If you're reading this and thinking about graduation parties, you're not alone. You see, it's not uncommon for a person to start thinking about their graduation party months out. You may even wonder if you should start planning your graduation party now or later. Today, I'm going to tell you when you should be starting to think about it and why you should get started as soon as possible.
For an average graduation party, you should begin planning at least 2.5-3 months in advance. This gives you ample time to send out invitations and mail in RSVP cards if needed. If you need to find a venue, allow yourself 4 weeks in advance. That way you'll be able to check with all the restaurants and hotels that you want to book for your graduation party.
We know that planning a graduation party can be tough, so we've put together a list of all the things you need to do before your big day!
1. Choose a date: This one is obvious, but it's important to choose a date that works with everyone's schedule. You want everyone to be able to come, and if they can't make it on the day you choose, you want them to be able to make it on another day.
2. Set a budget: This one is also pretty obvious—but it's important! Make sure you have enough money for everything that needs to get done, as well as some extra for emergencies (like last-minute guests).
3. Decide on a location or venue: If you don't have enough space at home for all your guests, consider renting out space at another location (a restaurant, library rooms, conference halls). This way everyone will be comfortable and have plenty of room to socialize.
4. Create an invite list: Once you know what kind of party it's going to be (casual or formal), start making that list.
5. Send out invitations! It's important to let your guests know how much they're going to be missed while they're away at college or grad school. A graduation party is just one way of thanking them for all they've done for you during their time at home. The earlier they know the better.
6. Order cake and deserts! You know what they say: "Don't forget the cake!" (They also probably say something about coffee, but we're not here to judge.) The best part about graduations is celebrating with friends and family over delicious homemade desserts—and who doesn't love a good sugar rush?
7. Select menu/food options! While it's important to keep in mind that not everyone has dietary restrictions, it's also important not to offend anyone with your selection of food and drinks. Try to choose foods that are easy on people's stomachs so nobody gets sick at your party! And remember: no matter what kind of diet people follow, everyone loves cake!
8. Get beverage tubs/serve wear. This will give your guests somewhere to put their drinks and snacks, which is especially important if you're serving outdoors.
9. Plan for any rentals (tent, tables, chairs). If you don't have enough room at your house or apartment, ask around and see if anyone has any extra space they'd be willing to rent out for the event.
10. Create music playlist. Make sure you have all the essentials on there—like "The Graduation Song" by Vitamin C—but also have some tracks that are more recent (or not at all) so your guests can enjoy them too!
11. Create a grocery list (snacks, drinks, plates, napkins, cups). Nothing ruins an event faster than running out of supplies halfway through it!
It's time to think about decorations!
You've already got your dress, your cap, your gown—now it's time to get the party ready.
Signing Board - This is a great way to get everyone involved in the celebration. Take photos of everyone signing the board, including yourself. It'll be a great keepsake!
Balloons in school colors - This is an easy way to make your graduation party look festive and fun. You can even get balloons with your name on them for a personalized touch!
Photos of the graduate through time (childhood to senior pics!) - Have some photos from when they were little up on the wall or in frames around the room so people can see how far they've come since they were just a kid.
Yard Sign (if drive-by) - If you're having an outdoor graduation party, you may want to put up signs in front of each house indicating which one is yours so guests can easily find where the party's happening if it's not at their own home.
Table decor - Tablescapes are a great way to add some color and style to your table settings without breaking the bank on expensive centerpieces.
You're going to have a blast at your grad's party!
Here are some essentials you need to make sure you have on-hand:
Masks: Because 2020 will never leave us!
Hand sanitizer: Because it's not just for kids anymore.
Snacks: Because nobody likes a hangry grad.
Food/Dessert: Because there's nothing like getting hungry while trying to celebrate with lots of people.
Ice: To keep everything cool and fresh throughout the night. Plus, if you run out of food or drinks, you can always give them popsicles!
Pens for signing the board: So everyone gets a chance to sign and leave their mark on this special occasion.
Beverages: Because everyone needs a drink in their hand at all times (and because we don't want anyone falling asleep before midnight).
Tables/Chairs: For people to sit down when they need a break from dancing (or whatever else they're doing).
Tent for shade: In case it gets too hot outside during the day time hours, but also so people don't have to worry about being seen in public wearing sunglasses indoors—which is always awkward!
Before you spend a ton of time and effort planning a graduation party, be sure to check out this checklist. Some people will notice it quickly, and then most will ignore it until the last minute. Be sure you have everything covered with this checklist—if there is any little expense or detail left out, you may end up scrambling and wasting time. Or, if you don't want to be bothered at all, that's okay too! You'll still have a great time.