Are you hungry? Thirsty? Need to use the loo? Take care of all of that now because this post is a long one and you will want to be comfortable – you’re going to be here a while.
Let me be completely honest and say right up front that I did not want to throw a graduation party for Hannah. I know, right? I just thought, well, we did a big one for high school. And we had that big party for Dale’s 60th. And I thought it might be greedy to expect people to show up again and give my kid a present.
Her two dads talked me into it. Yes indeed, Dale and Rick insisted that we do it. And I’m really really glad they did.
The first thing I always decide on, when planning a party, is the theme. It’s so important and – here’s the real reason I do it – it makes everything else so easy. Get yourself a theme and the rest – thanks in part to Pinterest – just falls into place.
I don’t think I’ve told you all this but Hannah is going to Oxford to take classes for the month of July. Yes. That Oxford. (insert moment of utter pride, complete amazement, and sheer terror from mom). So, what better theme for her college graduation party than that of a British Pub.
I started by choosing a blue and white striped tent. We had brown table cloths (to look like wood) and we borrowed a bar. I bought garlands of Union Jack flags and we strung those across the tent.
For centerpieces I got geraniums and put an American and British flag into each pot. Simple. And now they can be planted in my yard. (You can see the bar and the barrels in the background of this photo.)
Of course, what’s a British pub without a proper British pub menu? We had hors d’oeuvres of ploughman’s lunch on each table and we passed individual fish and chip cups, cucumber lollipops and my old standby for any party – pigs in a blanket. The main course was shepherd’s pie, pancetta mac ‘n cheese, cole slaw, rolls and butter.
Props and details abounded in our yard.
Props like these English party crackers. There are lots of photos (I didn’t share them all with you, don’t panic) of people wearing their paper crowns on their heads as they enjoyed the afternoon, playing games, talking, laughing, and eating.
We made a mind the gap rug for in front of the port-a-john.
And we decorated the inside of the port-a-john with a very appropriate poster. And some reading material, just in case.
We had paper straws and little framed signs encouraging people to use Hannah’s hashtag for the day.
Hannah’s friend Joe made this awesome Beer Garden sign to lead the way to the bathtub full of beer.
We pulled out our bikes and decorated them for the occasion.
And we had a beautiful cake made by my very talented friend, Caroline of Buttercup’s Bakery. 3 layers of white cake but each with a different filling – the top was chocolate ganache, the middle was raspberry and the bottom was lemon curd. It was as delicious as it was beautiful!
Jo-Ann helped me turn 70+ little red bags into red phone booths filled with candy.
The pièce de résistance was the life size red telephone box that Dale built. It was fantastic and so much fun – just about everyone got their picture taken in it, I think.
Hannah’s high school friends loved it.
And Hannah’s Uncle Barry and Auntie Jen did, too. They joined with others and wrote “graffitti” on the wall and that back board is now in Hannah’s room as a rather large guest book.
What’s a party without music, right? My friend Tom set up his speakers for a playlist but the real surprise of the day was that we hired a local band called Four in a Row to play a few sets. They do a lot of Beatles music so they went with our theme perfectly.
They posed with the phone booth, too.
And with Hannah.
And around the back side under the Sgt Pepper album cover. Could they be any cuter?
Hannah had a wonderful day. She must have thanked us a gazillion times. She got some very thoughtful gifts, a lot of cash, some English pounds, and enough well wishes and congratulations to last a life time.
As for Dale and Rick and I? We are incredibly proud, understandably grateful, and truly humbled at the friends and family who came to this party to celebrate Hannah’s accomplishment. They say it takes a village and we are so amazed by the people in Hannah’s village.