Graduation...Ideas & Lessons Learned

This blog was originally posted last June. Reposting for all my friends getting ready to celebrate their senior's big day!

Many of us with graduates this year are looking back at the celebrations and smiling...either because it was truly a joyous occasion or because it's over! For me, I think it's both. I laughed, I cried, I stressed and I learned things for the next time.  Here are some of my photo highlights:

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INVITATIONS: I created Emily's invitations with her senior pics and pics from her childhood. I also included where she was going to college. I loved them. Will do it the same for child #2.

SIGN-IN BOOK (pictured above): This was a book of senior pics and other pics from childhood with LOTS of white space for friends and family to write well wishes and memories. This is a keepsake she will have for life and can look back at when life gets tough. This girl is loved by many and it shows in this book.

PALETTE PICTURE DISPLAY: This was my favorite thing and made me so happy to look at. Along the left were collages of her schools and pics from that time period. Along the right, pics of family & faith. I added her hat, sash and letter, along with a few pieces of artwork from grade school, grad pics and friends. Would totally do this again for any special occasion. The best part...I could do it ahead of time and it was mobile. We were prepared for the rain!

OTHER PHOTO DISPLAYS: I was prepared, but a little disappointed because my grand plan for other photos was thwarted by the rain. I had planned (feel free to use least someone can) to zigzag burlap ribbon between 2 beams under our deck and hang pics with clothes pins. It would have been fabulous! Instead, I went to work with the burlap ribbon, some raffia, and my hot glue gun. Not as fabulous as the zigzag deck display, but it worked out okay.

I'm a sucker for pic displays that watch kids grow up before your eyes. Once I realized I had pics from each year she played softball (since Kindergarten), I couldn't resist. This was done poster size.

SLIDE SHOW: Emily is one of a group of 5 who have been best friends for many years. It was my pleasure over the years to be their "photographer" for many dances and events. Before the graduation ceremony, I had them and their parents over and we watched a slideshow I created with these awesome friend pics. I'm so honored to have been able to do that for them. Music + pictures = POWERFUL!

PHOTO BOOTH: This was fun. We gathered a bunch of props and tried to grab as many people as possible going into the party.

DO SOMETHING GOOD! Emily is my first and I'm so proud of her. It was amazing to relive all of these memories as I rediscovered many pics I haven't looked at in years. I do this stuff for a living, so for me, pulling it together was MOSTLY fun, but I recognize that for's their nightmare. Here is my thought for that you've taken the time to pull the pics, do something good with them...put them in a slide-in album (good quality!), scan them and put them in a digital album, or at minimum, put together a good quality memory box (Legacy box) for your graduate. You'll be glad you did! Emily and I will be taking her invitation, the collages from the palette, the pics from the burlap ribbon, the photo booth pics and putting them in an album. A forever keepsake.

Congratulations to those with graduates and for you future graduate parents...don't forget to slow down enough to enjoy rediscovering the memories!