Ask Design Mom Week: Graduation Party

June 3, 2008

Ask Design Mom Question:
Gabrielle, I am attempting to throw my husband a graduation party. He is the first guy in his family to EVER graduate from college. Plus, during this time we got married, had two kids, moved to a different state and found a new job. In other words my man deserves a great party! I am stumped. I am trying to come up with some ways to make it all about him (we will be celebrating while visiting my in-laws the day before my sister-in-law’s wedding.) Any ideas? Thanks! — Lyndsay

Design Mom Answer:
Congratulations to your husband, Lyndsay! I agree that a party is in order. Since you have two young children, you’ll be houseguests at the time of the party, and won’t have access to your own home or usual resources, I would recommend keeping the decor and refreshments simple. Your instinct to “make it all about him” seems exactly right and I would focus your energies there.



One way to make sure he gets attention that evening is to seek out anecdotes and tributes about him from friends and family. If they’re submitted beforehand you could have them bound into a book and at some point during the party, everyone can gather around your husband as a few favorites are read aloud. Or, you could nix the book idea and instead, have guests prepare to share a short tribute at the party.

For simple decor, let your food do the work. You could take your husband’s college colors, say brown and orange, and keep all the refreshments to those two colors (this seems to work best if you just serve desserts). Lots of different kinds of chocolates. Oranges or apricots. Colas or rootbeer or orange soda in bottles that show off their color.

Those are just a couple ideas to get your imagination going, Lyndsay. And I’ll bet Design Mom Readers will chime in with lots of their own great graduation party ideas. I hope the party is fantastic!

image of Harvard gates found here

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alyssa Coberly June 3, 2008 at 10:30 am

I just threw a law school graduation party for my husband … and to make the party throwing easier on myself I did a desserts party – in lou of presents I had each guest (close friends) bring 2 dozen treats to share (cupcakes, pan of brownies etc…) and then I provided the drinks (bottled water with labels I made in his school colors that said congrats) and paper supplies (in his school colors) and then I just put out all of my cake plates and as people arrived they put their desserts right on top and we ended up with 15 kinds of desserts and leftovers enough for everyone to take a plate home. I also bought a bunch of balloon in his school colors – easy pops of colors and cheap decorations!

and then on a side table I set up a little ‘station’ with fun postcards and pens and had each of the guests (at their leisure) write him a little note of congrats and put it in a big glass jar – something we can keep forever – whether we keep it in the jar or binder clip them together.

and then I made sure to have a kids table with bubbles which made the moms happy :0)

it was super stress free, easy clean up, memorable, affordable and everyone enjoyed themselves!

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2 Design Mom June 3, 2008 at 10:51 am

Great ideas Alyssa! I wish I could have joined your festivities.

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3 Anonymous June 3, 2008 at 12:15 pm

The tricky part of this celebration is “the day before my sister-in-law’s wedding.” You don’t want to detract from the wedding which is the Main Event for the family to gather.

I say do lunch. The busy family needs to eat so if you provide a meal, that would help out. The tributes to your hubby at lunch would work, along with a very “graduation” dessert (mortarboard cupcakes?). His gift: a hoodie or pewter mug from the alma mater.

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4 KJ June 3, 2008 at 2:56 pm

great ideas with using the school colors as your jumping off point—fruits, desserts, sodas are perfect. Consider his field of study or expertise and use that as inspiration also. If he is in finance, for example, invites could utilize play money on invites. Chocolate coins would make great favors. The Economy section of the newspaper could serve as tablecloth. A kids station is a great idea, too, with perhaps a video to watch or really simple craft project that goes along with the rest of the theme. Critical: keep it casual with simple prep and cleanup. No cooking.

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5 Kate The Great June 3, 2008 at 5:05 pm

Give him a gift at the party, but don’t let it detract from Father’s Day, during which you’ll give him a smaller gift. I also think you should concentrate on the area of expertise he graduated in; give him something that will be useful as he uses that new degree. You could concentrate the party decor around that gift. If you give him a nifty space pen (for an example of a writer or a business man), use notebook paper and old inkwells to decorate, and have plenty of cheapo pens around the paper tablecloths. Then, people can write their congrats on the tablecloth and you can cut it up and save it (in a book, as a wallhanging) later.

Just a few more ideas. I like the colored food theme myself. And I can always use new bottles after I’m done with using them as party decorations.

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