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Picture Your Future Graduation Party (49 photos)

 
 

"Picture Your Future" Graduation Party

 
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Graduation is often a time of reflection when photo albums and yearbooks from the past are reminisced over while dreams of what the future holds are ever present. Our graduation party design was inspired by the magical Polaroid photographs of yesteryear and the slides you’d see projected on the white wall of your grandparents’ basement!

As soon as the calendar flipped to June when I was growing up, it meant every weekend would be jammed packed with graduation open houses. We’d head out right before the lunch hour and return late in the evening with a little too much sun on our faces and way too much food in our bellies! Most of the open houses included full-course meals and, being a gracious guest, I always made sure I ate a bit of something.

Keeping this in mind, I created a buffet focused on one main food item—Sliders. Simplifying the menu allowed me to have fun with the buffet and not overwhelm the guests with too many food choices. It also reduces the stress level of the hostess by allowing her to plan and prep ahead versus making a huge variety of dishes.

The backdrop for the buffet table was created using silver square paper plates attached to a piece of foam board. A Polaroid inspired banner was hung on ribbon using small binder clips from an office supply store. The backdrop was finished off with a graduation tassel inspired bunting in school colors.

The buffet included a SLIDE-rs Bar filled with toppings and condiments for guests to create their very own “custom” burger. As a hostess, I always want to please everyone and “create-your-own” bars are a great way to achieve this. Guests can pick and choose what they like without the worry falling on you!

The toppings and condiments were clearly labeled with photograph and slide inspired cards. It’s always a nice touch to let your guests know what they are eating with either food labels or a menu at the beginning of the buffet.

To round out the buffet, “Healthy Fries”—aka carrot and celery sticks-—were served in school colored fry boxes with “Class of 2012” tags (These have been updated with the current school year!). Veggie Dip was served in taster cups. Portioning food and dips is an easy way for guests to fill their plates quickly and keeps the line moving when you are serving a large guest list.

I always leave plenty of room on my buffets for guests to set their plates down. If they need to take the lid off of a warmer, they will need two hands and this is especially important around beverage dispensers. Watching a guest juggling a plate and cup while trying to turn on the spout of the dispenser is good for a laugh but cleaning up after they spill isn’t quite as fun! The “Picture Yourself Punch” dispenser was topped with a mortarboard and clear cups were embellished with tags. The tags were printed on full-sheet labels, cut out using a 2” circle punch and attached to the cups.

Food was served on servingware that was either square or had square compartments. The squares continued the Polaroid and slide theme throughout party space. A single shape, color scheme or object can create a cohesive and seamless event.

The sweet treats table was backed with white square paper plates accented with school colored tassel bunting. Photographs of the graduate growing up created a “Sweet Memories” photo banner to finish off the backdrop. The desserts continued the square slide theme and were embellished with letter cookies for a graphic twist.

Yearbook favor boxes and “Class of 2012” confetti completed the table décor. The Yearbook favor boxes were a fun way to say, “Thanks for the Memories” and were filled with the graduate’s favorite treat.

Guests were asked to sign a non-traditional guest book which can be framed or placed in a scrapbook. The yearbook inspired 8” x 10” cards had photos of the graduate and their school attached to them to personalize the pages.

Here are some of my favorite party tips and tricks for keeping any size event on budget:

  • Simplify your menu. “Create-your-own” bars allow you to focus on one food item while allowing your guests to have their “favorite” food.
  • Serve finger foods or portioned servings. Usually these don’t require silverware which can be an additional expense.
  • Plan ahead. Finalize your menu so you can stock up on items you need when they go on sale.
  • Use small plates. A guest will feel satisfied when they have filled their plate versus having lots of empty space which makes them feel like they haven’t taken enough.
  • Serve punch instead of soda pop. Punch not only saves you money but it saves space. A beverage dispenser takes up less space than a bucket full of drinks which you have to keep refilling with soda and ice.

The "Picture Your Future" Collection and the Yearbook Favor Boxes are currently available in our shop. I hope you’re inspired to create an affordable and extraordinary celebration for your graduate!

{The "Picture Your Future" Graduation Party was originally designed for and featured in Tots to Teens Magazine’s Spring/Summer 2012 Issue (page 67).}


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