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How much would you spend on graduation?

Area businesses prepare for increased traffic during this year’s graduation season. 


Posted on May 21, 2014 at 4:04 p.m.

With college commencement ceremonies wrapping up and high school graduation right around the corner, local businesses are seeing a spike in traffic related to graduation celebrations.

A sample bill for a graduation party with about 75 guests is as follows:  

Graduation cake: $50-120

Adam’s Cake Shop at 1401 Johnson St. in Elkhart specializes in cakes, but co-owner Adam Harrison said some customers order a few dozen cupcakes or 50 cookies in addition to a graduation cake. He estimated customers would pay about $70 for a sheet cake and $50 for an order of cookies, depending on how they want their order decorated.

Martin’s sells sheet cakes that can be decorated with borders, mascots and even a portrait of the grad. Full sheet cakes, which serve up to 72 people, cost just under $50. A miniature cap and diploma on top of the cake is $4 extra.

Food in bulk: $339-$410.40

Martin’s Supermarkets offers a “Congratulations Celebration Package” that includes deli chicken and a variety of sides, as well as balloon bouquets and a decorated sheet cake. The package costs $339 and serves 70-80 people, according to the Parties by Martin’s website.

Gordon Food Services publishes suggested event menus on its website. The Great Family Cookout menu, meant to serve a party of 50 people, includes hot dogs, hamburgers and bratwurst with a variety of sides. Adjusted for a party of 75 people, food on the menu would cost $410.40. The menu does not include a graduation cake.

Party supplies and decorations: $99.99 to $250

Party City in Mishawaka offers “Grad Celebration Party Kits” with party decorations, plasticware and plates tailored for 50-guest and 100-guest parties. According to the website, the 50-guest kit costs $99.99 and the 100-guest kit costs $149.99.

Lilly’s Party at 820 N. Ward St. sells most of its party supplies like decorations and tableware individually, manager Garry Ferrell said. Ferrell said customers would likely spend $225-250 on a party of 75 people.

Tent, table and chair rental: $500 to $531.99

Gina McCray, of Burns Rent-Alls Inc. in Mishawaka, recommended at least a 20-foot by 30-foot tent, nine 6-foot tables and 80 chairs for a party of about 75 people. Burns also offers packages that include table coverings, trash cans and portable restrooms, among other items. The package runs customers $531.99 plus tax, she said, and delivery to Elkhart is $25.

Tim Miller of Miller’s Party Rental in Goshen said he would recommend a 20-foot by 40-foot tent if the party planners expected most of their guests to arrive at the same time. The tent as well as tables and chairs would cost customers about $500, he said. Delivery in Elkhart County is free.

Total: $938.99 to $1312.39

Buying all the supplies for a midsize, 75-guest graduation party could cost $1,000 or more in Elkhart County.


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