Throw a kickin graduation party in Eagle County |

Throw a kickin graduation party in Eagle County

Sarah MausolfVail CO, Colorado
HL Cake PU 5-28-08

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado High school seniors are finally free of AP exams and tater-tot tyranny, and now theyre headed off to the real world. Dont they deserve a proper send off? Most seniors already have their shindigs dialed in, but here are some ideas for procrastinators and future graduates.Timing: For a house party, start making arrangements three weeks to a month ahead of the event, said Claire Graham, an event planner with Sassy Events in Vail. But if you want to book a venue, consider leaving more time to prepare. Eagle-Vail resident Nancy Denton, who planned graduation parties for her four kids, recommends shopping for a location as early as the January before graduation. You have to do it early because theres so many people vying for spots, she said.Location: While having a party at home is cheap, not all homes are designed for graduation parties. Duplexes or townhomes might be too small to hold guests, while nonexistent yards spell doom for outdoor activities. Denton held parties at Balata in Edwards and Garfinkels in Vail (Garfinkels doesnt generally do grad parties, though). While restaurants are a popular choice, some graduates hold their shindigs at outdoor pavilions.Joint parties: Many seniors team up with their friends to hold joint graduation parties. This can cut down on the cost, Denton said. The more families that are involved, the cost of the party goes down because youre splitting it more ways, she said. Hold a meeting to split up responsibilities like ordering the cake and buying decorations.Cost: Denton said her group tried to keep the cost less than $1,000 per family. For example, booking a location can bump up the cost. Balata charges $3,500 to $5,000 for graduation parties and the staff recommend booking a few weeks in advance.Invitations: Taking pictures of the graduates and using the prints as invites is a popular trend. One of Dentons children enlisted a professional photographer to take the shots. If you want to make your own invitations, there are plenty of simple options. You can get really great paper that you can print your own invites on now at any stationary or office supply store, Graham said. Invitations should go out two weeks before the party, she added.How many people to invite: To avoid running out of food or space, nail down your guest list before picking a venue or ordering supplies, Graham said. The size of the venue will dictate how many people you can invite. Denton said her group invited 70 to 100 guests per graduate.Food: Search the Internet for a picture of a cake you can take to your baker, so the baker can replicate it, Graham said. Another popular option are cakes with a picture of the graduate printed on edible rice paper. For instance, City Market in Avon sells them for $21.99 to $43.99. Order at least 24 hours in advance. Regardless of whether you get the party catered, make sure to offer a mix of hot, cold and vegetarian foods, Graham said. Several students said they plan to use chocolate fountains this year. One senior said he hoped to bring in banana puddin from Moes Original BBQ in Eagle.Music: If you hire a DJ and you really want to avoid some songs, like the Chicken Dance, give the DJ a list of songs he or she shouldnt play, Graham said. No DJ? Ask your friends to make play lists on their iPods and bring them along to serve as a soundtrack for the party, Graham said.Decorations: Some of the fun themes Graham has worked with include Fire and Ice, Hollywood and Alice in Wonderland. Denton said her group made signs with balloons to lead guests into the party and set up gift tables. For one party, the graduates displayed life-sized pictures of themselves at the entrance.High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2938 or

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