You guys are really in for something crazy with this blog post. This is the first really big party I have thrown and I think I did pretty well all things considered! I am going in on how I planned our grad party through every detail mostly. You asked and you shall receive.
The very first thing you need to decide is your budget. The budget will help you figure out what’s achievable and what’s important for your party.
Our party had a high priority on decor and food/drinks. For us, that makes a good party. The other things luckily fell into place. There are so many details you need to take into consideration when budgeting and I will detail those in the rest of the sections.
This will help you figure out how many people you want to invite or can afford to invite based on what your priorities are. Joining together on this also made it so we could have a bigger budget for the party which = more fun!
To get super organized I created a Google document. I had 6 sheets to keep me even MORE organized.
My expenses sheet look like this. I had each item listed with a checkbox next to it so when we purchased it, we could cross it off. The bottom of the list included totals for each section and then a grand total.
The next thing you need to do is decide a theme. That theme will guide the rest of your decisions.
We went with Palm Springs. We wanted bright colors but something that wasn’t going to be too basic or done before.
When planning your theme, a good place to start is with Pinterest boards.
In my board, I included different sections like the ones below, like food, decor, and pictures. If you want some inspo, click the link below!
My graduation Pinterest Board! 🌴
Location/ Venue / Date + Time
We figured the most family-cozy and cost-effective location for our party would be Zack’s backyard. It is huge and perfect for a large crowd. On the one hand, it was perfect and on the other, we had a lot of work to do 😂
It took us a couple of months, lots of exhausting work and help from our loved ones to get the yard into tip-top shape. Zack and I are very proud of what we accomplished and a major amount of the credit goes to him.
Once we had decided his house was our venue we just had to send out our invites.
I made this invite myself using the app Canva. I printed them out and mailed them. I will say, invites are tricky and people will ALWAYS bail, even at the last moment. With that being said, I suggest requiring RSVP’s instead of only asking for regrets. Honestly, make that an even bigger font if you can.
Food + Drinks
This was our little candy bar set up in the cabana before we brought it out to the rightful place. I talk about that later and you will see lol. The cookies we got from Cookieteria. The owner was super sweet and gave us what we were looking for!
We sent over a picture from Pinterest and she pulled through! I would definitely recommend her to anyone in the LA area. She can do it all. Check her out on IG as well, @cookieteriaby_lovely
We had our food and drinks set up in the same area. We had Bristol Farms cater the food and they did an awesome job! In the picture of the drinks, they aren’t quite set up yet but in the pics below they are!
I made some floral ice to go in our wine bucket. It wasn’t too hard to make and I think it was totally worth it! I just took flowers from my yard. Boiled some water, let it cool and then did two layers of flowers. SO happy with how these came out. Definitely will continue to do these for future parties.
We decided to have two specialty cocktail drinks. The super popular one was the “pulling-an-all-nighter” drink, which had Red Berry Ciroc and Cranberry Mango juice. We also had tons of non-alcoholic choices like horchata, iced tea, lemonade, soda and juices.
For the decorations, I wasn’t able to get really good pictures of EVERYTHING but I got what I could, with the help from my mom. I had huge 2019 balloons and more balloon arches in the entrance of his driveway but didn’t get a pic of that stuff.
Here was the grad table where we displayed our grad caps, tassels and some pictures. The frame with pictures of both of us has pictures of zack and I from our high school graduation as well as our own grad pics from college.
On the left side of the table I had a box for cards, return addresses and advice. A lot of the decor I got at Moskatels in Downtown LA. For the boxes, I found them at Hobby Lobby and Michaels. I used construction paper to make the signage and cover the boxes. I also strung them up with jute string and small clothespins. I made the template for the advice cards myself using Canva again.
To make the balloon arches I used the kits from Amazon with the rolls of “tape” and inflated the balloons with an air compressor. Since helium is at a low, making decorations without helium is a good and fairly easy move! I have plenty of it left and I was able to make four 10 foot arches with less than 200 balloons.
$11.99 for 98 feet
$12.99 for 104
Some decorations like the letterboard, I already owned. Other stuff I borrowed from my family. The last picture with the congrats banner in gold was supposed to have our candy but I didn’t get a picture of that lol. We ended up putting the most delicious guacamole and salsa Zack’s aunt made in that spot for a while. We also made caramel apples that were SO good. I will probably make a blog post showing you how and it was super easy.
The rentals we went super basic with! We got the round tables and chairs with a couple standing tables. Luckily my moms friend Monica, is very well connected with party planning and vendors.
Luckily for me, I have the expert work of my Grandparents and Aunt Diane. We work on wedding flowers throughout the year and they know the ins and outs of florals. I set a budget for $100 for all the arrangements and achieved just that. Absolutely stunning and they are still alive, even four days later.
I made the little succulent pots aside from our flower budget and included it in our decorations budget. I just got little pots from Moskatels and painted them my theme colors. I cut some succulents from my Grandpa’s yard and some from Zack’s yard.
Okay, the hard work is done. The party is set up and people are arriving. Whatever didn’t end up getting done or turn out the way you thought, it’s fine. The part where you get to enjoy the people you love is here!
This was the easy part. Zack and I had such a blast. It even started raining at the ending of the night and that didn’t stop us. We just kept dancing 😂
Thank you to everyone who made this happen. We appreciate every single little thing that made this what it was. It was SUCH a journey and it is crazy to think it is over now.. the party not just college lol.
Thank you to my parents for giving me all the resources I would need to be successful and achieve this. You make sure I am happy, thriving and given as many opportunities that you can give me. Also, thank you to my sister and parents for coming through on helping fix up the backyard. My entire family has always supported this dream of mine and now it is time to kick it into high gear.
Thank you to Zack’s family for raising such a strong willed and amazing young man. Also, for pulling together everything you possibly could to make this a reality for us.
Thank you to Zack. You always pushed me to do better and praised me when I needed it. Thank you for absolutely giving this party (and subsequently me) your all. You went above and beyond. Now we get to enjoy this hard work for a week and relax… of course, while still getting some work done. I love you, we did it 🎓🍾
I am beyond excited and scared for the future but it’s mine and what I decide to make of it. I hope you all have been sitting tight on this journey cause I am ready to give my 1,000,000,000% to this blog. Let’s catch the wave! 🌊