Here it is – the grad party recap!
We had the best time and everything went well, so all of the planning and project work really paid off.
It rained all that morning and part of the afternoon that day. It had stopped by about 2:00 and the party started at 3:00, so we got lucky. It was also quite cool for this time of year (it was in the 60′s), but I think that worked well, too. Because the weather really is unpredictable here, most people plan the parties in a garage or rent tents. When we built the house, we turned the garage away from the house, which gave us about an extra 1,000 square feet of workshop/garage space. Once we got the garage cleaned out (wailing, nashing of teeth), we had plenty of room in the garage. Just to be safe, we popped a few extra tables outside once the rain stopped, too.
I really have to start out by saying that these two ladies made the party the hit that it was. These are my best friends, Julie (left) and Missy (right). They offered to run food out, take pictures, change the trash bags when they were full and basically do all the stuff it is hard to do when you are supposed to be hosting (and welcoming guests to) a party.
Julie and Missy came a couple of hours early and helped get the food out, so they knew the plan and worked in the kitchen to make chop and prep more as needed, as well as refill things as they emptied.
Our food consisted of smoked pork, potato salad (Chandler’s favorite), coleslaw, chips, giant pickle spears (also a Chandler favorite), grapes and strawberries.
Instead of a cake, Chandler had his heart set on a soft serve ice cream maker. We saw someone else use one at a grad party a couple of years ago, and given how much our family loves ice cream, it was a no-brainer.
We set it up as a DIY Sundae Bar, with a few options: rootbeer for floats, brownies and crushed Oreos to mix in and chocolate caramel for toppings. We put out clear cups and spoons and called it dessert!
And while the ice cream was a BIG hit, I daresay that the pork stole the show. Steve lucked out and happened to be talking with his cousin a week before the party about the food, and his cousin offered up this awesome smoker that he built. Yes, he built that! Steve got up at 6 that morning, and worked on it all day. It was delicious and there wasn’t any left over (boo)! Now Steve is looking for any excuse he can to roast some pork.
Decorating the inside was probably my favorite part. We wrote helpful notes on our chalkboard door. That is probably one of the projects that I received the most compliments on – isn’t that funny? Something so simple! I think there might be a few more chalkboard doors popping up among our family and friends!
I cut circles (using my Silhouette) and glued them to baker’s twine for some fun decorations to hang from the ceiling. They did not completely cover up the ‘garage’ factor, but they did detract from the less beautiful aspects of a garage and added some fun school color to the event. They also were great to draw attention to the food and picture areas, so people knew where to look for things.
Next to the beverages, we had a small table with a photo board of Chandler diving. Again, to detract from the reality of garage decor, we hung up some of Chandler’s sport sweatshirts and his letter jacket. By the way, we kept the beverages simple with water (with lemon and lime wedges), lemonade and beer.
Pictures are so fun, and lots of people do picture boards (we had a couple up – one of just diving shots and one that we had done for Senior night during dive season), but with digital pictures so abundant, we felt it was more practical to have a slide show. So we set one up in a corner of the garage. It rotated through about 400 pictures every 20 minutes or so. We just let it run during the whole party and we did not have it set to music, because how annoying would it be to hear the same songs every 20 minutes for 9 hours?
The tables were covered with plastic table cloths and we ran some tulle down the center of each table. Most tables had jars that I painted from the inside with the school colors. Those were filled with hosta leaves. We also put some pictures on the table and held them down (and decorated the bare spots) with colored stones that I happened upon in our school colors.
And here are some shots with the garage all filled up and the party in full swing, just like nature intended. Or at least like we intended, I guess. It was a great day and a lot of fun!
Kids were everywhere – the trampoline, the swing set, the sandbox, playing soccer in the yard. It was great! We were so fortunate that it stopped raining before the party and the sun even came out during the party.
All in all, it was a great day! And even though our family and friends would have come and had fun without all of our project work getting completed, it was nice to have it done so that the outside and garage felt like home, too.
Now we can kick back and enjoy entertaining on a smaller scale, which we absolutely love to do!
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