September 11, 2014

A "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" Graduation Party.

My most recent event was the Middle School  graduation party for a very dapper, athletic and charming young man named Anthony.  Let me begin by candidly admitting that when Anthony's mother first approached me about planning and executing the decor details of this party, I experienced slight trepidation. Why?  In all my years event and party planning, 99.9% of my clients have been women/brides/mothers - and although when planning weddings I obviously take the groom-to-be's opinions and desires in consideration - let's face it the wedding day is all about the Bride. But I digress. This was my first time solely embracing the personality, taste, likes and feel of a party for a young man who is definitely not a kid anymore but who has not yet quite reached adulthood (albeit he would disagree on the latter if you spoke to him, precocious is an understatement for this lad:) 

But I gladly took on the challenge and began brainstorming,  I will say that planning a mostly-masculine themed party was quite the enjoyable venture. Knowing Anthony is knowing his love for sports. I knew right of the "bat" (pun intended) that like just his graduation photoshoot I captured here, his party would have to reflect just that: Sports. Specifically baseball, and some soccer. Oh and Blue and Red, his favorite colors. 

Here is a collage of the end result of the weeks of hard work and hand-made decor details. A "take me out to the ball game" graduation party. 
(click to enlarge)

First let's pause and rewind a moment and start from the beginning of this event planning journey. As always with any event I plan,  it always begins with a main idea,  I then choose a color scheme and finally I put together an inspiration board of these ideas with pictures I find on the interwebs or have in my archives. Here is the initial design plan I came up with: 

(click to enlarge)

 When it comes to invitations my philosophy is always simple, budget friendly and unique. Invitations will always set the tone for the event, but rarely are kept by the guests past the party, therefore I used what I already had to design a fun, sport-themed invitation that was very cost-effective.  I used a photo app, some clip art and black and white photo I took of  the handsome Ant to invite all to celebrate his accomplishment, complete  with a Nike Swoosh and a clever play  on words "He did it!" (get it, Nike says "Do it!")

Table Scape/Centerpieces

The centerpieces were bit of an evolving process for me. I started off purchasing a bag of Rawlings leather baseballs knowing that these would be prominently featured somehow in replacement of "flowers" or other usually more girly details, but initially I wasn't sure just quite how.  It wasn't till I visited my favorite discount dollar "boutique" that I found these simple clear vases and it all clicked for me subsequently.  With a bit of green moss filler at the foundation, baseballs, some colored paper ribbon (which was actually streamer paper cut up, folded and wrapped) and thick twine as the finishing touch. The centerpieces were the perfect mix of masculine elegance.

As for the rest of the table decor, I kept it simple, functional and rustic by using butcher paper to cover the tables. To add that great pop of color I made my own "Nike Swoosh" round table runners by layering blue and red dollar store paper mats and then drawing the nike swoosh free hand followed by painstakingly cutting the symbo out  so the alternating colors could show through, I then finished them off by gluing them together.  It was a lot of work but I love the end result. Unique, functional and inexpensive. The Dollar store is a constant source of inspiration for me. I love to re-invent and create out of anything I find there. 

For Favors, I definitely did not want to go a traditional route. I thought it would be quite fitting with this "Take me out to the Ball Game" themed party  to create my own version of a concession stand similar to one that is found in baseball games at the big stadiums. I decided a variety of treats would be necessary and so through Amazon I ordered Big League Chew Gum packets,
 Cracker Jack bags, Personalized mini chocolates wrapped like mini baseballs, and then DIYed the rest of the "favor bags" by hand drawing and personalizing white bags filled with peanuts, popcorn and potato chips. And what is a concession stand without the right sign? Using the same paper place mats I created paper "bunting" sign that hung above the concession stand table.

The second  part of the favor/concession stand table also served to hold the "guest book" or rather a Baseball T-Shirt that all the guests signed, something Anthony could treasure for years to come. I also DIYed a "graduation cap" aka baseball cap with his initials to don during the festivities. I also recycled the black mesh bag the baseballs I purchased came in as the "card holder" for gifts.  (many of the following pictures were taken with my camera phone.)

Cake Table
As with most parties, the piece de resistance is always the cake. I chose a simple but sophisticated graduation sheet cake design as inspiration, and his mother had the cake made and personalized. 

To decorate the table, I repeated the same butcher paper/nike swhoosh place mats treatment, but then added the real show stoppers of the day - some of my favorite captures from Anthony's Graduation photo session that I had printed.   My Ralph Lauren-model-in-the-making did not disappoint. I chose bright red frames for the pictures to really make a statement. I was told many a young lady or two wanted to take home one of the pictures as the "favor" :) 

Some extra decor details I will add below. like these soccer "disco balls" I made out of dollar store styrofoam balls, and some colored markers. I just free handed the black diamond soccer design and then free-handed one in blue and red respectively. I then glued twine to each and hung them from the highest point of the venue just above the dance floor. 

There was no doubt this fun, laid-back party was a blast!

If your looking for creative, capable and always affordable party planning advice, or need a detailed-oriented Day-of-Coordinator, look no further. Please email me to, or message me to my Facebook Page and we can get started planning an unforgettable event night of your own!

Congrats Anthony! Hope High School goes by fast! 

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