A GRADUATION PARTY FOR 75 GUESTS

May 25, 2011

My husband and I helped host a FUN graduation party this past weekend, in Harlan, Kentucky, for our niece’s high school graduation, from HARLAN HIGH SCHOOL.  Chelsea Marie Clem is a really special young lady and, we were excited to honor her.



You CAN plan and host a party, long distance.  My sister-in-law, Tara Bryson, and I planned the party from a distance and, thanks to her super execution…..the party was SEAMLESS!  A big “thank you” to the other host couple, Mr. and Mrs. C.D. Morton. 

  • THE FIRST STEP:  We selected a theme.  Chelsea will attend The University of Kentucky in the fall of 2011.   We chose this school’s colors for the party decor, Royal blue and white.
  • THE SECOND STEP:  Order invitations.  Since I live in Memphis, TN and would be driving in for the party, I offered to order the invitations.  Thank you to my friend Natalie Chang for designing the adorable invitation.
  • THE THIRD STEP:  Decide on a menu.  Chelsea requested a bar-b-q lunch for the occasion.  We were happy to oblige.  The food was DELICIOUS!  We served:  1) Shredded pork bar-b-q  2) Fresh cole-slaw 3) Baked Beans (prepared by my Mom.in.law, Pat Bryson) 4) Chicken Strips and 5) Rolls.  The food was a huge “hit”.  My sister-in-law, Tara Bryson, did a GREAT job of coordinating all the food! 
  • THE FOURTH STEP:  Select a “show stopper” dessert.  We hired a local baker, Denise Abraham, to bake and decorate a DELICIOUS layer cake!  The cake had a UK (University of Kentucky) theme and, it tasted DIVINE!!!  In fact, after the party, the hosts stood around the cake with forks in hand and, ate “leftovers”~  YUM!!!  You can NOT beat a great tasting and moist cake! 
  • THE FIFTH STEP:  Select decorations.  White paper lanterns were hung in the trees.  Each table had a beautiful white hydrangea bloom set in a pretty cobalt blue goblet.  Simple and elegant. 

*FLAIR TIP:  Do not allow the miles between family members or close friends deter you from planning a celebration for a loved one. 


The invitations were ordered with the blue and white UK colors.
I could not resist sharing this GORGEOUS picture of my in-law’s home.  This house is next door to my sister and brother in-law on IVY HILL, in Harlan, KY.  BREATH TAKING!!!
White paper lanterns were hung from the trees, creating a very festive look.
LOOK at this ADORABLE cake!  Thank you Denise Abraham!
White hydrangeas in a simple cobalt blue goblet.  PRETTY!
More flowers!  By Henson’s Florist in Harlan, Kentucky.
Plastic forks and knives were wrapped ahead of time.  These are easily grabbed by the guests, for maximum dining.
The graduate, Chelsea Clem, and, her Mom (my sis in-law) Emily Bryson Clem
The host husbands: Left to Right:  Stephen Bryson, C.D. Morton and John Bryson
Here I am, printing a last minute place card for the food table.
Buns for the bar-b-q
DELISH!  Chicken strips that we ordered locally, EASY and, a big crowd pleaser!
Shredded pork
A great idea by my sister and brother in-law, Tara and Stephen Bryson.  Drinks iced down and ready to grab, in a wheel barrel.   We had PLENTY of drinks on a hot summer day.  A GREAT idea!
The food VANISHED in a hurry!  Look at this ‘spread’!
Pretty flower arrangements!
The guests signed in on this white picture matte with Chelsea’s picture in the center.
A great keep sake for the guest of honor!
My dear sister in-law and co-host, Tara Bryson.
The honoree, Miss Chelsea Marie Clem.

We welcomed over 75 guests this past Saturday on IVY HILL in Harlan, Kentucky and, I do believe our dear niece felt very honored.  This was our ENTIRE goal!  

CONGRATULATIONS CHELSEA!  WE ARE PROUD OF YOU!  HARLAN HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF 2011. 




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