Many graduation parties are open houses, and hosting a graduation party at your home for your graduate works great for this approach. A home occasion can also be the least expensive option while still giving you great opportunities to make the party special! Corky’s Catering has developed a quick to do list to help you plan the event easily and quickly. In short, it’s about the food, the guests, the decor, and the memories.
To cook or not to cook?
Cooking for a larger group can be scary, time-consuming, and, let’s face it, not a whole lot of fun. Why not be a part of the celebration? These special times should be remembered for the tears and laughs, not rushing in and out of the kitchen bringing food and re-supplying the beverages station.
Corky’s offers a large selection of menus and service options including Delivery, set up, servers, bar service, and clean up. With great weather in the air, one of our more popular options is our Grill Service Packages. Our staff will arrive at your home, set up the buffet and beverages stations, prepare the food for your guests to order, and clean up afterward. We provide everything you will need to relax and enjoy this memorable event. Below is one of our Grill Service Menus. To view the entire Grill Service Menus click here.
Great Grill Out
FREE All-Beef Hot Dogs for the Kids
Grilled Chicken Breast
¼ Lb. All-Beef Hamburgers
Sweet Corn Roasted in the Husk or Baked Beans
Gramma’s Potato Salad
Honey Cole Slaw
Watermelon Slices (seasonal)
Should You entertain entertainment?
We’ve seen lots of graduation parties with DJs and even bands. Some people prefer a relaxing day with friends and family while others may want a full dance party. There is no correct answer; it simply comes down to your preferences.
One easy and very budget conscience idea is to create a playlist. You and your graduate can come up with a good mixture of music to satisfy every guest.
If you want to go a more professional way try one of many helpful sites like GigMasters that can search for DJ’s or Live Musicians that meet your budget and tastes.
At Corky’s our sales staff is happy to walk you through a variety of bands or DJ’s to meet your taste.
Getting the word out
With social media and email sending out invites doesn’t need to be as formal as you think. Facebook, Twitter and Linked in all have great tools to invite everyone in your circles and your grads. Or just create the invitation as an image and post. Remember to only post to those you are inviting. In other words, don’t invite the world or you might need to order more food!
Sites such as Evite makes it super easy to send out invitations with features like RSVP with notification to you, Guest List, Easy Reminder of Event, and Guest Options such as: Allow guests to bring people to the event, Limit number of guests, Allow guests to indicate the number of kids attending, and
Emailing is another option to you use alongside social media…because not everyone tweets or utilizes Facebook. Simply create an invite image and attach or embed into an email then send individually to invites with a personal note or bulk send the invite to all. For privacy, when sending your bulk email make sure to send it to yourself and BCC it to your invites.
Creating the Inviting and Festive Atmosphere
Since there now is no worries about the food and you don’t have to lick all those stamps to send out the invitations you can have fun with the decorating. Some of these ideas you can create prior to the day of the celebration then set in place the morning of.
The entrance to the party can be grand with not a lot of work. Using signs, banners and balloons can make it look just perfect and add an easy landmark for guests to find your house. Use school colors or a solid color theme. Above are a few ideas for inspiration. Pinterest is an excellent place to search for more creative suggestions.
Keeping the inside of your home more about a way for guests to enter and leave the party can make decorating easier and keep your guests outside enjoying the food and festivities.
If you want to add some decorations adding helium balloons with colorful streamers and a few, strategically placed, blown up photos of the proud graduate will give the inside a beautiful and fun touch.
Set Up a Gift and Sign In Table
To keep the party organized and going with the flow of arriving guests, set up a single place close to the entrance for guests to drop off gifts and sign a guest book so your grad knows who attended the party and — more importantly — who to write thank you notes to. This is also a perfect area to display memories, awards, framed photos, and achievements.
The first thing we suggest before starting on decorations is to decide on the seating. You may be thinking, how is it that a simple table can make a big difference? But it is true, the type of table you choose for your special event, will influence the feeling that it will have. It can also be dictated by the size of your area and certainly how many guests and what type of food you are planning on serving.
The trick really is in the detail, you see, choosing a long rectangular table indicates that you are having a more casual event. Generally, rectangular tables are used for picnics or family style events. They allow to be lined up next to each other in long rows or to be arranged into larger rectangles.
Round tables allow for a big enough group of people to be seated closer together and for conversation engagement, since it is easy to face everyone at the table. Round tables are most commonly used for a more formal or when a full Dinner or Lunch is planned.
Cocktail tables are great for events that don’t involve a full lunch or dinner but just drinks and small foods, or at the beginning of a more formal event, as the name says it, for cocktails and appetizers, before you move your guests into a different room with a more formal setup.
THE UNINVITED GUESTS
Since your party will be outdoors, guests will need protection from the sun’s rays and those pesky bugs and mosquitos. Display a hanging bucket of sunscreen and bug spray so your guests can easily help themselves.
Personalize a basket (with a sign, paint or ribbon), place the sunscreen and bug spray inside and hang it from an outdoor plant hanger or deck. Make sure you place this in a high traffic area so your guests can easily see it.
It is very easy to create that celebration atmosphere using balloons, lights, candles, and streamers. For the balloons, you will need to decide how you want to use them in order to know if a helium tank will be necessary to rent. There are certain tricks to balloons to make where you are using them to work perfectly.
Hanging balloons from bottom tree limbs as shown here place a marble before blowing them up. This will weigh them down. We love this look.
Balloon Bundles or simple, single balloons are perfect for spot decor. You can use golf tees to secure them into the ground or for a table and hard surface fill a plastic bag with sand or pebbles then place in colored bags and tighten with ribbon.
String together Balloons are perfect for archways, fences, fireplace mantles or stringing from one tree to another. Simply string a needle through each balloon. Change out colors or shapes and sizes of the balloons. You can add streamers for some dangling effects.
Balloon Arches are so dramatic and no joke, not that complicated to create. No helium or arch stands needed. Watch this You Tube of Balloon Arches.
If you expect the party to go into the evening hours using lights and candles can change any daytime party into night time celebration. Try dangling lights through and around trees, run them along a fence or on the ground, or hang them on the outside of your home. Mix and match candles placing them on tables or other flat surfaces. Luminaria Votive Tea Lights Candles are perfect for stairs or pathways.
Activities and Games
For high school graduates, especially the guys, providing games or an activity is always a good idea to get the party started.
Cornhole or what I call Beanbag Toss is a lawn game staple and is a great way to involve several guests. You can find these online for $34.99 to $89.99. The one shown above came from Hayneedle for $34.99 plus shipping.
PHOTO OP STATIONS
Find a great place, maybe under a big tree where you can set up a small table with fun props like wigs, glasses, scarves and mustaches for your guests to mix and match so they can take their own photos to upload, share and remember.
Create your own hashtag for your graduation party and be sure that everyone uses it so that all photos are housed in one place and easily accessible.
Try this unique idea. Your graduate will hang this forever! You can usually find large frames with mats at Walmart and Target. Just place a great graduation picture in and you’re done. Easy, but everyone will compliment you on it!
Let them eat cake
or cupcakes! Personally, I love the idea of cupcakes. No silverware, no plates and no mess. However, a nice sheet cake is less expensive and many times, like we do at Corky’s, caterers already supplying you with the food will often throw in a sheet cake for free.
A graduation is an important day and one you want to celebrate and remember forever.
At Corky’s Catering we understand how important a graduation can be and in making this day one you will be proud of. We look forward to helping you with your next event!
Congratulations to Class of 2017!