This farmers’ market-themed graduation party gets any grad off to a fresh start. Even better, it’s a graduation theme that’s easy to ace — we teamed with Panera Catering for an easy menu we styled to fit the fresh decor theme for a hassle-free luncheon that will allow you to celebrate instead of cook. With our inspiration below, you’ll be a natural at putting together your own class-act graduation party.
The real world starts with the grad’s own backyard — why not host the party there? Late spring means balmy weather, and the outdoor setting underscores the natural theme. We put together a wooden backdrop with “The World Is Your Market” spelled out in 3-D white letters, but you could also spray-paint a sheet of plywood with chalkboard paint and write on it with white chalk.
We chose a menu from Panera catering of pre-made sandwiches, salads, soup, baguettes, green tea, lemonade, cookies, and chips that was designed to please all ages and arrive ready for plating.
You can add visual appeal and extend the market theme by dishing the prepared foods into bowls and onto trays made of earthy materials such as metal and wood.
A tray of grab-and-go sandwiches allows guests to mingle while they eat. Adding a bushel of bright red apples — fruit also provided by Panera — makes the spread look even more appetizing and gives a nod to the school motif.
Transferring the green salad studded with fresh veggies to a rustic bowl adds charm to the spread, as do containers of mini heirloom tomatoes (which we like to think of as edible decor).
Ready-to-serve tomato soup cups can also be served grab-and-go style for maximum ease.
Chalkboards, like the one here, are great for labeling dishes or drinks as well as offering clever sayings. Bonus: Their association with both school and farmers’ markets earns them extra credit.
A blackboard menu lets guests know what’s being offered without having to ask — just set it on a crate so it’s at eye level.
Additional wooden crates filled with apples, baguettes, and chips do double duty as decor and snacks. A smattering of school-oriented pieces, such as this chalkboard globe, tie in the school element.
Drinks can be poured into clear cups and placed on ice in a square metal tub just like you’d find at the market. Jugs can also be iced alongside individual containers for easy access to refills.
Displayed cut flowers and potted herbs can offer a personal message for the grad, and/or inform guests they’re welcome to take their favorite as a favor on their way home.
Cutlery wrapped in napkins can get in on the graduation action with paper bands secured with glue dots to create instant napkin rings. Here’s to the class of 2014!
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