Celebrating the Class of 2024 {Graduation Day Dinner}

Well, I do believe this is the last of a year long celebration of the class of 2024. Each graduate was limited in the number of guests they could bring to the ceremony, so we gathered with the extended family to celebrate John later that evening!

It was my dream to have this dinner with family gathered around one long banquet table in our home. Thankfully, the weather held out – it stormed while inside the convocation center. It turned out exactly as I had hoped, and the festivities lasted long after the sun had set.

I moved the ping pong table up against the fireplace to serve drinks and appetizers. It worked out perfectly and was a great set up! Extra balloons from the grad party were pressed into use. Many thanks to Mother and Daddy-O for all of their help. John chose the menu for his special dinner, so the drink of choice was obviously lemonade and sweet tea with raspberry syrup. I used Maggiano’s to cater the dinner (again, John’s choice). As our family arrived, we enjoyed their stuffed mushrooms and a charcuterie board filled with his favorites (I made that earlier in the day). I used my Happy Everything! and Nora Fleming grad pieces, as well as silver serving dishes to dress things up a bit. Custom cups and straws were part of the set I designed to use throughout senior year.

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As things are when family is around, we pretty much just got right into the swing of the party. I took exactly to pictures the entire night – this being one. HA! As you can see, we were a come as you wish crowd, despite the pretty table.

We sat under the twinkle lights for our meal as the sun was setting on a wonderful day. I went with shades of blue for the meal, coordinating everything with the invitation and emphasizing the royal blue of his school colors.

I have 30 place settings of my blue willow china and 24 of various types of bee glasses, so those were perfect. The napkins are embroidered with his custom JW monogram, and were his “forever gift” back in 2021. I’ve had the candlesticks since 2020 and use them often. I learned from experience that the battery powered tapers are always the way to go outdoors. I brought the chairs out from my dining room and mixed those with our outdoor chairs. I thought it was an elegant but casual look, perfect for our celebration of John!

I was able to reuse many of the flowers from his grad party, just removing the red and adding white hydrangeas. I designed the menus, place cards and table runner (cut from a roll of custom wrapping paper) to match the invitation.

I have a tub of these water bottles from Ikea and love to use the cricut to dress them up for parties. Here, I used John’s JW monogram again.

Maggiano’s did a phenomenal job with the catering. They arrived on time, and completely set up the meal on the kitchen island. They brought the table coverings, all serving utensils, chafing dishes, and literally everything necessary. I didn’t lift a finger. The meal was delicious, we had so many leftovers AND it was very affordable all things considered. All of us were impressed.

I dragged the porch buffet off the porch in the same manner we did for the grad party. This time, we used it as a cake table. It was the perfect focal point on this otherwise blank wall! At the last minute I ordered a poster sized print of the back of the invitation from Walgreens to dress up the table. I simply removed the red ribbons from the grad party and we were set! I brought the lanterns off the porch, and a few candlesticks from the dining room. The silver cake stand was what our wedding cake sat on, 22 years ago. And, the silver serving pieces were what we cut our cake with many moons ago. The cake was almond with raspberry filling on top and vanilla with cookies and cream on bottom – both John’s picks. I ordered it from Sister’s friend Natascha at Bee Caked. You can see where the top layer was struggling after an hour in the Georgia heat. :-)

Cowboy hat, swim suit, lacrosse polo and bedroom slippers. It’s your party and you’ll dress like you want to! (He was headed to an after-after party with friends and couldn’t wait to get out of his graduation attire!)

I really wanted the look of a tiered cake, so had WAY too much for just our family. I put these out for everyone to take a slice – or three – home!

We ate, drank and talked well into the night.

As family had moved inside and to the porch, I took some time to just soak it all in. My family. My home. My beautiful graduate. The perfect night. I didn’t want it to end.

Speaking of inside, his board from senior night and the grad party made one final hoorah. I set out his Oh the Places You’ll Go book, year book, framed photos, the yearbook tribute, his diploma, grad cap and basically anything I had on hand.

And, as everyone pitched in to clean up, the space transformed again to hold his gifts from us – a keepsake julep cup and a stack of lottery tickets. <3

Sources:

It has been such a special year. If I had an inkling of an idea on how to make it special – I did it. NO REGRETS! It has been the joy of my lifetime to celebrate John and Whit in absolutely everything, no matter how big or how small. Congratulations, son!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are loved beyond measure!

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