Well I did it. It took me 14 years of mostly night classes but I finally graduated and received my B.A.! While I wanted a celebration I did not want a “graduation party”. I settled on an achievement party and that felt right. After the ball got rolling (theme? check!; food? check!; guest list? check!, etc.) I began to realize that my achievement was one of so many various goals being met throughout my circle of family and friends and I was determined to include as many victories as possible. So what started as “let’s get a few friends and some family together to celebrate your graduation” became in short time “let’s make this a party for all these good folks we know”.
I have to say that I feel so blessed: nearly 90 people were present and as I looked around the room I could honestly say that most helped me in some way as I struggled through school, whether through hands-on aid or gentle encouragement. Some, like my husband and a good friend, edited my papers while others gave me studying tips or dragged me away from studying when I needed a break.
I loved having the challenge of giving a good party within a budget. As we knew it would be years before we did anything similar to an event like this we decided to go ahead with a good caterer and a DJ. Then it was deciding on a color scheme and decorations. When it comes to color I lean towards olive, deep purples, or oranges. But after purchasing the colorful straws (pictured below) I figured: “Hey, it’s summer. Why not go with bright red and yellow? And since I love all things associated with summer (flowers, Adirondack chairs, and bandanas*) I decided to include them as well! The best part was I was able to decorate all ten tables for about $10 each!
I pulled out my ribbon box to look for anything red or yellow. I found vases and glass containers and a few mason jars. The daisies were purchased from the dollar store. The red Gerbera daisies were 70% off at Michaels. The Adirondack chairs were $2.07 from Consumer Crafts (consumercrafts.com). I painted five yellow as seen and five bright red. My wonderful CSF (cousin, sister, & friend) made the quote “pillows” using make-up pads! Red chairs were placed on yellow bandanas and yellow chairs were placed on red bandanas. The tablecloths were white which worked fine.
My brother-in-law and a close friend helped me create a PowerPoint presentation displaying photos of friends and family captioned with their individual achievements. On some slides I had a note of thanks or something special about them. The songs selected were “Celebration” by Kool & the Gang, “Thank You for Being A Friend” ( The Golden Girls themes song) by Andrew Gold, “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars, and “That’s What Friends are For” by Dionne Warwick.
The night was a blur for me but judging by the comments received everyone had a great time!
* I waited for a good deal on the bandanas as I wanted nice ones that I could reuse often (see http://www.fewerpiecesmorepeace.com/getting-back-to-basics/) . The wait was worth it. I received an early cash gift and decided to treat myself to a craft store gift card. One day while purchasing an item at AC Moore I noticed an offer of a $10 gift card when purchasing a $50 one. I bought two $50 gift cards, received $20 in additional gift cards and then purchased my original items plus ten bandanas which were (finally!) on sale for 4/5.00 using my free cards! SCORE!