Monday, June 16, 2014

For the Graduate

You’re hosting your first graduation party, you say? 

Whether your graduate is heading off to college this fall, entering the workforce, joining the military, or not ready to leave the nest just yet, you’ll want this day to be a special one – one that will bring happy memories in years to come.  Sorry, no pressure…

We had the pleasure of hosting our first graduation party this past weekend for our niece.  With some careful planning and organization, you can create an event that your guests and your grad will enjoy.  Here are some things to consider when planning your event:

Paper lantern chandelier for the main tent

1. Invitations
Families receive many invitations throughout the summer months and calendars fill up quickly.  Be sure to mail invitations at least one month prior to the party so your guests can adequately plan.

Tropical theme food tent and buffet

2. Location
Will your event be indoors or out, at your home or another venue?  If you’re planning an outdoor event, be sure to have a way to provide guests (and food) shade from the summer sun.  Have a pergola, umbrellas, a canopy, or consider renting a tent.  

Watch the weather closely leading up to the party, and always have a Plan B for rainy or stormy weather.

Beachy centerpieces for the dining tables

3. Décor
The party should be as unique as your grad.  Think about the grad’s interests when choosing a look or theme.

We chose a tropical theme because our grad wants to travel in her future.

Beverage bucket for iced drinks

4. Food
When deciding what to serve, think about the number of guests you’ll invite.   For a small crowd, grilling may be a great option - but with a large crowd, the poor chef may get stuck hanging out over a hot grill all day.  
Catering works well for a large crowd, but it depends on your budget. 

We chose to purchase frozen BBQ and side dishes from a bulk outlet ahead of time.  Everything was heated in the oven then transferred to racks with Sterno cans to keep it warm.  The fruit and veggie items we assembled the morning of the party.  Doing it this way, we were able to spend more time with our guests and cleanup was a breeze. 

Paper lantern chandelier at night
5. Music
Don’t forget music or some type of entertainment.  Background music gets the party rolling and helps with that sometimes awkward silence when people don’t know each other well. 

We created a simple playlist of Mambo tunes to accompany our tropical theme.

Caddy for silverware and plates

The last tip I will leave you with is to keep the details as simple as possible.  Plan ahead, but don’t overload yourself.   

After all, the most important thing is that you enjoy this special day along with your graduate – for that is what he or she will remember.
Have a great week! 



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