Celebrate your graduate with these tips for the best bash yet
By Marisa Ramiccio | May 15, 2013
Lifestyles, Seminole Chronicle.com
The stress of taking tests, passing classes and getting into good colleges is over for the class of 2013, and the moment students have been waiting for has finally arrived. For some, this is the end of their academic careers, while for others it’s a whole new beginning. But for everybody who’s graduating, it’s time to celebrate.
For many graduates, their graduation party is a last hurrah — a final chance to party with friends before heading off to college. Although the party should be memorable, it doesn’t have to be over the top.
Dana Plumtree, the chief administrative officer for Good 2 Go Event Management in Oviedo, suggests mixing creativity with personalization for a special experience.
“We have done a couple of things — school colors, most commonly — but another thing you can do is, for example, if someone has a job lined up, you can incorporate that into the theme,” Plumtree said. “In doing so, you may want to incorporate both the school colors and where they’re headed.”
The graduate’s career path may also be incorporated into the gifts. For instance, Plumtree said that if someone is planning on becoming an engineer, try to find gifts that have an engineering feel and personalize them.
Personalized gifts are actually a big trend for 2013 graduates, according to a release from arts and crafts retailer Michaels. Personalized shoes are quite popular, as are personalized jewelry and T-shirts. But when it comes to gifts for high school grads, Plumtree said it’s best to choose things that are practical.
“Most people tend to give money because it’s so advantageous and useful for the graduate,” she said.
Aside from the gifts, one of the most important parts of any party is the food. But coming up with a menu for a large group of people can be tough, so going to a restaurant or hiring a caterer can make things much easier for the host.
Aaron Butler, the owner and chef of Creations Catering & Events in Sanford, said that it can be tough for people to tackle the menus for a grad parties by themselves, which is where he comes in. Butler has catered a number of graduation parties and events, including Trinity Prep’s 2013 prom.
When it comes to events like these, finger food is key. Chicken fingers, dip and chips, vegetable platters, sliders and empanadas are food items that Butler likes to serve. He said the rule of thumb is to serve three to five hot items and three to four cold items, including fruits, vegetables, meat and something vegetarian friendly.
“We always try to keep vegetarians in mind, so we always do some kind of snack like spinach and artichoke dip or tomato bruschetta,” Butler said.
For kindergarten and elementary school graduates, Butler said it’s important to keep the menu healthy but fun. Grilled chicken fingers, fruit cups and guacamole have all been popular among little partiers.
You can also plan a party around the food. Erin Calabritto, an event planner for Just Events Group in Orlando, suggests throwing a backyard barbecue or picnicking at a local park for middle school or elementary school graduates.
For little girls in particular, a tea party at Dickens Coffee & Tea Room in Lake Mary may be the best way to celebrate.
“What’s cuter than little ladies and gentlemen dressed in their best, enjoying miniature pastries and sipping tea in the festive ambiance of Dickens?” Calabritto said. “With graduation comes a sense of moving on and growing up, so why not do something a little bit more mature to celebrate?”
Whether grads celebrate with a pool party or big bash, the most important thing they can do is communicate with the host about what they want at the party.
“Allowing them to be involved in the planning process and taking their requests seriously will help you tailor the party to their unique personality,” Calabritto said.
Of course, if the host wants to be more involved with the party and less involved with the planning, he or she can always rent out a facility where most of the work will be done for them or hire a party planner.