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Old 02-19-2013, 11:25 AM   #1
pigget74
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Graduation Time

I need help planning a budget graduation party. Around here it is very common for the graduating seniors to have a senior party. A lot of time they go in with friends and throw a big party. Almost every weekend from Spring Break to graduation something is going on somewhere. My son and a group of friends will be having one---not sure what kind yet.

Graduation day---there is another party. This is the one that I was going to do with a friend, but there are just too many people to make it work. Graduation is at 10 on a Saturday morning. We will have about 30 family members and about 20 friends to feed for lunch. We leave the next morning for Disney.

I need ideas on what to serve and how to decorate.

Thanks.
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Last edited by pigget74; 02-19-2013 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:55 PM   #2
MrEVILdrPorkchop2u
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigget74
I need help planning a budget graduation party. Around here it is very common for the graduating seniors to have a senior party. A lot of time they go in with friends and throw a big party. Almost every weekend from Spring Break to graduation something is going on somewhere. My son and a group of friends will be having one---not sure what kind yet.

Graduation day---there is another party. This is the one that I was going to do with a friends, but there is just too many people to make it work. Graduation is at 10 on a Saturday morning. We will have about 30 family members and about 20 friends to fee for lunch. We leave the next morning for Disney.

I need ideas on what to serve and how to decorate.

Thanks.
We are in the same boat. We are planning on having a party with his 2 best friends. Our idea is we are having a "college" tailgate party. Our son and the one friend are both attending large Universities and the other friend is attending a small college. We are going to ask people to wear their favorite college attire. Will be doing decorations in the college colors. My suggestion would be to take a look at Pinterest. Great ideas on there. Will be serving tailgate type foods and do some tailgate games, (corn-hole etc).
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:09 PM   #3
goodfood4ursoul
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Smile practicalities of the grad party

We have thrown 2 budget grad parties in our home on our farm, with guests both inside and outside the house.

My first consideration is food- what to serve and how to keep it safe while serving it.
DD's party was tropical themed due to purchasing invites on the mark down at Wal-Mart about 8 months in advance, lol.

I bought an inexpensive, bright pink and yellow floral blow up infant wading pool (6 inches deep), filled it with ice and used that for serving cold dishes (potato salad, cold cuts, veggies and dip, fruit platter)- simply set the bowls and platters down in the ice.

When DS graduated 3 years later the theme was his new college colors- red and blue,
so I bought extra plastic table cloths and lined the tropical wading pool with the navy blue plastic and voila'-
instant transformation and kept the food cold and accessible.

I served the food inside- topped my wooden table with layers of newspaper, a table cloth, and then the pool on top of that, in case of leaks and/or discoloration of the wood.
We kept hot foods hot using crock pots and that worked very well.

We had tables for eating set up outside and on the porches, a volleyball net set up in the yard,
beach balls, lots of bubbles, lots of freezer pops in plastic sleeves, and a horse shoe pit as well.

We have a very large family, none closer than 2 hours away, and lots of kids of all ages so we wanted there to be plenty to do for everyone.
We had at least 50 for each party.

I feel like the key to hosting that many is to plan ahead, fix ahead, have realistic expectations and then relax and enjoy once the party gets started.

Not kidding here, I had my time for weeks planned out in preparation for hosting our crowd: ( It's been 3 years and I still have my party plans saved, lol) But all that effort paid off and we had a great day together celebrating our graduate. Plan your work and work your plan and things will go well

Menu:
Pork BBQ, rolls, deli sliced turkey and roast beef cold cuts, squeeze mayo, pickles, etc

Tater salad, coleslaw, raw veggie platter & ranch dip, baked beans, chips, cheese ball with crackers, fruit platter, 2 lbs cubed cheese

Drinks: kool aid and sweet tea in pitchers in the house with cups, water cooler outside with cups, half cans of soda (on front porch and by tables in tubs with ice)

Dessert: grad cake, strawberry cake, rice krispie treats, frozen cream puffs (sam’s club or Costco?)
Push up popsicles

Have already made:

12 lbs Home smoked Pork BBQ
100 rolls

Will be making:
More rolls
Potato Salad
Coleslaw
Baked Beans (purchase already)
Cheese ball
Need to buy:
CostCo :
Hot dogs
BBQ sauce
Plastic ware
Napkins

Wal-Mart:
Milk and cream
2 lbs thin sliced turkey
2 lbs thin sliced roast beef
5 lbs butter (for cake frosting )
s,all Cans of soda
Crackers
Rice Krispies
2 bags large marshmallows
2 bags small marshmallows
10 lbs. Sugar
Dk choc chips
1 large squeeze mayo
Cucumbers 4
Baby carrots 2 lbs
Yellow & red peppers3 each
Broccoli 2 heads
Celery 1
4 limes
3 packs coleslaw mix
Large Light Ranch dip
Cream cheese
Aged cheddar cheese
Luzianne tea
Frozen cream puffs
freezer pops

Food schedule:
5/27 Fri Make strawberry cake and freeze
5/28 Sat Make more rolls
5/30 Mon Make frosting(freeze)
5/31 Tues Make Tea & Kool Aid and store in trailer fridge
6/1 Wed Thaw frozen meats in trailer fridge
6/1 Wed Make cheese ball
6/2 Thurs Cut Veggies
6/2 Thurs Make Cole Slaw Dressing
6/3 Fri Mix Cole slaw
6/3 Friday Make chocolate cake
6/3 Friday Decorate both cakes
6/3 Fri Make potato salad
6/4 Sat (graduation day! ) heat the Baked Beans


Cleaning Schedule:
5/26 Thurs- Declutter MR
5/27 Fri- Declutter LR
5/27 Fri- DR cleanup
5/28 Sat- clean fridge TRAILER
5/28 Sat- clean fridge HOUSE
5/29 Sun- clean woodwork down
5/30 Mon- RT room super clean
5/30 Mon Laundry super clean
5/30 Mon set aside serving dishes
5/31 Tuesday LAUNDRY DONE
6/1 Wed down bath super clean
6/1 Wed RT room inspection/move
6/1 Wed. set up table in DR
6/2 Thursday declutter again

Outdoor Schedule:
5/26 Thursday mow outer acres
5/27 Fri Burn the Pit
5/28 Sat mow inner yard
5/28 Sat am weed flowers
5/29 Sun am weed flowers
6/1 Wednesday mow outer
6/2 Thursday- pick up tables!!!
6/2 Thursday mow inner
6/3 Fri Clean & Sweep porch/walks
6/3 Friday set up tent/VB net/horseshoes
6/4 Sat put up dogs & feed cats
6/4 Sat tablecloths & coolers
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:38 PM   #4
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Subscribing to this thread! Our families are large, then add in friends we want to invite plus DD's friends and we're easy looking at 200-250 people! And this group stays for a LONG time so I'll need to have a meal, then plenty of stuff to keep snacking on through the evening.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:31 PM   #5
pigget74
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Thank you! This is so helpful! We are looking at doing just this and then doing a dessert bar as well. We have about 2 acres of land so we will have different activities as well.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:35 PM   #6
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We had more than 150 people for my son's graduation last year. I had 3 different stations

Italian
Hot sausage with peppers and onions
Rigatoni
Meatballs
Salad
Rolls

All-American
Fried chicken
Baked Beans
Coleslaw

plus a cookie table featuring Italian and old family favorites.

Tex-Mex
We served (in a roaster with dividers)
1. shredded chicken
2. carnitas
3. ground beef

with
refried beans
Spanish rice
black bean and corn salad

flour tortillas
hard taco shells
snack bags of Fritos and Doritos for "walking tacos"
tortilla bowls for taco salads

shredded lettuce
sour cream
hot and mild salsa
homemade salsa with cilantro
minced cilantro (I'm vehemently pro-cilantro, but i know some hate it)
shredded cheese
diced jalapenos
sliced jicama

a nacho cheese fountain ( just used a chocolate fountain...worked beautifully)
tortillas chips

For dessert, I made fruit salsa and served it with cinnamon tortilla chips and churros.


Plus the biggest hit of all - a candy buffet. Most popular were satellite wafers, candy necklaces and candy "sticks" (aka...for the non-PC...candy cigarettes) And the adults were more excited than the kids!
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:11 PM   #7
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We had a party for DD last year. We had a big chicken tender platter, homemade mac & cheese, fruit salad, veggie tray, and several dips/chips. Dessert was a Costco cake and DD also made cake pops which were a huge hit.

We rented a few tables & chairs, which were much cheaper than I expected. I ordered decorations & paper products from Oriental Trading Co. The quality was just ok but served the purpose.

We had a video of pics and a collage of other pics, including friends & DD over the years. I wish I had taken more pics, it was a fun night!

Congrats to you & your DS!
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StephMK View Post

...We rented a few tables & chairs, which were much cheaper than I expected. I ordered decorations & paper products from Oriental Trading Co. The quality was just ok but served the purpose...
Another low cost or free possible source of chairs/tables is your church or another civic group you belong to.

I obtained permission to borrow chairs and tables (free!) from our local Cooperative Extension, where I work and also volunteer.
I just had to go on down with our truck and pick them up.
Because I am a county employee I also had access to free ice...

Because people tend to walk around with their food at parties, we purchased high quality thick paper plates (Chinet style) from Sam's Club instead of going with the themed plates.
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Old 02-21-2013, 06:48 AM   #9
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wow some really good ideas here
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:48 AM   #10
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Working on planning my oldest DS grad party right now. Here's what we have come up with for the menu:

On the grill: ribs, brats, hot dogs, and probably some type of chicken

Sides: mac & cheese, potato salad, baked beans, fruit tray or fruit salad, veggies & dip

Instead of a cake, he wants a cupcake tower with all of his homemade favorites: mountain dew, Smores, choc/pb, coconut creme, strawberry & cream, and probably two or three others. Everyone can eat them at the party and then we will have takeout boxes so everyone can take their favorite cupcakes home with them!

Drinks will be containers of homemade sweet tea and bottles of soda/water.

We have rented space at our local preserve and will have the party there. Room enough we can have horseshoes, volleyball, etc. Just hafta keep our fingers crossed that the weather is good.
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Old 02-21-2013, 06:52 PM   #11
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goodfood4ursoul-- you are my HERO! That's the kind of planning I tend to do, and DH always teases me. But it helps me avoid stress when I know I have a plan.
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