Geist Graduation Party Planning on a Budget
It’s hard enough that your baby boy, or baby girl, is getting shipped out to a faraway place; worst of all without you. On top of that, tradition demands that you throw them a party to celebrate their departure even though you could barely keep it together at graduation. The entire family is coming into town, as well as old college friends, neighbors, and several others. Sounds like this could be really tough for you, which is why I’m going to share some great ways to put on the perfect open house for your grad on a dime, and also show how you can spend more time with your family and less time in the kitchen.
Grandma is coming to town and loves to critique your cooking, and your old college friends are coming to wish your child well while sharing with them stories of your past… great. And there’s bound to be somebody you want to impress. The idea of a private chef can be intimidating to your budget, but Chef Suzanne offers a variety of tasty options to fit your needs. Her policy is, “It does not matter to us if your budget is large or small; every client is entitled to the same level of service and dedication to excellence. Our cuisine stands out from other caterers in the area because it tastes as wonderful as it looks and is affordable.” She knows hosts and hostesses are often concerned they will not have enough food to feed the masses. Chef Suzanne is very familiar with open houses, and says that the time of the event dictates the menu. An event that is from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. will require different types of food than a 5:00-8:00 p.m. party. In either case, she customizes the menus to fit each client’s needs. She can simply drop off food, which is the most economical, or she can fully staff a party. Visit www.ChefSuzanne.com for more information.
Baking can be a difficult task, especially if you’re not savvy in the kitchen. Let’s be honest, most of us are not culinary geniuses. You want to give your grad a personalized cake, but the words fondant and piping are a foreign language.
Let Taylor’s Bakery assist you with creating a very custom, very “taylored” look for your grad. Whether your grad is heading south to Indiana University or going north to Notre Dame, the staff at Taylor’s can create a look for you that’s sure to turn heads and tantalize taste buds. Not only can they include your soon to be freshman’s collegiate logo, but they can also take a personal photograph and have it put onto the cake via edible paper. Prices start at $24 for sheet cakes feeding 20 people and go up from there. But remember, not everyone will eat cake, so don’t feel like you have to have a slice per person. Co-owner Drew Allen, along with his father John and brother Matt Allen feel, “Being a 4th generation, family owned business, we take pride in every order that leaves our store!” If you’re looking for something different, Drew mentioned, “A lot of people have begun using pastries as an option other than cake. To satisfy that demand, we’ve created a pastry tray loaded with lemon bars, raspberry bars, turtle bars, brownies, pecan tarts, miniature éclairs and puff pastry cookies filled with cream cheese. The pastry tray costs $29.75 and it’s filled with 38 total pieces.” None the less, don’t let making the perfect pastry be your downfall this graduation season. Visit www.TaylorsBakery.com for more information.
Now that you’re set on the food spread and the dessert, let’s move on to gift giving. This can be tough. It’s no secret your grad wants money, but most people don’t want to just hand over some cash and call it a day. Has the family started calling for ideas on what to give? These next two places will not only bring the flair back to graduation gifting, but will also add a personal spin fit for your grad.
Delaney’s Shoppe, hands down, has some of the coolest, personalized gifts sure to make any grad grin. They offer dorm room décor, and a huge selection of IU, ND, and PU gifts. The best part about their collegiate items is that they aren’t your average bookstore finds. There are purses and hand painted glassware just to name a few, as well as personalization on several items. You can get just about anything personalized at Delaney’s. They have towel wraps that girls and guys can wear when getting out of the group showers on their dorm floor, personalized laundry bags, picture frames, and much more. My favorite monogrammed item was the jewelry. Mary Larson, owner of Delaney’s Shoppe, shared with me another bonus, as though their unique gifts and excellent customer service weren’t enough. Mary said, “Items are always gift packaged and ready to give when you are on the go. Our customers say over and over again th at they always find what they need at Delaney’s, and are so thankful we saved them a trip to the mall.” Visit www.delaneysforwomen.com for more information.
Teresa Downham puts a different spin on gift giving; the same could be said for centerpieces if you’ve seen her custom made gift baskets. Teresa is owner of Everything Indiana, a very cool business specializing in gift baskets for any occasion, but in our case, collegiate gifts. According to Teresa, her baskets stand out because of how unique their products are and the array of items that they can source for people. Even if they don’t carry a particular item in stock, chances are they know someone in Indiana that makes it. Better yet, if you don’t see a basket you like on her website she can still help, saying, “Another thing that makes us different from our competitors is our willingness to create custom baskets for clients.” If you’d like to add in a few items of your own like a gift card or piece of jewelry, that’s no problem. Just get them to her and she’ll work them into the basket. Not only will this make for a unique addition to your open house, but it’s sure to send your grad off feeling loved! Visit www.EverythingIndiana.com for more information.
In Indiana, we never know what the weather is going to be like. If you want to take your party outside, let Elegant Tents provide you with coverage from the rain and sun. Dan Lattner, owner of Elegant Tents, says, “Since we don’t do as much volume as some of the other tent companies, our inventory is cleaner and in better shape. We pride ourselves in doing a good job. The majority of our business is repeat customers. We want all of our customers to have a good experience using our services.” When I went out to take a look at Dan’s tents, he also has very nice side panels with windows that can be added to most tents for $10.00 per side. This lets natural light inside the tent and the tents maximize your party space! He also rents out tables for $7.00 each for a 5-ft. round or 8-ft. banquet. Email Dan at email@example.com or visit www.ElegantTents.com for more information.
Don’t worry, I didn’t forget the decorations. The Party Tree in Fishers, family owned, offers party throwers several collegiate options in addition to solid colors if you’re on a budget. You can customize your colors to match your grad’s future alma mater. They also have a plethora of “Class of 2010” décor, from centerpieces and yard signs to balloons and wall hangings. Several items start at just a few dollars. Owners Holly and Terry Howard have some great ways to fill up an empty space on a budget, saying, “Nothing fills up a big empty room for less like balloons! If our customer is on a really tight budget,they can rent helium from us and fill up the balloons themselves for roughly half the price! We have free party planners and checklists available for graduation to make it easier on our customers.” Visit www.PartyTree.net for more information.
Now you have some great, locally owned resources to help you throw the perfect open house for your grad on a budget. Happy party planning!