This past Sunday marked yet another milestone in our household.  My oldest daughter, Lindsey graduated from High School.  Along with 1,200 other students and what seemed like an infinite sea of proud parents, we cheered on Lindsey for her many years of hard work, dedication, struggles and accomplishments, and the day that sometimes seemed like it would never come!  Because I am one that never needs an excuse to throw a party, that’s exactly what we had.  While I feel as though I’ve been preparing myself for years for this big day, the actual party planning began a few weeks before.  Like everything else in my life, there is a list of things that need to be figured out beforehand.

Guest List:   I knew we wanted to invite close friends and family that have helped Lindsey on her journey.  The total list came to thirty people, which in my opinion is the perfect size.  It gives everyone a chance to mingle, while the guest of honor has time to visit with each guest.

Schedule: Good parties typically have a time window of three to four hours.  Knowing we would need to leave the house by 4pm, I scheduled a lunch party from 12-3:30.

Invites: The actual invites are completely up to the host.  I chose to do email invites, simply because I had so many other things on my plate.

Menu: The menu is what takes the most thought and preparation.  I had already decided that I would do buffet style because it’s easiest when you have that many people.  Next, I let the guest of honor choose the actual menu.  For this party Lindsey chose fish tacos and a variety of her favorite desserts.  Something like tacos allows for one of my favorite things at a party: food stations.  They’re fun, delicious, and make for a beautiful spread. It’s also something that for the most part can be made ahead of time (sauces, slaws, and toppings cut up and stored in the fridge).  I made a couple different fishes, set everything out on nice platters and the rest was up to the guests.

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Set-up:  I knew weeks ago that I would want the party to be inside and extend out into our backyard.  Because there would be kids, I made sure to set up our bags and other lawn games.  I also knew that our backyard garden would make the perfect back drop for all the family pictures.  Given this, I made sure both the lawn and garden were well tended to leading up to the party.  A few days before, Lindsey and I set out the platters and dishware we wanted to use (with sticky notes of course), set the tables, and started chilling the drinks.

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The key to throwing any good party is preparation.  You want to be able to enjoy own party too.  So try to plan ahead, let the party really be about the guest of honor, and enjoy yourself!  Luckily we had gorgeous weather, great company, and a fantastic reason to celebrate.  Congratulations Lindsey, we are so proud of you!

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