Graduation, Moroccan Style!

June 12

It’s been a fun conclusion to a long couple of weeks filled with all the normal end-of-school activities combined with graduation ceremonies, university orientation, and grad parties…including our own!  My son requested a smaller gathering for his graduation celebration, more like a large dinner party.  And the food request?  A traditional Moroccan meal…lucky my hubby just happened to live in Morocco as a child!  And though he didn’t know how to cook back then, he’s a wonderful at-home chef now and specializes in Moroccan delicacies!  We were lucky to have received a Moroccan cookbook as a wedding gift from my in-laws and what makes it extra special was what was written inside.  Within the pages of this book were the personal recipes of the cook who worked for my husband’s family  while they lived in Morocco.  My Father-in-law worked for the State Department and enjoyed the benefits of a staff while stationed in certain countries…they weren’t royalty or crazy rich, in case you’re wondering!  But we ultimately reaped those benefits too when we received all those wonderful and completely authentic recipes!  I do feel fortunate that my family has enjoyed these delicious and unique meals as the boys have grown throughout the years…and on special occasions they think nothing of eating without utensils, digging into a community pot, while seated on the floor!  So this very experience was my son’s request…to treat a small group of friends to a taste of something we hoped would be special!  Let me share with you our wonderful celebration for our son and some of his friends…

a sample of Morocco…

Moroccan party

the idea for a dinner party was a suggestion by dear friend of mine.  and when my son ultimately decided that this was what he wanted to do, i have to admit i was very excited to create this little event!  we started with the wonderful invites that were designed by my gifted friend from Alice-Louise Press!   and how cute are these whimsical stamps…

graduation invitations

we used two long, rustic tables and galvanized tubs to create the dining area.  i found an assortment of rag rugs at the dollar store and my mom so graciously made the floor cushions for us over the winter!  they were the perfect size to hold a bed pillow for comfy seating on the floor…

Moroccan party

the rugs were generously given to me by a sweet friend when she was clearing out her in-law’s home.  slightly vintage in appearance, they still went perfectly with the fun blend of patterns and designs!  simple bandannas made colorful “napkins” to drape over the cushion and also create more fun pattern play!  i had a couple extra to use in the bread “bowls” which are actually fiberglass pots from the garden center!

Moroccan party

the fun of traditional Moroccan meals is the fact that you normally eat without utensils and dig right in to the community pot!  this potentially can be rather messy so a craft paper table covering can be a life saver…and you can rip it off later for really easy clean-up!

paper table cover

i used minimal table decorations by dressing up our outdoor lanterns with some simple Moroccan detail.  some greens tied with colorful ribbon made a really pretty addition…

lanterm

but the table decorations were temporary since we would eventually need plenty of room for the food!  Moroccan meals often have mouthwatering sauces that are generally sopped up with loads of bread…so needless to say, we had plenty of it!

crusty bread

to add some color without using more table decor, i hung strands of ribbon from the patio chandelier and simply clipped snippets of greenery to it.  it made a simple and elegant addition to the table without taking up anymore surface space!  you can see the ribbons hanging above the bread tray…it was such pretty and inexpensive way to create an unusual centerpiece!

Moroccan table

and even though this meal is intended (in traditional style) to be eaten with your hands…we understand that there might be some that are uncomfortable eating in this fashion!  so when we set a Moroccan table we always include utensils and extra bowls for sauces…

Moroccan party

a cute detail on the silverware was a simple paper napkin wrapped with twine and a fun, bling sticker…

silverware

because i knew we’d have lots of messy hands i set out plenty of extra napkins AND wet wipes!  not just for cleaning up afterward but for washing up before dunking fingers into the pot!  i used some simple stickers to label the wet wipes, and a tag for the tin to contain extra table trash…

party supplies

i used more strands of the ribbon to tie back my patio curtains for another colorful detail…

Moroccan ribbon

what i find so fun about Moroccan design is that the more color and pattern the better!  honestly, you really don’t have to worry too much about whether things completely match…once you put it all together it has a fun and eclectic look that will be so festive!  i happened to have two beach cover-ups that worked perfectly for table covers!  they were in completely different colors but the patterns were the same…so i just rolled with it!  i draped the purple one over the dresser on my patio where we kept the tea glasses for after dinner sipping!

tea glasses

i filled my lantern with artificial flowers, greens and battery twinkle lights…

Moroccan party

and hanging above is a tissue garland with die-cut shapes simply clipped on.  this is such an easy way to add thematic detail to a garland!

party supplies

the other beach cover found itself on a table to hold extra treats for later in the evening!  even though it’s not a traditional Moroccan dessert, i feel compelled to serve up s’mores at any outdoor gathering…it’s a summer tradition!

smores

so to make it fit the theme i used a small Moroccan tagine (a traditional serving pot) to hold the chocolates!

Moroccan taginge

the dessert table was slightly unconventional as Moroccan standards go…even though there are some simple pastries that can be served with a traditional meal, usually a Moroccan dessert would consist of a platter of fruit that accompanies the sweet, mint tea.  so on the buffet we included simple fruit platters, date cookies, baklava…and cupcakes! (it was a grad party after all!)

grad party

date cookies

cinamon cupcakes

my friend from BellaGrey Designs created the wonderful backdrop for the dessert table!  i absolutely LOVE how it turned out…and it will make fun artwork for a bedroom or even a dorm!

grad party dessert table

she also created delightful cupcake toppers to go with the adorable backdrop…but as life would have it, they were still in transit while i took these photos!  a great reminder that it’s wonderful to have a backup plan for some minor problems that could arise!  i happened to have these appetizer picks that made a perfect substitute until the post arrived!  if you have backup plans for any party, it really takes the stress right out of little mishaps that almost ALWAYS arise!

cupcakes

but at the last minute…

cupcake toppers

i was giddy over the detail of these picks and the way they mimic the poster!  and if you’re wondering, i found the little figurine at an antique shop several months prior!  i merely popped a paper straw inside the porcelain figure and pierced it inside one of the mini cakes…which happened to be the recipe from a sweet friend of my parents who used to have a cupcake business in Michigan!  she so generously gave my mom the recipe for her cinnamon cupcakes and we topped them with my famous cinnamon cream cheese frosting…a wonderful combo!

grad cupcakes

since we were planning on kids hanging out in the backyard all evening, i gathered the chairs that normally sit on the patio and filled them with every Bohemian style pillow from the house that i could find!

back yard party

fire pit

i used rustic tins filled with soda and water to scatter about…

back yard party

faygo

and the best part of the night (besides the camaraderie)…the food!  prior to the kids arriving, we had meatballs in the crock pots, salads in the fridge, and chickens galore on the stove top…

Moroccan chicken

the menu included:  chicken with green cracked olives, herb filled meatballs, spicy green beans, and sweet carrot salad!  i think the kids had a blast trying the different dishes…eating on the floor AND with their hands!  i’m not sure there was more than a couple silverware packets opened!

Moroccan dinner

Moroccan chicken

it looked like they were having fun…

Moroccan dinner party

and they even saved room for s’mores…

graduation party

a wonderful gathering that was just my son’s style!  and a festive way to celebrate all of their successes!

grad party

congrats class of 2017!

product guide:

backdrop poster and matching cupcake toppers   BellaGrey Designs

custom invitations  Alice-Louise Press

cupcake cups  Simply Baked

sprinklefetti sprinkes  The Bakers Party Shop

blue glass lantern (on s’mores table)  Pier 1

bandanas  Walmart

die cut shapes, craft paper, bling stickers  Michaels

table lanterns, patio curtains  Ikea

dessert servers   Amalfi Decor

rag rugs  Dollar Tree

  1. Anonymous

    June 12

    What an amazing event! They will remember your Moroccan dinner for the rest of their lives! Congratulations to Austin!!!

    • Lori

      June 12

      Thank you so much! It really was a fun evening!

  2. Huge congrats to your son and you for one amazing party you put together. Love the Moroccan theme – the decor is beautiful and the food looks amazing.

    • Lori

      June 12

      Thanks Brenda! We had a fun time planning this evening! And the weather cooperated too!

  3. pjrobb

    June 12

    I heard via the grapevine that this party ranked number one for food, with the Capur Indian meal a close second. Our kids are lucky to have such amazing food opportunities to go along with the traditional Shorty’s. As always, your details are breathtaking. xxoo

    • Lori

      June 13

      You’re too sweet Patti!! Thank you! I heard the same about the Capur food…and of course, Shorty’s is a personal fave of mine!! Such fun experiences for our kids for sure! They’ve all been so lucky to grow up in this village with well, a village of parents helping them to grow! xoxo

  4. Tinseldot

    June 12

    Such an amazing gathering!!! We loved all the details ✨✨ Congrats graduates!!!
    Love ,
    Cat &a Jules

    • Lori

      June 13

      Aww, thank you so much!! It was a really fun and special evening! xoxo

  5. Anonymous

    June 13

    Dear Lori,
    What a great idea and what a great party! It is so much fun to have all the friends over and celebrate!
    See you this Summer!
    Lots of love, xoxo

    • Lori

      June 15

      Thank you so much! It was a really fun occasion to plan!

  6. Bird

    June 18

    Love how gorgeous it looks too! The food and colors are wow! 🙂

    Thanks so much for linking up to our Sunday LINK PARTY at Bird’s Party Blog!!

    Your gorgeous post is being featured this Sunday!! Don’t forget to stop by and link up some more!

    • Lori

      June 18

      Thanks so much sweet friend!! I’m over the moon for the feature! I’ll be sure to keep linking!! xoxo