Party Planning 101: Graduation Parties
Graduating is often one of the biggest milestones in a young person’s life, whether from high school or college. Celebrating these milestones is perhaps all the more important, considering what the class of 2022 has had to live through. A graduation party is the perfect way to end that chapter of their lives and have some fun before they embark on the next. However, planning the perfect graduation party is not always easy. Read on for a few tips and tricks to help you plan the perfect party.
The Party Planning Timeline
Whatever type of party you’re planning, whether it’s a big blowout or an intimate dinner party, the planning can take a while. So you need to get started early. The planning should actually start around a month prior to the party. You need to decide upon the date and let the guests know. If you are renting any equipment or booking a DJ, they will also likely need around a months’ notice.
A couple of weeks before the party is when you should start to source non-perishable party supplies. You could also start to compile the grocery list and look at buying decorations during this time too. The rest of the prep tends to take place in the days leading up to the party. First, the house needs cleaning – if that is where you plan on hosting the party. Then, the food needs to be prepared, and the decorations should start to be arranged. Keeping to this timeline can help your prep go far more smoothly.
Ask the Graduate for Input
Graduating is often seen as an indicator of adulthood. The graduate has grown up and is ready to leave their childhood behind. This means that they are ready for and deserve to have an input in their party. Not to mention the fact that the party is for them, so they really ought to get a say in it. They might want a specific type of party, have guestlist ideas or a theme in mind. That being said, if you want the party to be a surprise, then you will have to use your best judgment when working out what they will like.
Announcements are a great way to let your friends and family know about the graduate’s achievement. They can also act as keepsakes and graduation invitations too; check out Greenenvelope for their customizable designs. Most people choose to use the graduate’s senior photo as part of the design. However, before you can get to work on the announcements/invites, you need to think about the guest list. This is probably where the graduate’s input will be most important. Kids change their friends regularly, and you don’t want to risk inviting the wrong people.
Work Out a Budget
Another important consideration when planning any party is the budget. The biggest aspects that inform the budget are the venue, decorations, refreshments and any entertainment that you want to put on. This might sound expensive, but there are ways that you can save money. Firstly, by throwing the party at your own home, you negate the need for venue hire. Next, you could put together a playlist instead of hiring entertainment. Lastly, you could ask your guests to contribute a dish and call it a graduation potluck. Whatever your budget, you can make it work.
Choose the Venue
As mentioned above, the venue can be one of the biggest factors to affect the budget, and therefore it requires careful consideration. Think about your guest list. How many people are you planning on inviting, and as such, how big does the venue need to be? If the guest list is relatively small, then you can host the party at your home to save money. If the guest list is bigger, it may be worth hiring a venue that can accommodate this. You could hire a local venue, be it a hall, restaurant or bar. Think about its accessibility and how easy it would be to decorate too.
Pick a Theme
Wherever you have decided to host, be it your home or a local venue, you need to make that space your own. To do this, you need to decorate; in order to decorate, you need a theme. You can go for the obvious and use the theme of graduation. There are lots of decorations within this theme that you can find. If you wanted to go for something a little unexpected, you could choose another theme that perhaps speaks more to yours or the graduate’s tastes. Any theme could work; all you need is a congratulatory tone.
You need to think about what you are going to feed your guests. This again might be informed by the theme that you choose and whether it has any dishes associated with it. If you opt to make the party a potluck, then you don’t need to worry about the food as much because the guests will be contributing too. If you are planning to take control of the refreshments yourself, then the first thing you need to do is to ascertain whether you have any guests that have any dietary requirements. It is always worth having a couple of vegetarian or vegan options anyway, but allergies can be deadly, so they need to be heeded. A buffet is usually the easiest option.
Remember to Set Up a Gifts Table
Graduations are worth celebrating, and as such, they tend to inspire generosity and gift-giving. While you don’t necessarily want to act as though gifts are expected because some of your guests might not be able to afford it financially, it would be wise to ensure that you have a designated area for them. Setting up a gifts table simply serves to keep them all together. Your graduate could open the gifts as part of the celebration or save them for another time. Either way, you should save the tags so that you know what was from who, and your graduate can send out the appropriate thank you cards and messages.
Prepare Your Speech
It arguably goes without saying that you are likely incredibly proud of your little graduate for all of the things that they have achieved. Obviously, the party goes a long way in showing your pride, but you might want to think about making a little speech too. It doesn’t have to be particularly long or involved; it can be a few words spoken from the heart. If you are prone to nerves, then it may be worth making a few notes beforehand to make sure that you don’t lose your place or forget what you wanted to say. It might also be nice if you encourage the graduate to speak too. Again, they don’t have to make a long speech, but it might be nice if they get up and thank the guests for attending and for their support or any gifts that they have brought.
Graduating is a huge milestone in a young person’s life, and it deserves to be celebrated. Throwing a party is often a big task; there are a lot of elements to consider. This pressure is only magnified when the party is for someone else. Use the above tips to ensure that you haven’t forgotten anything. In the end, it’s the thought that counts, and as long as your graduate knows how proud of them you are, it is enough.