests dry if it starts to rain. To stop others walking through or accessing your site, it’s also recommended that you use fencing.


Extra Accessories

Now we’re getting down to the nitty gritty. However, keep in mind that the little things make a big difference. The accessories you choose will depend on your food and drink situation, as well as the style you’re going for. You can look into everything from champagne and drink buckets, rubbish bins and ashtrays, to cake stands, barbeque tools and drink trays.


The Finishing Touches

To make your event feel complete, it’s crucial to not forget about the simple things, such as tablecloths, cushions, and napkins. It might be the last thing on your mind, but these details are just as important as where your guests will sit or what they’ll eat.

Most trestles and food stations will look much more appealing with white or coloured linen tablecloths, while scattering cushions on your lounges or benches will make your guests feel more at home. When it comes to napkins, you can keep it simple with plain colours, or throw in a patterned set to make things really pop.

Giddy Up!

Transforming a car spot into a party spot can make your Melbourne Cup truly unforgettable. Whether you’re entertaining clients, friends or family, it’s certainly a unique way of celebrating. However, if you’re looking for something bigger and more conventional, you can easily put up a marquee and host an elaborate Melbourne Cup party, or unleash your creativity with a custom build and design. The possibilities are endless!


Looking for something else to do in Melbourne this weekend? Here’s everything that made it On The List.


Written By:
With 10 years experience as an Interior Architect and Designer both in Europe and Australia, Kat is a design enthusiast whose passion never clocks off. With her work ranging from residential to commercial, her enthusiasm for practical and purposeful design oozes through her hands-on approach and attentional to detail. Inspired by the countries, colours and textures encountered while travelling, her love of custom design has led her to Harry’s and the ever-changing world of the events industry… She thrives on the challenges that come with throwing amazing events, and couldn’t be more excited to see what the future holds!