Have you noticed when you surf the net for graduation party ideas, you get a lot of kiddish, kitschy ideas that would actually work better for pre-school, kindergarten or middle school graduates? Stuff like the image on the right -- stuff you buy at a party store?
The bottom line for high school and college graduates is that they are young adults and want to be celebrated in a manner that doesn't remind them of a 10 year old's birthday party -- e.g. balloons, streamers, silly characters in caps and gowns, etc...
As parents, you know your children will always be your children but they do grow up. At 18, or there about for high school graduation and 22 or older for a college graduate, it wouldn't hurt for us to put away the embarrassing photos and stories for one event -- and instead, concentrating on their achievement and the future.
Trust me... your kids will be soooo happy to be treated as a young adult. It makes them feel that you take them seriously and respect them. Go ahead, you can do it! Save the naked-baby-on-a-bear-skin-rug photos for family nights -- in front of their friends and neighbors, honor them and their accomplishments in a more grown up manner.
Graduation Decor fit for Adults
So, what are some ideas to keep the celebration more on the "adult" level?
Actually, you can take some cues from wedding receptions -- yes, wedding receptions. Obviously it would be on a much smaller scale and budget but the ideas can translate into graduation party ideas.
A marriage is about leaving one world behind (single life) to join with another person and start your life together.
It's similar for a high school or college graduate -- they are leaving behind their childhood and childish ways in favor of making their way in the grown up world. You can look back on the past with fondness and appreciation, but a nod to moving forward is what graduation signifies.
Vintage is really big in the wedding world right now. It ties the past to the future so it would translate well to graduation parties. Depending on the type of event you are holding (an open house is my personal favorite) you may need centerpieces for guest tables or maybe just for the buffet/cake or guest book tables -- either way, vintage would work.
Vintage is about re-using items for their intended purpose or repurposing them for a new life. This is a very green (eco-friendly) idea as well as not breaking the bank. You can literally shop around your house or at grandma's and come up with items to put together in a grouping that would make a great centerpieces for any table at your graduation party.
Group odd numbers of items together to make a centerpiece. Make sure you have different heights to add interest. Below is a list to get you started. Add your own ideas to it and really make it unique!
|Hand Bell||Vintage Chalkboard||Apple|
|Vintage Books||Old Pencil Sharpener||Old Sports Equipment|
|Old Yearbooks||Paper Bag Sack Lunch||Globe/Map|
(sports or academic)
|Rolled Diploma||Mortar Board|
|Old School Pencil Box||Library Card Catalog File||Beakers, Bunsen Burner, Chem Lab stuff|
|School House Figurine or Birdhouse||Small/Mini School Desk Figurine||Old Style Pennants, Poms on a stick|
|Chenille Sports Letter and/or Sweater||School Bus Figurine||Old Clip Board|
|Vintage Flash Cards||Vintage Lunch Box||Protractor, Compass, Ruler, Pencils,|
Get your list together and then borrow as many of your items as you can (friends, teachers, grandma, Aunt Lucy, etc,...). You'd be surprised how many people are willing to help the graduate out for his/her party!
What you can't borrow, look for at yard sales, thrift stores, vintage malls/booths or flea markets. If all else fails and it's not too costly buy new or make it with supplies from your local craft store.
Having even just a few of the genuine vintage items will give you a grown up feel to the event. I suggest staying away from teacher and education stores. You'll end up walking out with items that are too kiddish in nature.
Remember what it was like being a senior ready to graduate? You so badly wanted to be treated like an adult but your parents kept pinching your cheeks and saying things like "I remember when you started kindergarten..." or "Where has the time gone? Seems like yesterday you were a baby."
We parents are entitled, nay have earned the right to embarrass our kids from time to time. However, the graduation party decor is not where we want to exercise that right!