Step 1: Pick a Date. Keep in mind all the other grads will be doing the same. Planning around other family events may allow out of town guests to “double dip” the trip!
Step 2: Set a Budget. Be realistic, parties can be expensive. Each person invited represents an expense. Outline all the options available in regards to locations, food and beverage, decoration, entertainment and rentals such as tables, chairs, tents, etc. Consider the costs for each of these elements and select based on your abilities.
Step 3: Pick a location. Will it be at home, at a public park or at a commercial venue? And depending upon which location you select, what will need to be provided? If you pick your home, then you may need additional tables and chairs. A public park will require all the food preparation and service equipment to be brought in. A commercial venue will be more expensive, initially, but they will have all the necessary items from tables and chairs to food service already provided. So for each location being considered, map out all the items that will need to be provided, assign costs for each and add it all up to see which is actually the better option.
Step 4: Create a Guest List and Mail Invitations. Make a master list of all those you would like to invite. Then based on your budget determine if the number in question will work. Adjust the list if necessary. If you are mailing an invitation confirm and correct all mailing addresses. Select and order the necessary invitations and while you are at it, go ahead and get your thank you cards, too! Be creative with your invitation. It can set the theme of the event.
Step 5: Pick a Theme and Plan Décor. Will it be school colors, a favorite hobby or sport, your college of choice or future occupation? Selecting a theme gives you focus and a goal for making other decisions such as décor, menu and entertainment. Enlist the help of family and friends in assembling any items that work into the theme. School memorabilia, family photos, awards and achievements, uniforms and more can add to the fun. Whether the décor is simply crepe paper and balloons or actual floral centerpieces and props, this can be the most fun in the whole process of planning the celebration. Don’t forget a guest book or some other way of getting guests to leave comments, best wishes or advice for the future.
Step 6: Plan Menu. Get creative! Keep the menu simple but tasty; many people come to the grad party just for the food! If you are on a strict budget, consider asking family members to bring a dish to pass... but be specific so that you don’t end up with mostly desserts and very little else. If you are using a professional caterer, discuss your options and what they can do to coordinate with your selected theme.
Step 7: Plan Activities/ Entertainment. Will it be just a mix and mingle, or will there be games, activities and music. A friend with a great play list on their IPhone and a simple sound system can go a long way.
Step 8: Be the Host/Hostess and Enjoy the Party. As the guest of honor, it is your place to serve as host or hostess. Greet all attendees, welcome them, and give them guidance. Be gracious and thank them for their attendance.
Step 9: Plan for Clean Up. Every party must end. Be prepared for that by making sure that you have plenty of supplies such as garbage bags, boxes and clean up supplies. This is especially true if the party has taken place in a public park or outside venue.
Step 10: Send out Thank You notes! Finally, get “old school” quick and follow up with a heartfelt, handwritten thank you card to all those that attended. Your courtesy will be remembered!
The designs featured in these photos, combine beautiful flowers and festive thematic additions. The tallest design, suitable for a food table uses a glass cylinder as a lift with a black container placed on top looking similar to a mortar board. Off the edge of the container hangs a tassel and in the design is an inflated graduation theme beach ball. Hot pink roses, white snaps and fuchsia dendrobium orchids are the primary flowers.
Additional arrangements were created to be used on the side tables and as centerpieces, they showcase similar flowers and decorative wire. Additional color theme relevant decorative accents such as the congratulatory ribbon, bead wire and colored glass vase help pull the look together. Metallic confetti and a pair of gold glittery “Grad” glasses adds to the fun! Throw in some balloons in black, white, and hot pink, some hot pink linens and black napkins and you have a great party look. Of course, this particular color scheme can be easily changed to reflect your personal choice of colors.
Follow the steps outlined above and with the talents of your local floral designer, create a party to remember for years to come!
J Robbin Yelverton AIFD, AAF, CF, PFCI
Blumz… by JRDesigns Floral & Event Professionals
Detroit & Ferndale, MI