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Catering Ideas for Graduation Parties

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One of the most exciting moments in a young adult’s life is when they graduate high school. But, for parents, it’s often a stressful and challenging time—especially if party planning is involved. Graduation parties can be the highlight of a young adult’s last school year, but if it’s not planned properly, it can quickly turn into a disaster. 

From décor to music to food, there’s a lot to consider during the planning process! To take some of the stress out of planning, we’ve put together some of our favorite catering ideas for graduation parties to inspire you. 

Finger Foods Everyone Will Love

When planning a food menu for a high school graduation party, you have to consider everyone who has RSVP’d to the event. Everyone has different tastes, and some children may even have food allergies to keep in mind. 

Typically, finger foods are a safe bet, as long as you remember to offer a wide variety of options. This doesn’t mean that you can’t offer the favorites that people expect from a finger food buffet; in fact you need to make sure you meet these expectations. Options such as chicken tenders, mini quiche, breadsticks, pigs in a blanket, and mini cheese balls are a must.

It’s also important to ensure that all the food can be enjoyed while the guests are walking and talking without making a mess. The benefit of finger foods is that your guests don’t need to sit down to eat.

Other finger foods you could have on your menu include:

  • French Fries
  • Breadsticks
  • Onion Rings
  • Potato Chips
  • Fish Sticks
  • Gougères (Cheese Puffs)
  • Mini Kabobs

As long as the food is convenient and mess-free, you can add it to the menu. If there are guests with food allergies, be sure to handle any foods that contain these allergens separately and to ensure foods containing these allergens never mix with the safe foods before or during the party. 

Build-Your-Own Sandwiches or Subs

Building your own sub or sandwich has become quite the popular food option at parties and semi-formal events because of the diversity of options available. 

With a build-your-own menu, you can offer many different types of breads, meats, cheeses, and toppings, and let your guests make their ideal sandwich or sub. Here’s a quick look at the different kinds of bread, meats, cheeses, and veggies you can put on the table:

Bread

  • Multigrain Bread
  • Pretzel Rolls
  • Croissants
  • Tortillas
  • Italian Bread
  • Pita Bread

Meat

  • Oven-Roasted Chicken Breast
  • Pepperoni
  • Roast Beef
  • Bacon
  • Hot Calabrese Salami

Cheese

  • Swiss
  • Cheddar
  • Pepper jack
  • Provolone
  • American
  • Colby Jack

Vegetables

  • Sliced Tomato
  • Pickles
  • Lettuce
  • Sliced Avocado
  • Jalapeños
  • Sliced Onion

You can also offer spreads like mayonnaise, honey mustard, garlic aioli, and Dijon mustard.

Again, if there are any food allergies or dietary restrictions, be sure to keep these restricted foods away from the unrestricted foods before and during the party. 

Design Your Own Themed Buffet

You can also build an entire buffet around one idea. You can go with a BBQ-themed buffet, and choose from options like steaks, ribs, grilled tomatoes, sausages, olives, vegetable kebabs, dips, and sauces.

Should you want something a little different, you can also design a seafood buffet with raised platters of freshly seared prawns, smoked salmon, oysters, and crab. Keep in mind that this option is a little difficult to plan around if anyone attending has seafood allergies or is a vegetarian. Shellfish allergy is the most common type of seafood allergy; those with shellfish allergies will most likely not be able to eat shrimp, lobster, or crab, but may tolerate scallops, mussels, oysters, and clams. 

A sushi-themed buffet can also be a good idea, especially when you add special toppings like wasabi, pickled ginger, and soy sauce. Remember to offer vegan options as well. If there is anyone with a seafood allergy attending, be sure to clean surfaces between prepping the sushi and to keep restricted foods separated from the unrestricted ones.

Don’t Forget Dessert

We couldn’t end an article about the best catering ideas for graduation parties without discussing dessert. When planning a menu, most people put a lot of focus on the entree options, but often don’t spend as much time thinking about appetizers, drinks, and desserts. 

There are so many great dessert options you can offer at a graduation party, including small candy bars guests can snack on. If your event is in the summer, you can’t go wrong with popsicles or fruit bars.

Other easy (but tasty) dessert options include:

  • Rice Krispies Treats
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Ice Cream
  • Fudge
  • Cake Pops
  • Chocolate Pie
  • Brownies

You could also incorporate a chocolate fountain and offer fruits like strawberries, raspberries, mango, apricots, and bananas that your guests can dip into the chocolate. That way, if someone wants a healthier dessert choice, they can just opt for fruit only.

Are You Looking for Someone to Cater Your Graduation Party?

All these catering ideas will likely have you excited about planning the menu for this big day, but pulling it off successfully might still be challenging. If you need help planning the best menu for your child’s graduation party, reach out to our team at Chef Raymone. Serving Michigan, we offer a wide range of affordable and customizable catering options for graduation parties and other special events.  Contact us today to learn more about our menu options and pricing.

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