Thursday, May 19, 2011

Party in a Pinch!

A dear sweet friend of our family's dear sweet daughter is graduating from high school this week.  As a high school teacher, I have spent the last 10 or so years watching students and their families repeat this tradition.  Suddenly, I am realizing that this is the first of my friend's kids to graduate.  This is the first kid to graduate who is not my kid, but whom I have watched grow and care deeply for.  I have been caught off guard with the strength of emotion as I am remembering back to my middle school, high school and college graduations. 
I am also remembering with much gratitude the special people in my life who helped me celebrate those special moments.  My own college graduation happened only a week after a tornado devastated my childhood neighborhood and the next door neighbor who helped raise me still insisted on hosting my party even though it meant rushing her own exhausting clean up.  In appreciation for those family friends who have been more like family in my life I have decided to pay forward all that I have been given by volunteering to organize the decorating for my own friend's daughter's graduation event. 
The goal here is to lesson the burden on my friend, without any additional costs to her party budget.  I am OK with purchasing a few items, but I suspect the graduate would rather have more of my financial resources focused toward her gift instead of on streamers for a party.  So this is a penny pinching, last minute attempt to coordinate colors and maximize impact and mostly provide a pleasant backdrop for taking some candid photos of the graduate and her family on her special day.

I like to start any party with a coordinated color scheme and do that in abundance.  That way everything, from the drinks you serve to the food you provide, adds to the decoration.  You aren't spending any more on coordinating colors of  food or drinks than you would have anyways, but now you have extra decorations.

The color scheme for this particular party was inspired by ideas of bright summery colors, sweet summery fruit, and mainly the fact that I already have lots of fabric and paper lanterns in pink, orange, lime green, and yellow. 

I asked the mom if she wouldn't mind getting flowers in the color scheme (I figured she would probably get a few flowers anyway) and to pick up some oranges, lemons, and  limes (an addition to her shopping list, but all things she can eat after the party) to add to the decorations.

I am planning on bringing tons of coordinating colored fabric, a few paper lanterns, some curling ribbon, and a substantial amount of tissue paper in the color scheme.  I doubt I will have time to make the dot streamers (just punched out circles of paper sewn together on a sewing machine) but I LOVE the idea.  Maybe I can do it with white paper to look like bubbles for Lydia's birthday. Anyway, notice the tissue paper pom pom hanging up, I think I will try a few of those to add to the paper lanterns.

Finally, I really want to do something on the back wall behind the main food table.  I can't decide if it should be the first initial of the graduate's name, like the giant Z pictured above, or 2011 (as in class of).  Either way, it will involve tissue or crepe paper.  I think I can make little pom poms to simulate the flowers used in the big Z.  If i decide to do the fringe, there is a full tutorial on Jordan Ferney's blog.   I'll let you know how it turns out soon!

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