It's July, which means a lot of people are planning a graduation party in the next couple of months. So we're going to help you with the basics along with some resources for getting down to the details.
1. Setting the Date
Your new graduate will probably want his best friends at the party, so the first thing you need to find out before planning a graduation party is when everyone else is planning theirs. Graduation parties can be planned as early as the first weekend in June even through the end of July or beyond, depending on when all the different schools are done.
So you might have to switch a weekend or have the party on a Saturday instead of a Sunday, or vice versa, if you want to have as many guests invited as possible.
2. Making a Guest List
Graduation parties are all about the graduate so you really need to think of them first. If they want their friends and their friends' parents to be invited, be sure to include them and get their addresses for the invitations.
After the graduate's friends are on the list, add your close family and friends too, or even coworkers if you socialize with your colleagues outside of work too.
3. Finding a Good Location
We've been to graduation parties that were held in a public park at a rented pavilion. This is a good idea if you don't have a lot of room at your house, especially outdoor room for playing games like horseshoes or volleyball. And in case of inclement weather, if your house isn't large enough to accommodate the guests you're planning to invite, planning a graduation party at a central location like a park or maybe even a fire hall might be a good idea.
4. Sending Out the Invitations
Technology can really save on postage when you're planning a graduation party. You can set up events on Facebook and invite everyone through a Facebook Event. Or you can email invitations. Of course, there may be some people on your list who don't use Facebook or check their email often enough to get the e-invitation, so for those guests, you may still want to mail invitations.
5. Renting Extra Tables and Chairs
If you're planning a graduation party to be held at a park, obviously there will be park benches under the pavilion or picnic area and there should be enough for everyone who's coming.
If you're having the party at your house, though, you might want to check with some local rental stores for some extra chairs and tables. You can also let your guests know to bring an extra lawn chair with them so they're comfortable during the party.
6. Graduation Party Decorations
You can keep this simple by using balloons and streamers and maybe a collage of photos of the graduate when he or she graduated Kindergarten through their high school graduation portrait. This is a lot of fun for everyone, as they stand around the collage and say, "Oh, I remember this one!"
You can have a banner made up too that says "Congratulations Graduate!" with their name printed on it.
7. Graduation Party Favors
These can also be kept really simple an inexpensive, especially if you aren't planning to have favors at all. Our suggestion is personalized graduation bookmark favors. You can have them printed and laminated with a photo of graduate on them and the date of the party or the date of the graduation.
Bookmarks are really a fun favor to give at graduations as a way to bookmark a special event for the graduate as they close one chapter of their lives and move on to the next one.
8. Graduation Party Food Ideas
This can also be kept simple and inexpensive. You can shop around for deals on a local caterer that might have specials going on during the graduation season. If you're having a small get-together, you can go really casual and barbecue hot dogs and burgers with a few pizza deliveries on the side.
Another idea which I've seen done really successfully is a buffet variety where you ask your friends and family to bring a main or a side dish. Some people can bring spare ribs while others donate Sloppy Joes or meatballs.
The idea is to keep it easy, both for setting up and cleaning up.
And of course, planning a graduation party isn't complete without having the graduation cake! Cake ideas can run the gamut from homemade to buying a pre-made cake at your local grocery store to having one custom made at a bakery.
Be sure to have the cake done in your graduate's favorite flavors though!
So if you follow these general steps, planning a graduation party will be a breeze and you'll keep from being stressed out before, during and after the event.