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Graduation Parties: Parents Paying The Big Bucks

MAPLE GROVE (WCCO) -- A recent survey from an Eden Prairie company,, shows families are putting a lot of time and money into throwing graduation parties.

Ginger Venable runs the website and says after a survey of around 700 customers last graduation season, $983 was the average amount spent on graduation parties, with an average of 90 guests.

Her survey also found 67 percent of people hosting parties in their home, and 37 percent reporting the completion of some sort of home improvement project in preparation for the bash.

Those statistics apply to the Johnson family of Maple Grove, whose oldest daughter Mallory is graduating from Maple Grove High School.

"Trying to get the yard ready was my job, my wife did the inside stuff and I think her job was harder than mine," said father Tom Johnson.

Tom said the family was watching the weather this weekend, and also decided to have the party early, so they could attend other parties during the next few weeks.

"For me, it's laid back, go with the flow," said Mallory, who admitted it was more stressful for her parents. "My family, with the whole weather thing, and being the first child to deal with this."

Venable says many families are also celebrating with less.

"People are co-hosting parties. It is a way to save money and share the expenses," said Venable. "If you are trying to save money, have the party mid day to avoid dinner and avoid serving alcohol."

Sarah Kummeth will host a midday party Saturday afternoon. The soon to be Osseo High School graduate chose a coffee and dessert theme, and is making some of her decorations and will also be serving homemade cookies, which she says reflects her personality.

"Coffee is kind of my thing," said Kummeth, who works at the Dunn Bros. Coffee Shop in Maple Grove. "I didn't want to get a cake from the bakery and get lemonade and soda because that's not me at all."

Venable says that's the idea. Choose themes or ideas that reflect your graduate, and focus on one special element. She says parents shouldn't feel like they should do what everyone else does.

"I like the fact people are daring to be different," said Venable.

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