blog » June 1, 2016 by Donna John

Throw a Great Summer or Graduation Party With Tips From Debi Lilly by Donna John

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7 years ago
Throw a Great Summer or Graduation Party With Tips From Debi Lilly

lanning a summer or graduation party or get-together? Event planner and entrepreneur Debi Lilly joined us recently on #30SecondMom chat and shared great party and food ideas – and some special tips, DIY projects and gift ideas! Debi is the CEO and founder of A Perfect Event and is on a mission to inspire, educate and share her 20 years of celebrity party planning and stylist tips, tricks and DIY designs to elevate celebrations for any occasion, everywhere, coast to coast. Read on to get her incredible ideas for your next party!

Q: What are top trends for graduation and summer parties?
For graduation parties, personalize everything – colors of the school graduating from, favorite foods and drinks, favorite music, etc.! For a summer party you can do much of the same. Pick a theme or color and weave it through your gathering.

For summer decor, make hanging lanterns and floral vases using string, our goldstripe vases, LED votive candles and fresh blooms. Here’s how:

  • Cut string into long 18-inch pieces and lay flat on a table.
  • Cut second string to create hanging 10-inch loop.
  • Tie each end of second string to the long string, creating a "hanger" for vase.
  • Tie long string to lip of vase and tie into a tight knot.
  • Make sure the loop is even and centered for stability.
  • Fill a vase with a LED candle for a lantern, or water and fresh blooms for floral vases.

Q: What are some other fast and easy decor ideas on a budget?
Blow up balloons, attach favorite photos through the years to the bottom for instant wow factor. Make DIY green garland. It’s easy! Here’s how:

  • Choose bunches of greens in the floral department, like Eucalyptus, Ruskus or Waxflower.
  • Lay the stems of greens down the table, overlapping to hide the stems.
  • Cut string into small pieces, 6 inches long, and tie the stems tightly every fewinches to secure, hiding string under leaves.
  • Add height and interest with pedestal vases filled with pillar candles tucked along the green garland as a beautiful summer centerpiece.

Try a DIY terrarium. How fun is this! Here’s how to do it:

  • Fill glass pedestal vases with vase filler rocks, shells or sand for an instant pop of color and texture.
  • Place succulents on top for an instant terrarium!

Q: What are fast, easy recipe trends for any party?
A big tasting bar with bites like grilled sausages with spiced mustards, Mexican corn salad, savory lollipops like caprese or melon and prosciutto. Have a DIY salad bar. It’s so easy. Here’s how:

  • Fill a large glass pedestal vases with flavored lettuces, like chopped butter lettuce, chopped romaine and arugula.
  • Fill smaller pedestal vases with toppings: croutons, chopped radish, carrots, cabbage, fresh herbs like mint and basil, dried cranberries, sliced almonds, pecans, goat cheese.
  • Place dressings onto table in bowls with spoons to serve.
  • Add spoons into each jar and bowls onto the table for guests to fill with salad and toppings.

Q: What treats work best to serve in warm summer months?
Mini sweets are best; “set and forget” before guests arrive. For graduations, make a cupcake bar with icing colors to match school colors. Try a DIY popcorn bar. It’s fun and easy. Here’s how:

  • Fill large glass pedestal vases with flavored popcorn like sea salt, white cheddar and caramel corn.
  • Fill smaller pedestal vases with toppings: fresh herbs, dried cranberries, sliced almonds, pecan ships, chocolate chips, toffee pieces, etc.
  • Place seasonings among the jars, like dried oregano, black pepper, cinnamon sugar.
  • Add spoons into each jar and bowls onto table for guests to fill with popcorn and toppings.

Q: What are the best graduation gift trends?
Personal experiences always make best gifts, like a day trip or weekend away together they will remember forever. Framed art and framed quotes are a huge trend for their new dorm or apartment. And cash is always king! Here’s a gift idea for your guests – make an herb garden. Here’s how:

  • Perfect for summer decor or DIY gifts, combine our gold-dipped pots with fresh herbs or florals.
  • Personalize them with fresh herbs or plants’ name using a Sharpie marker. People love these!

Thank you so much to our Debi Lilly! What great ideas for summer and graduation parties! Be sure to visit for more great information and more amazing event ideas! Follow @DebiLilly, @APerfectEvent and @DLLoft, and like her on Facebook to stay connected to this amazing mom and entrepreneur!

Elisa Schmitz
I can't wait for this chat! Thanks for coordinating, Jan Mostrom! Debi Lilly is amazing and this will be an inspiring chat, for sure! See you at 8pmCT...

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