Backyard barbecue graduation party? Keep it simple.
Make it easy on yourself and serve five to seven different menu items. The most common mistake made at a graduation party is serving too much food. Read on for advice on quantity.
Dare to be different
After going to too many graduation parties where the same food was being served you will understand. We encourage you to be imaginative. For example, if your graduate is a pizza freak, serve pizza. It is an unusual open house item, and yet the number one most popular food among teenagers. Mix it up by serving some unique gourmet pizzas in addition
to the standard favorites, cheese and pepperoni. If your graduate loves desserts, have a dessert party that starts at 7 p.m., and specify “dessert party” on your invitation so people know to eat dinner earlier. Desserts can be made ahead and require little serving time. The bakery is an easy way out. Or how about make your own sundaes and banana splits?
Ask for help in the kitchen
Hire a caterer if you can, this is one party you don’t want to miss. If you can’t afford a caterer, ask friends and neighbors to help. If you’ve agreed on a theme, be sure to maximize the opportunity to find foods that fit the theme.
Keep hot food hot & cold food cold
As you plan your menu think about how you are going to set up your buffet table. Chafing dishes are available for
rent and make an excellent presentation. You may want to borrow one or two from a friend. Or you can rent them at your local rental company. To keep cold food cold we recommend setting up an ice table. These may be available for rent.
A weekend brunch is a great time of day to have a graduation party. You’ll get a great turn out and your guests will be hungry.
• Make it simple—offer a
variety of fresh baked bagels
and a selection of spreads.
• Cook pancakes on a big
griddle and serve them with different
toppings/syrups. You can
hire a professional to bring their
• We all love frosted doughnuts. Order ahead for a quick
stop at the bakery. You can even
request frosting in your school
colors. Be sure to have lots of
• Sausages and bacon can be
pre-cooked and kept warm in a
• You can prepare hard boiled
eggs with your graduate’s name
and the year on them and place them in a
beautiful basket. Great for
people on the
check with a
caterer or the
shop for service or supplies. Or create your own
or use your
juicer to prepare custom
fresh fruit in
boat. Cut your
out of the
Afternoon and evening
• BBQ sandwiches, ribs or
chicken served with coleslaw
and chips, baked beans and a
fruit salad. Tip from the professional caterer for the BBQ: If
you want to use the grill, reduce
your stress and precook your
• Mexican taco bar—serve
spicy ground beef in a crock
pot, and put the cold items (lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, salsa,
olives, onions) in bowls floating on ice to keep them cool.
Arrange the hard and/or soft
taco shells in a Mexican serving
bowl or basket. Or serve taco
chips. You can rent equipment
for dispensing hot cheese.
• Buy large bread shaped
like the graduation year—serve
it with spinach dip or do a big
submarine sandwich. Plan
ahead on how you are going to
keep the hoagie cool while it
sits out for several hours. We
recommend setting it on ice.
Rectangle shaped flower pots
can be bought in various sizes.
Or a wallpaper hanging trough
will do the job.
• Hoagie or sandwich bar—let
your guests assemble their own
sandwiches. Stop by your local
submarine sandwich shop for
inspiration. Or order a big variety to be sliced and served as
needed. Keep the extras in your
• Cotton Candy—rent a cotton
candy machine, slushie machine
or popcorn machine. They add a
festive flair and the kids love to
serve themselves. Beware: cotton
candy machines can be messy
so you may want to set this up
• Salad bar and fresh fruit for
the health nuts.
• Baked potato bar.
• Pizzas—order them from a
local delivery service.
• Swedish or barbeque meatballs. • Tortilla Wraps—ordered from
a local restaurant.
• Pasta Bar—serve several different pastas (eg: rotini, penne,
shells) and different sauces (marinara, a white or alfredo sauce,
and a meat sauce).