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How To Host an Amazing Graduation Open House…Without Losing Your Mind: Part 2

When it comes to planning a graduation open house, the food you plan to serve is a key component.  There are so many options available and it can get overwhelming when trying to narrow it down.  Use the tips in this video or posted below to help you through the process.

I always start out by asking my graduate if there is anything specific he/she would like to have and then build from there.  Decide if you would like to go with a theme, such a Mexican food, or have a variety of options.  Here are a few ideas:

  1. Nacho or taco bar – This one is very simple and always a big hit. You can have ground beef and/or shredded chicken in crockpots, chips in large bowls and lots of different toppings such as shredded cheese, queso, diced tomatoes and onions, shredded lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo, etc.

  1. Cookout – Here you can have burgers and hotdogs, and the usual outdoor cookout side dish options like potato salad, baked beans, chips, or whatever you like. You can have someone manning the grill throughout the open house to keep up with the demand.

  1. Deli sandwiches – These may be served hot or cold. I suggest using slider buns with deli ham and turkey.  Set out separate plates/bowls with condiments and serve whatever sides you like.

  1. Brunch – There are so many things you do with a brunch theme. Make ahead breakfast casseroles, pastries, donuts, yogurt bar, and fruit are just a few examples.

  1. BBQ Feast – Serve pulled pork and/or pulled chicken barbecue along with slider buns and simple sides like mac ‘n cheese, baked beans, chips, etc.

  1. Appetizers – Small bites are a big success at any open house. These can range from meatballs and lil’ smokies in bbq sauce, to hot and/or cold dips, veggie trays, fruit trays, cheese cubes or cheese balls and crackers, and the list goes on an on.

  1. Dessert – Are you planning to serve cake? Will you have other desserts in addition to the cake?  If you are, then you won’t need a really big cake.  Cookies are great because they can be baked ahead of time and frozen.  Other ideas include chocolate dipped strawberries and pretzels, cake pops, cupcakes, chocolate fountain or even a candy bar filled with lots of different types of candy.


  1. Drinks – My drinks of choice at an open house are small bottled water and drink dispensers filled with lemonade and tea. Many people like to offer soft drinks and will have them in coolers for guests.  It is up to you whether you prefer can or to have 2-liters on hand instead.

These are just a few ideas to help you think through one of the most important parts of your open house.  Of course the possibilities are endless!

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