Thursday, May 12, 2011

Graduation Party Ideas from Someone that Likes to Attend Them!!

Yesterday I received the high school graduation notice/invite of a girl I babysat! I remember her first word!! (it was 'NO' btw) When did I get so old?! It made me think back to my kick butt graduation party. I requested one thing... chocolate covered strawberries. mmmmmm And they were delicious. In true fashion my mother went above and beyond the call of duty to throw a fantastic party. She also had a quilt made with pictures of my childhood in black and white and the colors of my high school. I was completely surprised! It was a great night.

The number one issue Grads run in to is they want to go to everyone's party and they want everyone at their party. The best thing to do is ask them what they want to do. Their answers will range from "NOTHING!!! OMG I HATE YOU! YOU RUIN EVERYTHING!!" to "I just want a fun party with all my friends." If they answered the first way, then it's up to you to plan everything. Otherwise they have the perfect party already planned. Sit back and get ready to write the check.

Here are a few ideas that I would find fun:
EARLY RISER (This also works for prom): This works best for the girls and if you are good friends with the parents of your kid’s friends. Invite your daughter’s closest friends and their parents over for breakfast and let the girls get ready together. Make sure your daughter or son knows if there are any allergies in the group. Put out some disposable cameras so the girls can document the entire day. Don't have a big bathroom? Setup a table with mirrors, lights, electrical outlets and chairs. Decorate with pics of them as little girls.

If you have a son, get ready to fix a bigger breakfast and skip the disposable cameras and make up station. Go straight for the TV trays and video game center in the living room. Set up photo albums for parents to look at over pancakes and bacon.

LET'S LUNCH TOGETHER: This is usually right after the ceremony. DO NOT and I'll repeat DO NOT serve finger food! This is lunch yo! They want hamburgers and hot dogs. They want picnic food. SAY WHAT?! TOO EXPENSIVE!! Well here is the trick... get with your grads BFF’s parents and throw a combined picnic. A city center or a park works best for larger groups. Figure out how many will host and how much each item will cost. Divide them up evenly between the hosts. Skip on all the expensive decorations. It will most likely be outside and if you live in Kansas... Windy!!

If you are worried about the time crunch: Ask that aunt or uncle to get the grill fired up and the drinks on ice, so that you don't miss your grad's big moment.

COME AND GO: This is what I had! I had so many guests coming and going that I had to review the sign in book to really see who came! We had people inside and outside. If you came right after the ceremony you got a hamburger or hotdog while I opened some gifts. Otherwise you got some of the best apps ever... did I mention the chocolate covered strawberries?! There are always the classics but one thing you don't want for a come and go is to make people feel like they need to sit to eat.

The 3 main stations for a C&G is gifts, food, and nostalgia.
1. The gift table should be accompanied with a guest book. I have also see frames with a matted pic of the grad and people sign on that. If you have a special sign-in item make sure you get it started so that people know they are supposed to write on the white graduation teddy bear!

2. The food should be set up for grazers. Set up a few tables around the room/house.
Make sure the drinks are on the opposite side of the room to insure traffic flow. Imagine a waiter holding a tray of apps. Put desserts on one side and savory yummy apps on the other. This way, people won't feel like they have to fill their plate with a mountain of options. Make sure to have napkins and mini plates at each location.

3. The nostalgia is VERY important!! This is why you have been taking all those pics right?! People will gather around this table and linger so put this near the back. Don't put it near food. Don't risk spills. You can also do a slideshow on the big screen or set up a projector. Make sure there is music and lots of laughs. This isn't a wake. Although for you the parents it will be sad.

Speaking of those parents! Get the parents a gift!! If you are close to a group of your grads parents like most are... put together a bunch of pics of these kids together (get with your kid for this one). There are a bunch of great websites that will print quality albums. Write a special note to each one and make sure your kid gets them to each parent. Success!!

Good luck and if you need any help with fun party food ideas let me know! I have a few in storage. And remember this is going to be one of the last wholesome booze free party your kid will attend so make it fun and maybe your grad will think fun can exist without drinking! ....... ya let us hope.

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