Party Prep

Nothing like a momentous occasion to make you want to celebrate. Our sweet Baby Girl graduated from high school a few weeks ago.

FFA stuff 034We’ve been looking forward to this event for months, and what better way to mark this step into independence than with a party for family and friends? I was cleaning, and planning, and shopping. We decided to join forces with another family and host the open house here for BG and her best friend.

Sweet Miss was away at school studying for finals, writing papers, presenting group projects, and planning away for the party, too. She sent me a Pinterest board filled with ideas—I really should have paid more attention. When she came home four days before the party, we had a lot of shopping to do.

Many hands make the work light; thank goodness for MeeMee, Papa Larry, Sweet Miss, her fella, and the MR. It was wonderful.

grad party

BG, her best friend, and her mom enjoying the day.

Here’s some tips and tricks for your next party.

1. Gather your supplies and get your shopping done early. 

This banner never would have happened, if I’d waited till the last minute to purchase supplies. BG’s poster was as simple as uploading a few pictures to Costco and picking it up a day or two later.

balloon banner


Have all your decorating supplies together. If you’re setting up a table before the party, just do it. That’ll be one thing off your list.

Pull out your platters and serveware ahead of time, so while you’re in the midst of all those last minute kitchen chores, you won’t have to stop to find tape or platters or special spoons.

Supplies prepped


I did have a lot of decorations all set out on the buffet, but this is a live and learn thing. Next time we have a party, if I get out the platters, the MR is very helpful.

2.  If someone offers to help, just say “Yes!”  

I have trouble with perfectionism. If it’s not quite how I planned, I get a little crazy. Life’s a lot easier and more fun when you let others help. Learn to let go.

everyone working 2


Sweet Miss had visions of a pineapple tower but woodworking isn’t her forte, so we called Papa Larry into action.

Pineapple platform

The platform he built turned into this focal point.

Pineapple Tower

Way to go Sweet Miss and Papa! It was lovely.

It took many hands to put the balloon banner together. I’d seen the idea in an old issue of Real Simple (let’s just say that was a misnomer) and had bought the balloons and garland online. Grandma MeeMee and I cut up tissue paper into our own color-coordinated confetti.

confetti bowl

Then it was time to stuff the balloons. Can you say tricky? MeeMee and I came up with a plan. I stretched the neck of the balloons, and she stuffed in confetti.

stuffing the balloon


The balloons waited patiently the rest of the week on the buffet till game day. I didn’t want any to deflate ahead of time. The day of the party, we had Papa and the MR blowing up balloons, and Baby Girl adding the letters. Then Papa tied them to the garland, I hung them over the table, and we were set.

Papa Popped Smiling

Be careful not to overfill the balloons, or you’ll be covered in confetti.

By the end of the party, we’d lost a few letters, and it was difficult to get the balloons all facing one direction. While I still think it was a clever idea, and visually exciting, it may have been more trouble than it was worth.

3.  Check out your local rental store.

The MR was looking around online, and the rental store down the street had tables for $10, and tableclothes for $10. We were expecting around 75 people; a few tables just made sense. We were also able to pick up wine glasses. The best part—we just had to rinse, no washing involved.

bg & bud


The tables were well-used on that sunny afternoon.

4. If you forgot something—improvise. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Improvise.

I woke up the day of the graduation ceremony realizing I hadn’t ordered a lei for Baby Girl. Now she’s been an officer in FFA for the last two years, she’s made dozens of leis for graduates, this is a big part of graduation. How could I forget? The FFA advisor decided not to make them this year, so the local florist was taking orders, and I’d simply let it go.

It doesn’t hurt to have two former FFA members with plenty of lei-making experience in my house. BG bought carnations, and Sweet Miss got busy with a needle and some dental floss. A little later, we were set, and I was over the bad-mom moment.

flower lei 2



I had wanted to decorate the top of the buffet with Gerbera daisies—BG’s favorite—but we ran out of time. When the MR and SM went to the store the day of the party, they picked up more carnations and some unusual black flowers instead.

Sweet Miss used her crafting experience to glitter empty jars and “2015”‘s that BG had cut out of card stock With the flowers, they made lovely centerpieces and the buffet just had to go bare.

SM making flower arrangements


5. Embrace input.

Sweet Miss wasn’t getting home until a few days before the party. I figured we didn’t have time for her Pinterest board. Well, life would have been a lot easier if I’d taken a good look at her ideas and done a little prep ahead of her arrival.

She printed pictures to line the driveway, made a garland of baby faces, and painted advice boards.

baby face swag


If someone has the enthusiasm and the drive, let ’em go for it.

Advice boards


By the end of the party, both boards were filled with helpful tips on how to succeed. Some talked about forgiveness, positivity, finding your passion, and putting family first. Others focused on using the restroom regularly. What does that say about our diverse group of partygoers?

keys to success 2


6.  Stop stressing and just enjoy.

This is a hard one for me. I freak out a little—OK, maybe a lot—when I’m planning these kind of events. But me and the MR are blessed to be surrounded by family and to have many wonderful friends in our lives.

Family on the deck



We are proud of the class of 2015, of BG and her buddy, and the new adventures in life they’re about embark on.

Girls on the deck


A little bird told me that one of my readers wanted to see graduation photos. So glad to have my dad, brother, sister-in-law, niece, and the MR’s folks here to celebrate with us.

Grad Collage 2

What are you celebrating this month? 





7 thoughts on “Party Prep

  1. Pingback: June ’15 | big white house on the hill

  2. Pingback: Looking Backwards and Forwards | big white house on the hill

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