Grad Party Planning Tips, The Decor

Graduation Napkins

In our area, High School graduations traditionally call for celebrating with an open house to culminate the student’s accomplishments and thank all those who have taught, mentored and been friends with the special graduate through the years. It’s a wonderful reason to pool all the people the graduate’s known from all the different areas of their life and be in one place celebrating! We’ve been anticipating (and planning) Happy Girl’s High School Graduation party for the past year!

I suppose if you don’t enjoy party planning, one would dread hosting this type of event at your home. Like one of my long-time-friend’s once said, “It’s like hosting a wedding reception at your home without having any RSVP’s.” Yes…kinda scary. But kinda fun if you’re up to the challenge! And I love party planning!

We’ve already hosted our first grad party in June of 2014 for Big Boy and it was such a special day. We spent months putting in a new patio and refreshing all sorts of chairs and tables for the occasion. I see party planning as a great excuse to get some projects done, because we seem to need a deadline to kick us into gear! Do I hear an Amen?

As I talked about in my post, “Party Theme Building: Where To Start” {Here}, I like to focus the whole party on the special person themselves, what they love, what motivates them, the colors they look good in and wear! In 2014, for Big Boy’s party towards the end of June, it made sense to use a lot of metal and car stuff because he’s always been a motorhead. And using Americana classic colors of red, white, and blue, with some yellow fit his all-american boy personality and the fact that it was almost the 4th of July.

Graduation party decor

Flowers in a toolbox.

License plate box with garden flowers.

He hadn’t anticipated what a special day it would be to be surrounded by so many people who had poured into his life through the years. Even at the young age of 18, he thanked me afterward for creating such a special day for him and those who care about him. Yes…a good mom moment, for sure;)

So way back at the end of last summer, when I saw some decor items on clearance at Target, my wheels started turning for Happy Girl’s party this June…

Paper flower topiaries.

Crepe paper flowers.

Crepe paper party garlands.

The colors of these crepe paper flowers just looked like her- the pinks, corals and reds with the pop of yellow are her comfort zone. Who needs to decorate the grad party with the school colors of navy blue and red? Not me! I started filling up my cart…

Gold polka-dotted coasters.

Triangle bunting.

I debated on the coordinated polka-dot coasters and bunting, but knew they could bring an added texture to the party. And I figured I don’t need to use the coasters as coasters, right? She loves the glitz of a little gold and polka dots just make one feel happy, don’t they?

Once you have a starting color theme and some elements, it’s so much easier for all the other party details to fall into place.

Sure enough, when I was at some other stores, their end of summer clearance items, just jumped out at me…

When at Michaels, I picked up some coordinating paper goods:

Gold polka dotted paper items.

Gold word decorative accents.

Because I’d already decided I’d use the gold and the polka dots, these clearance items would add some fun elements to the picture and memories displays.

And then, while shopping at Home Goods, I spied some clearanced grad napkins with the same gold polka dots-score! If there’s not quite enough, I’ll just go every other with some plain ones.

Grad party napkins.

Not only is it great to take advantage of end-of-the season clearance items, it’s easier on the budget to spread it over several months, rather than having to buy it all before the party, when the budget needs to go to the food itself!

At Christmas time, the red marquee letters were all on sale at Michaels, so her name decided to pop in my cart. She’s a theater girl, so giving the party a little Broadway glitz seems appropriate.

Marquee letters in red.

Broadway styled stencil alphabet

All these party decor items got tucked into a storage bin to rest over the winter. But as I was hitting the church sales {“For the Love and Comfort of Church Sales, Here}, I had the colors and the themes in my head, so I could pick up some more cheap items to fill out the party.

Gold accented decor items.

White doilys

I don’t usually use much gold around my house, so when I spied some brass items for less than a dollar, I figured I can add them to my white milkglass for centerpieces. And the doilies are going to be made into bunting for our porch, because the blue and white ticking bunting just gave such a festive flair to Big Boy’s party (in the above pic), I knew I needed a girly version for Happy Girl’s party;)

Even while I was curbside junking {“Curbside Junking Adventures and Tips”, Here}, I found items for the party!

Vintage frames.

Paper party decor.

You see, once you have the theme and colors in your head, the pieces to the puzzle just all fall into place and you’ll have more than enough (at great prices, or free) to decorate your party with!

I’ve been busy scrounging the church sales and roadside piles for cheap and free chairs and tables for this garden party grad party, because I’m kind of morally opposed to plastic and paying rental for plastic chairs. I’ll be showing you these projects in the next couple of weeks…

But I was so excited to find some fabrics to coordinate with the whole theme, so we can refresh the patio cushions and sew some centerpiece squares with. And adding some aqua as a backdrop to all the pinks and corals seems not too far off from the school colors of red and blue;) Besides, I can easily live with these patterns and colors in my yard till the next grad party (in two years!).

Summertime fabrics.

Glass jar drink containers.

I think the girly, garden party-themed graduation party is coming together! Now just to finish staining the deck, touchup the white trim on the house, spray paint 5 patio tables and refresh about 20 chairs…and plant about a million flowers…no problem…I’ve still got a month!

But do you see how just finding some beginning decor items, or even a fabric can snowball your party theme planning? Start early and you can take advantage of past-season sales and freebies, like I did! And your party will be much more original and fitting for the special someone you are celebrating.

More grad party posts will be coming in the next month, I’m sure! Stay tuned.

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