09 April 2013

Celebrating Graduation



Graduation Season

Spring is here and Graduation is on the minds of many anxious students and their parents.  Colleges have been chosen, plans made and now it is time for proms, parties, and a season of new beginnings.


Last year I was deep in the midst of that change with two children graduating. Meanwhile we were planning to move across the country and my husband was spending much of his time working a couple of thousand miles from home. I was cleaning out our house and trying to help my friends plan a graduation party for our boys who had been great friends since elementary school.



This Time Last Year

What a difference a year can make! Last year was a whirlwind and I found little time for recording the journey while I was caught up in it. Thankfully I have pictures! Looking back through my camera roll from last year I am reminded of how wonderfully talented my friends (including Carolyn over at Carolyn Smith Designs) are and what a great job they did in planning, organizing and pulling off a graduation party that was a fun and enriching experience for all involved.


One of our biggest challenges was finding a space appropriate to the event.  Feeling the party would be too large and parking too scarce at any of our houses, we needed a rental space and we wanted it to be close to home. When plans to host the celebration at a favorite restaurant fell through we scrambled for an alternate location.



Transformation

The small town assembly hall we found fit most of our needs for space and parking but would require a lot of set-up and added decoration to meet our expectations.  



Soon brainstorming sessions and Pinterest boards turned into drawings and lists. Tasks were assigned and distributed as a plan came together to turn the unadorned space into a comfortable party room decked out in school colors.



The transformation of our rented hall began bright and early on the morning of the party. As the sun rose high we hung preassembled decorations, draping fabric attached to dowel rods from the ceiling and suspending a metallic backdrop featuring a large "2012" photo collage behind the graduate tables.



Table space was set up along the wall for each graduate to display a framed photo collage, a gift card holder and other personal memorabilia. 



Tables were dressed where the guests and graduates could socialize.



Refreshment

The dessert display commanded special attention designed to include everyone's favorites. White paper covered textbooks lifted cake stands into position to display a wide variety of cupcakes. Burlap and rick-rack covered risers displayed a series of large glass canisters to hold our grads favorite cookies. Burlap and gingham covered cans were filled with wrapped candy and mason jars held dipped pretzel logs and red and black licorice sticks. I added Snickerdoodle Cupcakes, Oreo Truffles and Snickerdoodle Blondies to an assortment of homemade treats that would rival any small town bake sale.



White table covers were decorated with black and white photos of the graduates clipped with clothespins to a piece of twine draped along the length of the table.



Individual sized cartons of milk and striped paper straws completed the dessert theme and chalkboard-ready foam board, cut to size and edged with brown tape to resemble old-fashioned school blackboards, added a nice touch to the decor. 



Passing the Baton

The group effort ended in smiles and laughter. The graduates were feted and the parents spent.  After an efficient clean-up that included lots of hugs and a few tears we wrapped up our celebration and passed the baton to the class of 2013 as we moved on to the next phase of the journey. 


3 comments:

Alanna Kellogg said...

What great ideas for a graduation party -- and I love the idea of having a group party, I always remember all the competing parties, how it was so hard to hit them all.

www.carolynsmithdesigns.com said...

Great post! It's hard to believe that it has been a year since we did all that. What a fun day!

benilhalk said...

You have shared very useful information on graduation cake decorations. I am searching for amazing Seattle venues for arranging my cousin’s graduation party. Planning to order a graduation cake too and hope he likes my arrangements.