It’s been almost a year (just shy a couple days) since we were in Calgary, celebrating my little sister’s university graduation. I threw her a little science-y party and since we were back visiting this weekend, it reminded me that I haven’t yet shared it with all of you! So prepare yourself for some nerdy (says the girl who knows nothing about science) party goodness. But first… can I tell you the BEST thing about this science grad party? It’s set-up-able (that’s a word, promise) in less than half an hour in any home you’ve never been to before. What I mean is… you don’t need perfect white walls with no chandelier for people to hit their heads on (nobody has this space in their home) and you can prepare *almost* everything ahead of time.
Plus, down at the bottom… I’m sharing my top tips to throw a rad party without much stress, in anyone’s house.
So let’s give this party some context. Calgary, where my sister lives is 8 hours away (maybe longer when travelling with toddlers). We drove there (in a car with little to no room for packed decorations), watched her graduate (she’s a ‘super nerd’ and graduated with a fancy Honors degree in Cellular Molecular Biology and a Chemistry Degree), then went to her house (which I’d never seen before) and invited her friends (who I had never met) over for a party. Uhhh- what was I thinking? So I had no plans to do anything really special, because honestly I was pregnant, cranky, and travelling 8 hours with twin toddlers. But I realized that my sister is my biggest blog fan and had talked me up to all of her friends so I felt like I really had to make it look like I tried.
So I set to the internet to find some ideas for adult science graduation parties and came up pretty darn empty. Because apparently, the science theme is only for 7 year olds. Then I came across this sweet Fundamental Party kit from The Land of Nod and decided that was my solution. SO in the last year… The Land of Nod stopped selling this kit (I think it’s discontinued) but you can still grab it on Amazon (gotta love Amazon). Since I’m a DIY’er at heart, I decided I’d DIY a science themed backdrop to go along with the decorations.
I used black dollar store (always!) table cloths to cover the table and wall so I didn’t have to worry what kind of wall/ decorations I was competing with. That wall is actually brown/tan with nails sticking out of it… the backdrop covers it all! I think that any party I do at someone else’s house from now on will have a backdrop to cover the walls. It was SO handy. I had my sister write equations and diagrams in chalk pen on the table cloth for a chalkboard look. I created some molecules using painted Styrofoam balls and barbecue skewers for something a little extra. I packed the painted styrofoam balls in a bag and the skewers separately, assembling them as I stuck them to the wall (using double sided tape). And I totally nerded out Googling which molecules to make. And even though I’d done my research, my sister still told me how inaccurate these were. *sigh*
I’m so thrilled with how it turned out and it was a ton of fun to get to know her friends a little bit. Now… ready for the gold? I’ve condensed everything I learned from this into bullet points so that you can throw a stress free (but still pretty!) party no matter where you happen to be.
- Find some awesome pre-made party decorations. Paper and plastic make for a fast clean up! I love pretty much everything The Land of Nod carries in their party section. Case and point… this donut party.
- Get a table cloth and backdrop- again, disposable is best! Hit up the dollar store for this one.
- DIY a couple handmade touches ahead of time that you can toss when you’re done (like my molecules, or a centrepiece) DIY makes it feel special!
- Bring everything you may possibly need (I learned the hard way that not everyone stocks tape in their house- save yourself the stress!)
- Have food either prepared ahead of time or choose ready made options (we hit the grocery store when we got to town since we were traveling on a hot day and picked up chips, dip, and pop-in-the-oven appies… super fancy stuff, y’know)
- Keep it simple – don’t get too fussy, you and your guests will enjoy themselves more if you’re not running around asking them to tape up last minute signs and arrange flowers. Not even kidding- I’ve been to so many parties where I walked in as a guest and ended up hanging things, prepping things, and forgot to sit and visit.
- Focus on one area – you don’t need to spread decorations around a whole house for a fun party. Make a great table and relax about the rest! Especially if you don’t know what the house has for space.
I hope these tips will help you have a stress-free party (no matter where you are!), they totally helped me pull this off in a snap. So tell me, party people… do you have any tips for a simple (but fun!) party? Share them in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!