Retirement Party Design

As I mentioned before, my mom recently retired after 24 years at a university. Earlier this summer, you might remember my post about selecting a special gift for her

I knew I wanted to throw a festive, summer bash to commemorate this big milestone. To celebrate, I tried to focus on all things Diana.... even "Diana" coloring pages for the kids. I thought I would share a few budget-friendly decor and menu planning details from the party. There were other items such as the invitation and guestbook I forgot to capture on film (#bloggerfail). I guess when you're the party hostess, you can't do it all. 

After throwing the biggest party of our lives (our wedding) only a couple months prior, catering a full meal would not work for our budget. We had to be very cautious of our spending. Luckily, my family chipped in and helped fill the menu with a variety of finger foods and desserts. 

I tried to spice it up with a few spunky foods.

I also whipped out my mini popcorn machine for individual servings of this salty treat. Thankfully, my cousin, Sonya, manned the machine and kept the kernels popping until we were fully stocked. 

We definitely needed a dessert bar since my mom is a lover of all baked goods. 

I had the bright idea to create cookies that looked like my mother. I found adorable face cookies on Pinterest and knew I could tweak them to resemble my mom. I took the Pinterest image to Servatii's Pastry Shop and had their baker replicate the design. They didn't turn out exactly like the image, but they as a great conversation starter.

I baked the Oreo brownies using a pan we received as a wedding gift. It looks like a muffin pan, but with square holes... genius! I'm obsessed with this design, because it makes your items look like they came straight from the bakery.

I created these cute, little flags using washi tape and toothpicks.

The white chocolate confetti strawberries were also a "Sarah Lee" special that I whipped up in my home kitchen.

My aunt brought her famous cherry cheesecakes, which are always a party hit!

Drinks for kids. Capri Suns were always my go-to as a child and still a popular choice among my little cousins.

Lemonade and bottled water served as additional non-grownup drinks. You'll notice striped straws are a favorite of mine. Heck, I love any decorative straw. These days I have seen it all... birch tree straws, floral straws, polka dot straws... so many options to choose from now!

I wanted a custom cocktail napkin, but didn't want to pay a premium price, so I purchased a "D" stamp from Michael's and went to town stamping plain napkins with my mom's initial.

I decided to step up the look of the water bottles with floral Duck Tape.

The adult guests enjoyed a simple selection of mature beverages - beer, wine and champagne.

Chocolate rocks - yes, they look like real pebbles - were my favorite, unique find. I initially thought I would go with rock candy sticks as favors, but couldn't find the amount I needed, so I purchased chocolate rocks from Fawn Candy. I packaged them in cellophane bags and topped them off with homemade favor tags.  

Despite the storm that day, it was a lovely day to close a beloved chapter of my mother's career.

1 comment

  1. Sarah,
    I enjoy reading all your blogs. I'm sure your mom really enjoyed her party. You put so much thought into it and looks like it turned out great. I look forward to reading many more blogs and gaining more ideas from you.
    Beth O.


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