HOW TO THROW A GREAT GRADUATION PARTY

Today I’m getting a little sentimental because my son Taylor is about to graduate from college.  I simply can’t believe it has been 4 years since I threw him a party for his high school graduation.

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHow To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

It has taken me 4 years to accomplish this but I am finally making Taylor a photo album of his high school graduation photos.  I’m giving it to him as one of his college graduation presents.  So, I thought I’d share some graduation memories with you too, and give you some tips on how to throw a great graduation party. All of my parties start with my chalkboard. For Taylor’s graduation party my artist friend Brenda drew this great scene depicting Taylor’s journey……

HOW TO THROW A GREAT GRADUATION PARTY | Find all the details at www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

from Rim of the World High School here on our mountain top……

HOW TO THROW A GREAT GRADUATION PARTY | Find all the details at www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

to Duke University in North Carolina.

HOW TO THROW A GREAT GRADUATION PARTY | Find all the details at www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I have a forest for a backyard which comes in handy when I need dinner seating for a crowd.  For lighting we strung inexpensive string lights in the tree tops.  I purchased them from Target here.

HOW TO THROW A GREAT GRADUATION PARTY | Find all the details at www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I made the blue gingham check tablecloths from vinyl coated fabric I purchased from JoAnn’s Fabrics & Crafts here .  This fabric is the perfect width for a table and did not require any sewing.  It was also easy because I got JoAnn’s to cut my tablecloths the perfect length for each table.

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I also purchased some white felt fabric here, cut it into squares and tied it up around pots of flowers I got at Home Depot.

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I added small Duke Pendants to the pots and voila……I had easy to make and inexpensive centerpieces!  Candle light came from small white votive candles placed in mason jars.

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

For additional seating we used log stumps and hung paper lanterns in the trees above.

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Now, lets head on up to the house and I’ll show you what I did on the terrace.

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I set up a self-serve non-alcoholic bar for the kids.  I filled metal tubs with ice and cans of soft drinks.

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

There was lemonade and iced tea in drink dispensers that I bought at Costco. Duke University cocktail napkins came from the student store on campus and I got the small hanging chalkboards here.

HOW TO THROW A GREAT GRADUATION PARTY | Find all the details at www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Snacks served in white tin tubs were placed near the drinks.

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

More string lights were strung on the terrace where I also set up a S’mores Bar.

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I filled large glass canisters with all the fixings for the S’mores.

HOW TO THROW A GREAT GRADUATION PARTY | S'MORES BAR |Find all the details at www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Target sells the jars here. Then I had my kids collect long sticks from the forest to use as marshmallow roasting skewers.

S'mores Bar | How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Chairs were placed around a portable fire pit.

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Later in the evening the kids had fun roasting marshmallow and eating their S’mores as a late night snack.

HOW TO THROW A GREAT GRADUATION PARTY | Find all the details at www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHow To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

A buffet table was set up on the terrace.  I strung paper plates through twine to make a bunting decoration for the table.

HOW TO THROW A GREAT GRADUATION PARTY | Find all the details at www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The plastic tablecloths, paper napkins and large plastic salad bowls all came from Smart & Final.

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The menu was written on a small framed chalkboard that was displayed on an easel. I purchased both here at Save On Crafts.  By the way, SaveOnCrafts.com is my all-time-favorite resource for party supplies.

HOW TO THROW A GREAT GRADUATION PARTY | Find all the details at www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I made Carolina Style BBQ’d Pulled Pork in honor of Taylor’s future at Duke University, located in North Carolina.  I also made Red Potato Salad and Peanut Coleslaw, two of my most delicious original recipes. Click here for my recipe for The World’s Best Red Potato Salad recipe and click here for my delicious Peanut Coleslaw Recipe.

HOW TO THROW A GREAT GRADUATION PARTY | Find all the details at www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

We set up a self-serve adult bar inside with margaritas, beer and wine.

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I even got Duke Blue Devils coasters for the bar.

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Another chalkboard warned teenage guests that this bar was for those 21 years and over.

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Taylor’s graduation gifts were wrapped in Duke wrapping paper and a plush Duke pillow was used as a gift tie-on.

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHow To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

A cupcake station was set up inside.  The banners hanging from the chandelier were made using free alphabet clip art from Martha Stewart.

HOW TO THROW A GREAT GRADUATION PARTY | Find all the details at www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHow To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I made flag buntings by cutting blue and white felt into banners and stringing them through white twine.

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

My daughter-in-law helped me make a scrapbook for Taylor.

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

We included all of the college admission letters and scholarship offers he received, along with a lot of other high school memorabilia.  The memory book was put on display on a table in the foyer……

HOW TO THROW A GREAT GRADUATION PARTY | Find all the details at www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

and guests were asked to write a message to Taylor for the book.

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHow To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

For party favors I recorded a CD with great party music.  Here is a link to my Graduation Party Music Playlist.

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHow To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Taylor and his friends had a great time singing along to some of the songs.

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

A really good time was had by all……

How To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHow To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHow To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHow To Throw A Great Graduation Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

and we created memories that will last a lifetime.  It was a very good night.

HOW TO THROW A GREAT GRADUATION PARTY | Find all the details at www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I hope I gave you lots of inspiration for your own graduation party.

So there you have it: HOW TO THROW A GREAT GRADUATION PARTY

Thanks for dropping in!  Do please leave a comment below.  I’d love to hear from you!

All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Unless otherwise credited, all photos are the original property of Celia Becker @ www.AfterOrangeCounty.com and may not be reproduced without specific permission. This post may contains affiliate links which help me to keep this site running.

Comments

  • Geraldine Calvo

    Thank you! Great ideas..I can’t believe there are no comments!

  • Glad I could share some helpful ideas with you. This was one of my earliest blog posts and at the time I had not installed a comment section. So, I’m happy you are the first to do so. Thank you!

  • Li

    What a beautiful party.

  • liza

    Loved all of your ideas! Planning my daughter’s high school grad party right now and I am going to use many of your ideas!!!!

  • Debbee Marsh Tomczyk

    I am decorating for our 50th high school reunion and love your paper plate table skirt!! I would like to copy your idea but I need your help to know what you used for the black and the white on the paper plates. Sharpies don’t seem to be as solid and bold as your letters and numbers. Also did you use stencils for the letters and numbers and a template for the hat and if so which ones? You certainly have a knack for envisioning and bringing to life an elegant party!!! Thank you for sharing your ideas.

  • Hi Debbee. Thanks for your kind comments. I’m sorry to say that I purchased the paper plates with the design printed on them already. They came that way. I guess you won’t be able to find ready-printed plates for a reunion but maybe you could find them with a graduation design printed on them. Sorry I didn’t have better news for you. Have a great party!

  • Thank you!

  • Thank you Li!

  • gailoliver

    I’m planning a graduation party from high school for my son. I will use all of your party suggestions! They are wonderful!

  • Hi Gail. Thanks so much. Congrats to your graduate, have a wonderful party.