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  • Marissa Hitt

Reflecting on an Unforgettable High School Graduation Party: What Made It Memorable and What I Would Change

After hosting a high school graduation party, I have a newfound love for event planning. It was a joy to be intentional with the details. One of my main goals was to create an experience for my friends & family members. I wanted to cultivate an atmosphere of relaxation, sophistication, & fun.


It's nearly been a year since I entered La Villa on my graduation party day, & it has been two years since I first toured the venue.


I have had a moment (almost 365 days) to reflect on the unforgettable graduation party that represents one of the best days of my life. I've been waiting for nearly a year to publish this blog post. One year later, I'm reflecting on an unforgettable high school graduation party. I want to share what made it memorable & what I would change.


With graduation season upon us, I will highlight some of my favorite parts about the party, along with some of the things I wish I could redo. Although I am reflecting on my high school graduation party, this blog post applies to any social event, especially weddings.



What Made It Memorable


HOSTING THE PARTY IN MY DREAM VENUE, LA VILLA


Hosting my high school graduation party in La Villa, located in Kansas City, was a dream come true. I began planning for my grad party a year & a half before I graduated, & one of my first priorities was to secure a venue. I knew I wanted white walls, natural light for photos, & a space that was refined, sophisticated, & classy. I learned that La Villa Kansas City was once a church in the 1920's, & I was in awe with its architecture. La Villa was the only venue I toured, & it had my heart. Securing the date of my graduation party at La Villa was truly a God-ordained occasion.



Marissa Melane Hitt in White La Villa High School Graduation Party Space

Marissa Melane Hitt's White La Villa High School Graduation Party Layout Space

Marissa Melane Hitt's White La Villa High School Graduation Party Ceiling Space

High School Graduation Party Venue La Villa for  Marissa Melane Hitt

THE DECOR


I loved picking out the framed photos, keepsake items, & other decor pieces that showcased the milestones in my life. A few months before the party, I began making a list of all of the items I wanted to bring to my celebration. It was incredibly helpful to use my graduation ceremony, which was a month before my party, as an opportunity to receive an idea of my favorite decor pieces. I graduated through Midwest Parent Educators (MPE), and after MPE's ceremony, my graduating class & I welcomed our ceremony guests to our senior display tables. Preparing my senior display table was like a mini trial run for my graduation party.


Marissa Hitt High School Graduation Party Decor Showcasing Marissa's Milestones

Marissa Hitt High School Graduation Party Decor Showcasing Marissa's Graduate Items

Marissa Hitt High School Graduation Party Decor with Framed Artwork and Mother and Daughter Portrait

Marissa Hitt High School Graduation Party Decor for Girl

Marissa Hitt High School Graduation Party Decor Letterboard and Photographs

PHOTOS BEFORE & DURING THE PARTY


My two main "must-haves" for this grad party were a classy white venue & professional photography on site. Photographs are more than social media posts, but moments I can cherish for the rest of my life. Months before the party, I created a Pinterest board & shared it with my amazing photographer. I wanted to capture individual photos, moments with some of my immediate family members, photographs of my party, & memories, both candid & posed, with friends & family. Because I wanted to take some photos before & during the party, here's what the graduation party schedule looked like:


June 25th, 2023

Arrive at La Villa to set up - 12 PM

Begin taking individual photos - 12:30 PM

Begin taking photos with family - 1:00 PM

Graduation party begins - 1:30 PM

Mrs. Shipley, my photographer, leaves - 2:30 PM

Graduation party ends - 3:30 PM


Due to la budget, photos were scheduled for a portion of the party, which was one of the ways to ensure I could receive professional photos of decor, refreshments, friends, & family members. Once I received the professional photos, these special moments were sent to those who were captured on camera.


Marissa Hitt in La Villa white hallway leading to ballroom

Marissa Hitt looking towards natural light in graduation party dress headshot portrait

Marissa Hitt in family moment wih Terri Hitt, dad, and sister for graduation party

Marissa Hitt's sister looking outside La Villa window in white exterior space

Marissa Hitt with Dad in black and white high school graduation party photograph

DESIGNING MY GRAD PARTY DRESS


I sketched my dream grad party dress, & Jaxson Wyatt, a dear friend from the fashion scene, brought it to life.


Marissa Hitt's high school graduation party dress framed as decor and sketched

Marissa Hitt's fashionable, classy, and elegant high school graduation party dress

Marissa Hitt's elegant high school graduation party dress

Marissa Hitt wearing fashionable dress in black and white photograph high school graduation party venue La Villa

THE DESSERT


It was incredibly sweet to support several small businesses through my graduation party, with one of them being Fluffy Fresh Donuts, a favorite dessert place my dad & I share. I paired Fluffy Fresh Donuts with cookies & made hand-painted labels to go along with the refreshments & the desserts.


Graduation party Fluffy Fresh donuts and Crumbl Cookies dessert from Marissa Hitt

Graduation party Fluffy Fresh donuts dessert and hand-painted labels from Marissa Hitt

High school graduation party drink refreshments from Marissa Hitt

POLAROID PHOTO STATION


Although I had professional photos taken for a good portion of my graduation party, I wanted to provide my guests with tangible photographs on the day of the celebration. A sweet guest at the party took a handful of Polaroids just for me, & it was so neat to see her point of view. I was also able to take a polaroid photo with a friend I have known since middle school, which was sentimental. I'm not sure how many of my guests slipped on the wristband & captured a moment on film, but I'm glad the Polaroid camera I received in sixth grade was a part of my milestone of a day.


Marissa Hitt's high school graduation party polaroid station

LETTER STATIONS FOR MY GUESTS


Though they were one of the last ideas for my graduation party, these letter stations were a fan favorite. I placed the stations throughout my grad party space, with each touchpoint having a prompt. There were three letter stations total, with the prompts being "please write down 3 words that describe the graduate & please sign your name," "please write down your favorite memory with the graduate & please sign your name," & "please write down [a] podcast, book, song recommendation[s], etc. & please sign your name." It was such a delight to read the letters from my guests, while also receiving the chance to get to know my friends & family better based on their personal memories & preferences.


Marissa Hitt's high school graduation party write a letter station at La Villa

PERSONALIZED NOTES ON A BULLETIN BOARD


Words became a recurring theme for this unforgettable graduation party. As a watercolor artist who creates notecards for my online shop, meaningful hand-written messages are the kinds of treasures worth holding. My schedule was quite dense during my senior year of high school, & I didn't know if I would be able to create a personalized gift experience for my guests, especially one that was affordable. However, as my graduation party drew nearer & nearer, I began writing down the names of friends & family members who had RSVP'd & made it my mission to craft a card to every individual who could come. I found small windows of opportunities to craft these heartfelt messages. I would write a letter in between painting a custom portrait or while I waited on a meal to finish in the microwave. The front of each card hosted a name, & on the back of each card was a personalized letter. Late one night, I put together the background of the letterboard, & it turned out I had enough time leading up to the party to add 1-3 embellishments to every notecard.


Marissa Hitt by high school graduation party hand-written letterboard


What I Would Change


SOLVE THE WAX SEAL SITUATION


Sadly, some of my graduation party invitations did not make it to their assigned destinations. My guess as to why this happened is that the post office had trouble delivering the grad invites due to the wax seals. Thankfully, the number of lost invitations was likely lower than it could have been, as I sent some digital graduation party invitations, as well as meeting some people in-person, to give them their invites. That being said, if I desired to host another event where my invitations included wax seals, I would want to do a little research to ensure they would be delivered.


Marissa's high school graduation party invitation

Marissa Hitt High School Graduation Party Invitation for La Villa Kansas City with wax seal

LOCK THE VENUE DOORS


Leading up to my party, I chose the layout of the occasion. I wanted my guests to enter & be greeted with an 8" X 3" table that held a vase of realistic-looking white roses & several of my personal keepsakes, such as perfumes & framed pictures. In addition to these items that served as decor, the table would also host a mirrored tray for my friends & family members' cards & gifts. As my guests made their way through my grad party space, they would see my letter stations, the letter board, the desserts, the tables & chairs, & the high-top table in the back of the ballroom that held my Polaroid camera. That being said, I didn't think about the slight confusion my guests would have if they entered through the doors in the back right-hand side of the ballroom, closest to the high-top table with my Polaroid. Some of my guests didn't know where to place their cards & gifts, & it was likely that the layout of my party was a bit disorienting upon arrival. So, to explain the title of this paragraph, I should have locked the *right venue doors!


Marissa Hitt's unforgettable high school graduation party notes at La Villa Kansas City

Marissa Melane Hitt Marissa's Milestones Graduation Party Layout Design and Writing

Unforgettable graduation party doors at event venue La Villa Kansas City hosted by high school senior Marissa Hitt

Unforgettable graduation party door entrance at event venue La Villa Kansas City hosted by high school senior Marissa Hitt

PREDETERMINE MY GUESTS' ARRIVAL TIMES


My graduation party venue was quite spacious, so I was concerned that I would not have enough guests to fill it. Because I have so many wonderful people in my life, capacity, as it turned out, was not a problem. However, if I were to host another graduation party or an event of similar fashion, I would ask my friends & family members when they expected to arrive after they RSVP'd. By inquiring about arrival times, I could have determined how many people would come at which hour of the party. I enjoy events such as fundraisers & galas with a large number of guests, but by predetermining my friends' & family members' arrival times, I could have brought to their attention whether or not I would be able to take a professional photo with them because of Mrs. Shipley's presence, while also decreasing the time between their arrival & my greeting them.


Marissa Hitt getting ready for an unforgettable high school graduation party at La Villa Kansas City

ALL IN ALL,


it was an amazing day, & my graduation party went even better than I expected. I crafted this blog post with the intent to highlight my favorite features of my grad party, & help a graduate, a bride, or an event host by listing what I would have changed. If you have found value in this post, I would be delighted if you shared it with a friend or family member.


Marissa


Black and white high school senior portrait of Marissa Hitt at La Villa Kansas City for an unforgettable graduation party

Reflecting on an Unforgettable High School Graduation Party: What Made It Memorable and What I Would Change Credits:

Venue: La Villa - Kansas City Wedding and Event Venue

Photos by Jenny Shipley

“Marissa’s Milestones” sign: Blush & Lumber

Dress design brought to life by Jaxson Wyatt

Donuts: Fluffy Fresh

Cookies: Crumbl Cookies

Polaroid Instructions: Wishful Paper Boutique

High school senior graduation party invites with hair and makeup by Ashley Marie

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2023 Jenny Shipley Senior Marissa Party Digital-68_edited.jpg
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