graduation party is being held outside
and you're not sure the weather will
cooperate or you expect a large crowd,
you may need to consider putting up a
tent. Remember, tents are neither simple
Putting up a canopy is neither costly
nor complicated, but a flimsy awning
does absolutely no good if it's raining,
freezing cold, or stifling hot. The only
way to be absolutely secure is to have a
full-fledged tent. Here's what you need
sure your property has an
appropriate spot for a tent.
your property resembles the
Badlands, erecting a tent without
flooring is risky. Not having a
floor leaves you vulnerable to
potential fiascoes. Off-balance
tables and chairs, an uneven dance
floor, and most ruinous, water
seepage. Add hundreds of feet poking
divots in the lawn and, well, you
get the picture.
you are having your graduation party
catered, you will need an additional
tent for the caterer. And where you
have more than one tent you need
canopies and walkways between them.
Consider how you'll light and
decorate the tent. Even if you plan
something simple, it can prove
expensive to disguise that great
expanse and glaring, industrial tent
Heating, albeit primitive, is
affordable, but air conditioning is
very expensive and energy scarfing.
Depending on where you live and the
season, you may need one of them--
Graduation Party Themes
graduation party can be planned around
the grads hobbies, interests, a new
occupation, school colors or the goal of
the graduate? Use one of these as your
theme and build from there. What field
is he/she going into? What sort or
activities does he/she enjoy? Is there
one thing in particular that he/she is
looking forward to after graduation?
alternative to centering the party
around school colors and a general
graduation theme, we recommend that you
center your theme around the graduate's
interests, hobbies, passions, or hopes
and dreams for the future .
– "Graduating Suits You To A
Tee!", or "Teeing up for Indiana
Baseball – "Grand
Slam Graduate…Chase, Class of
2000!", "Take me out to the
Ballgame of Life!"
for Sam's Graduation Party!"
Volleyball – "Serving Up
Wishes for a Brilliant Future!"
Basketball – "Slam
Dunk Graduate…Jacob, Class of
Swimming – "You deserve
plenty of strokes…Happy
– "Max has met his
"Goal"…Graduating with the Class
Wrestling – "Our Hopes
are "Pinned" on a Fantastic
– "Hitting the Slopes of
Life…Wendy, Class of 2000!"
Snowboarding – "
'Snow wonder your future looks
so bright…nothing is downhill
Tennis – "Serving up
wishes for an Ace Graduation",
"Game, Set & Match to a World
Cheerleading – "Give
a yell, Give a Cheer…Lauren's
Cross Country/Track –
"Reagan has reached the Finish
Cycling – ""Wheel" be
celebrating Molly's Graduation!"
– "Bowl Em' Over Shane!"
Martial Arts – "A Focused
Future…Lucas, Class of 2000!"
Fishing – "Casting Wishes
for a "Reel" Successful Future!"
"Setting Sail for New
Horizons!", "Anchors Away for an
Ice Hockey – "Jason
Shoots and Scores Another
Goal…Graduating with the Class
Fanatic – "Happy
TRAVELING- "A World of Wonder
- Hiking/Camping – "Happy Trails
Graduate!" Environmentalist – "Only 18
(19)…Far too Young to be Extinct!",
PUZZLES- "You've made this picture
complete for 18(age) years!!"
"Set the Future to Music", "In 13
Years at School, You've Never Missed a
Beat!", or "The Beat Goes On…Tom's
MOTORCYCLES / HARLEY DAVIDSON -
"Hog Wild!" Graduation
WRESTLING - "Stone Cold Steve
(graduate's name) celebrates Graduation
Coming up Roses"
a Happy Graduation For You!",
HORSEBACK RIDING/EQUESTRIAN-" Wild
Wild West!" or "Happy Graduation
FLYING/HOT AIR BALLOONING/SKYDIVING-
"Flying High Into the Future!", or "The
Sky's the Limit"
This…Samantha is Graduating!"
BUFF – "You made it to the 21st
Century!", "The Future looks so
Bright!", "Boldly going where no
Graduate has gone before…Steve, Class of
2000", "2000…a Graduation Odyssey!"
RAINBOWS/BUTTERFLIES – "Beauty in
the World We See…Rainbows, Butterflies
and our Graduate Julie!
ACTING/PERFORMING/DANCING – "Show
Stopping Graduate…James, Class of 2000",
"One Last Dance!"
only hit the tip of the iceberg
here…have fun being creative! Once you
have selected a theme and a slogan,
center your invitations, decorations,
food, graduation cake, and party favors
around the theme.
Most teens and young adults do not need
a lot of activities. They prefer to just
to mingle, talk with friends, listen to
music & dance.
Band - This is one of the best ways
to kick-off your event! You will
hand-pick ten people from your guest
list to participate. These participants
must be outgoing and enthusiastic. These
participants will be called to the front
just prior to the dancing. They will be
introduced one by one as great musicians
to fanfare and adulation. Each will be
inflatable instrument to
"play", guitars, saxophones, keyboards
and even drums. The band will be asked
to "warm-up" by playing a song together.
They won't know what they will be
playing until they hear the first few
notes from the sound system, but once
they do, it's wild! Your audience will
go crazy watching and clapping along to
your band (give it a catchy name). By
the end of the song, your entire group
will be up on their feet, and most will
be on the dance floor. Although you are
only five minutes into the dance time,
your party will be in full swing.
the best investments you can make to
increase the participation and energy of
your event is to add additional staff
members. Standard are an Emcee and a DJ.
More elaborate parties can feature
Dancers/Party Motivators who dress in
the same attire as the Emcee and are
terrific in leading group dances,
preparing for skits like YMCA,
and passing-out "Party Enhancer"
items during the dancing. The more
interactive you want your event to be,
the more staff you should add. A good
rule of thumb for a very interactive
evening is one staff per 75 guests.
Party Enhancers: Adding specialty party
giveaways such as
guitars and saxophones,
sunglasses, etc. are a great way
to turn your event into a party.
inexpensive autograph books, a
graduation autograph bear
or white T-shirts, set out pins or
permanent markers so guests can sign.
Have videotapes of the senior prom,
school sports events, and the graduation
ceremony itself playing for guests to
invitation, ask each guest to come to
the party with his or her own toast,
tribute or remembrance, in lieu of a
store bought gift. This can take many
different forms: A personal note, a
doodle, a tape recorded message, a video
segment, a message in song form, a poem,
a skit, a photo collage, slide
presentation, or a homemade music video.
The graduate will be tickled with these
gifts straight from the heart
If the idea of having guests come with a
prepared message doesn't appeal to you,
set up a video camera in an area with a
decorated backdrop, and ask guests to
stop by at some point during the party,
and record a more spontaneous message.
Have each guest start by saying "David,
you are special to me/our family
because…". For a more light hearted or
funny memento, have each guest start by
saying "Tiffany, I think your future
holds…", or "Max, I think you are most
likely to…in the future". Throughout the
party you will create a terrific
tribute, filled with warm memories,
funny stories, and the smiling faces of
those who came to honor your child.
If your graduate is going off to
college, research the college and the
city where it is located to create a
trivia game. If the graduate is going to
work for a new company or will be moving
to a new state, research the company or
state for trivia questions.
Ask the graduates present to tell what
they will remember most about their high
school or college years and their
friendship with the guest of honor.
excitement to your party with a
dance along video is a great
activity for a kindergarten graduation,
include dances like: The Hokey Pokey,
The Twist, The Bunny Hop, The Mexican
Hat Dance, The Chicken Dance & More.
will be having a dance, have your DJ
pass out some fun
grad party items
between sets of music. Choose some fun
music to keep your dance floor hopping.
Time in a
Time flies when you're having fun, so
seize the moment and preserve it for the
future in a graduation time
capsule. Ask your
guests to bring a photo, document, or
small object that expresses what was
special about their high school or
college years. Place these mementos in
the capsule. As the capsule is filled,
each grad can tell what they are
contributing and what it means to them.
Place everything in a sturdy trunk or
duffel and open it in five or 10 years.
Store your graduation capsule for a
designated amount of time, and make
plans to open it at a special reunion
party. Create lasting memories for
future generations to share.
Especially perfect for Graduations…cover
a wall with seamless paper and allow
guests to leave messages, clever
doodles, or creative outlines of
themselves for the guest of honor. A
really fun keepsake! Start by creating a
message of welcome or a greeting to the
guest of honor on the sign prior to the
party. The graduate can clip the doodles
and messages after the party and
preserve them in a scrapbook!
Hiring a Band
Talented musicians, like
prime locations, go
fast. No matter how much
time you allot for
planning your event,
finding and booking a
band (if you plan to
have one) should be one
of the first things you
get done. But beware:
looking for the perfect
band can bring on audio
overload. From time to
time you may need a
little "band-aid" in the
form of a few days off
to keep you from hiring
the next group you see
because you can no
longer distinguish one
from the other.
To find the perfect
combo for your party do
Ask friends if they
have been to any
parties lately where
the band kept the
crowd on their feet
Call the banquet
manager of the
nearest large hotel.
Better yet, ask the
captain or maitre
d'. He usually
doesn't have a
vested interest in
he does care a great
deal about one that
runs a good party.
Music agencies and
usually handle a
number of different
kinds of bands and
this is the most
common way to find a
band of whatever
size and style your
and post "Band
Wanted" posters at
If you like the
kind of music that
is showcased at a
nightclub, call the
booker for that club
and for ways to get
in touch with a
Look under bands,
music and weddings
in the Yellow
Other vendors such
caterers, and others
who work on site
with bands usually
know who's hot---and
When you're evaluating a
potential band, remember
If you're given an
audio or video of
the band, consider
its quality. Find
out when the
recording was made
and under what
recorded live, the
quality may be
recordings may be
flawless, but bear
no resemblance to
what the band sounds
stored on computer
disks and played on
augment their sound.
You can't tell from
an audiotape whether
a band uses samples,
so be sure to ask.
Otherwise, you may
feel confounded when
you hear a trumpet
solo with nary a
trumpeter in sight.
Ideally samples are
used to enhance
played rather than
to replace them.
If you're interested
in a band named for
a famous bandleader,
find our whether he
or she is still with
the band or if the
have simply bought
the name. There may
be many bands for
A final note:
A well-fed band is a
happy band. (If your
graduation is for a
college grad and you
will be serving
drinks the band
wouldn't mind a few
Hiring A DJ
a DJ, no
of a DJ
|While it may seem like a thrifty and personal touch to plan on cooking or preparing food for the party, you may find that it is generally best to do as little cooking as possible on the day of the party. Whenever possible choose food that can be prepared a few days prior to the party, or hire caterers, and purchase prepared food from restaurants, delicatessens, and food service markets. There is no need to create extra stress when the party is upon you, and you will have more time to mingle and enjoy the festivities.
A buffet set-up is easiest if the graduation party is in an open-house format. Serve a menu to match the theme of the party if you are using a specific theme, or serve traditional teen favorites such as a taco bar or built-to-order nachos, mini pizzas, burgers and hot dogs, or giant deli sandwiches (Subway™ has a great 6' sandwich). Great staples for a buffet style finger food meal include chicken wings, chicken strips (offer 3 or 4 interesting dipping sauces), meatballs (Swedish or BBQ), mini egg rolls, whole water chestnuts wrapped in bacon, veggies and dip, and an assortment of sandwiches made on mini buns (about 3-4 bite size). Make everything ahead of time, and store hot items in a warming tray, or in an oven set at 200 degrees until the feeding frenzy begins! Scatter several bowls of munchies around the areas where your guests will be mingling…Chips, pretzels, nuts, M&Ms™, popcorn, and Chex™ Mix.
Add a few hearty dips that can be made ahead. Here are a few that are extra easy to make, and are always a big hit:
- CREAM CHEESE DIP: Purchase cream cheese in block form, and top with salsa (flavored salsas are great), cocktail sauce and crabmeat, green pepper jelly, or jam (any flavor works, but apricot is delicious!). If you are feeling adventurous, combine a couple of packages, and mold them into the shape of a graduation cap. Serve with a variety of crackers. Triscuit™ thins are perfect with this dip.
- ARTICHOKE DIP: Mix 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1 cup mayonnaise ("light" is okay to use), and 1-24 oz. can of artichoke hearts, chopped into small pieces. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, and serve with crackers. This dip can be served warm, or at room temperature.
- EASY CHEESY DIP: Add one large block of Velveeta Cheese, one 16 oz. can of chili without beans, and one 16 oz. jar of salsa to a crock pot. Stir occasionally. The dip is ready when the cheese is completely melted. Serve with bite-sized tortilla chips.
- BAKED BRIE: Hollow out an oval loaf of French or sourdough bread, cutting the bread so that you have a "lid". Fill the hole with Brie cheese, and put the lid back on. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Serve with small chunks of bread, or crackers. If the Brie is not to your taste, fill the bread with any other type of dip, such as a creamy spinach dip.
- SHRIMP COCKTAIL: Serve on ice, along with cocktail sauce. This is a little more costly than most items you might plan to serve, but it will make your guests feel special, and the color looks terrific on a buffet.
It is also perfectly acceptable to serve only cake and punch, or a small dessert buffet at a graduation open house.
If you are entertaining a crowd with a good sense of humor, add a fun farewell to school by renting or borrowing the "cafeteria" trays from a local school to use as either serving dishes, or as plates for guests to eat from. As an alternative, stack "brown bag" lunches on a serving table for guests to pick up!
Fun Graduation Treats
Cap off your child's graduation party with a these treats. Place a miniature peanut butter cup, bottom up, on a plate. Top with a small dollop of frosting or peanut butter, then press on a chocolate covered graham cracker. For a tassel, tightly roll up a small square of fruit leather. Cut fringe in one end and attach the other end to the center of the graham cracker with another dab of frosting or peanut butter.
Strawberry Jell-O Cake: Make jell-o in a grad pan and just outline it in white icing and you're finished!
Graduation Recipes by Betty Crocker - Mini Cupcake Mortarboards, topped with edible tassels.
Wilton.com - Graduation Cakes & Cake Supplies.
Sugarcraft.com - Take a look at the coolest Graduation cake photos.
Kathy's Kakes LLC - Graduation Cake Photos
Joann.com - craft supplies, stickers, tassels & etc.