School's Out FOREVER.

"It'll be the cutest little backyard wedding graduation party since I don't know when!"
-Wendy in 13 Going on 30

Above was one of the thoughts swirling around in my mind during the month leading up to my college graduation party.  I started my PR campaign (literally) for this party over spring break with flashy advertisements on my Facebook event page like: I tried to get people pumped up.  It worked.  I followed through on all my original ideas except the Bloody Mary bar, and will be saving that one for a brunch party or something.  Other than that, we had a mimosa bar, s'mores bar, and hot dog bar, all which went over veeeeeery well.

This was a combined grad party with my cousin who had just graduated from high school.  He probably would have been satisfied with no party at all, but we weren't letting that idea fly.  Luckily my school's colors were black and gold and his were purple and gold.  Overlap, yay!  My aunt, my mom, and I made all the decorations to match those colors and threw what was literally the cutest little backyard graduation party since I don't know when.  And I've been to a lot of backyard graduation parties.

Let's start with the cookies.

These edible works of art were created by my cousin Maya, my aunt, and I.  Luckily Maya likes baking them (which I hate) and my aunt and I like decorating them (which she hates).  It works out to everyone's benefit.  I did all the writing with these Wilton candy writing pens.  I credit my talent in this to having a REALLY steady hand and being able to kind of paint it on instead of write like you would with a pen.  The frosting is just so delicate that it's a challenge to not push too hard.  Any other decorations we piped on with frosting.  We already have an order for a friend's graduation party next week!

Next, what I think was the biggest hit, the mimosa bar.  As seen many different times on Pinterest, we just combined all our favorite aspects of different mimosa bars to create the one of our dreams!

I mean, for a mimosa bar in a garage, I don't think we could have done any better!  
It was a hit.  For those who drink festive non-alcoholic drinks, we had cucumber and mint infused water and lemonade.  The smartest thing ever was my aunt's idea to freeze blocks of cucumber water and lemonade so that nothing got watered down.  Sheer brilliance.

The chalkboard you see here was once a portrait of Jesus.  Really.  Last summer I was looking for an interesting frame at Value Village to make a chalkboard for a 4th of July burger bar, and found that gem.  It felt like a possible cardinal sin painting over the face of Jesus with primer and chalkboard paint, but it turned into an awesome chalkboard that now hangs into my living room.

We used blue painter's tape make rings of chalkboard paint around the fruit juice bottles.  I then wrote the names of each of the different nectars (a little thicker than juice, actually).  We had mixed berry, blood orange, peach apricot, and pomegranate.

Next, was a hit with kids and adults alike.

Square shaped marshmallows.  Who thinks of these perfect ideas?!

I wish I had a picture of all the different marshmallows we had.  From square, to chocolate filled, to rainbow, to coconut, to strawberry, we had them all.  Same goes for every type of chocolate and every type of graham cracker (or cookie if you prefer).

Grab a skewer, stick a marshmallow on, roast it over the ETHANOL BASED Sterno for a bit, throw the stick in the can on the opposite side, and put together your dream s'more.

The 2015 pinata numbers were an idea from a Martha Stewart magazine.  Thanks, Martha!

The main course at this party was the hot dog bar, where we had the toppings for four different dawgs:  Scaredy cat (ketchup & mustard...lame), Chili dawg (chili, shredded cheese, & onions), Taco dawg (pico de gallo, shredded cheese, & jalapenos), and Chicago dawg (tomatoes, onions, pickle slice, peppers, mustard, & celery salt).

Above is my version of a Chicago dawg, with a brat.  I do what I want.

This would be the so-called Taco dawg.

The reality of having all the hot dogs and brats that you could possibly imagine right in front of you is amazing, to say the least.

That brings us to the decor.

I will never make tassel garland for an outdoor event EVER again.  It was such a struggle keeping them from all being blown to one side of the fishing line.  Once I got it how I wanted it, it looked good.  But it took me like an hour to figure out how to arrange it.  This was the first time I cut them out of tablecloths though, which was such an improvement from tissue paper!  If I can find the right colors, I'll definitely be doing it with tablecloths in the future.

This was another idea straight off of Pinterest.  Luckily my aunt had a bunch of glass bottles in her craft junk arsenal, so my dad spray painted them all gold.  They'll definitely be reused for future parties.  My cousin Maya and I cut out all the 2015s out of glitter paper and made tulle puffs to match the school colors.

So with all the food, drinks, and games, the party ended up exceeding my expectations!  Kind of sad I'll never graduate from anything again.  But at least this one had a better ending than my high school grad party ;)


  1. Ugh it looks beyond amazing, so sad I couldn't come!!!!