Plan a Graduation Party

Graduation-partyby Mike Morris

Planning a graduation party is similar to planning any type of celebration with a few nuances thrown in. You have to plan your budget and menu, invite guests, get food and drinks and do at least some preparatory work – just like any event you might host.

What’s different is the singularity, or at least rarity, of the occasion you’re celebrating. Think about it. New Years is every year. Super Bowl is every year. Even birthdays, which are all about one person just like a graduation, are every year. When a child graduates, whether it be from eighth grade, high school, college or graduate school, there’s no guarantee it will ever happen again in their lives.

So you want to make it special.

There are many ways you can make your graduate feel like the most special person in attendance. Here are just a few ways to plan a party they’ll always remember.

Invitation-kitTweak the guest list

Invite someone whose presence will have an impact on the graduate and show them this is definitely not like any other party you’ve thrown. You know who that person, or persons, is. Think about it. Is there a special relative they were close to as a child that now lives far away or that they haven’t seen in years? Or maybe a teacher that had a positive impact on their life or educational/career path? And you can always mix the guest list up by throwing a combined family/friends party, which probably isn’t the norm for most of your parties and will make it a special occasion.

Surprise them

Make it a surprise party. It would likely be their first surprise party as the guest of honor, so a surprise party would put this party in a special category immediately. Tell your graduate you’re going to take them on a congratulatory shopping spree instead of throwing them a party, and have the guests arrive while you’re shopping. Any disappointment they feel when you tell them there’s no party will be more than replaced by unbridled happiness when you come home to the big “surprise!” greeting and hours of celebration for their accomplishment. The trick is doing all the advance planning in secrecy and having the food, drinks and decorations at hand but hidden.

laptopSpecial gift

If you’ve got the means, for a college graduate, there’s nothing better than receiving the gift of a car for them to start their professional career. A nice, big check is a close second for either a college or high school grad. For a high school graduate heading off to college, a laptop fills the bill nicely. If they’re not going to college, anything from a car to a new wardrobe (three or four outfits) or housewarming type gifts for an apartment (furniture, home furnishings, decorative items, etc.) are both thoughtful and helpful gift ideas.

Special venue

Aren’t most of your parties held at home? Moving the location to a banquet hall, restaurant or rental hall sets the tone for a celebration like no other they’ve had. It’s also a great way to throw a surprise graduation party because all the decorations and food and drinks are out of sight until you arrive. If you’re strapped for time and can afford it, it’s also a great turnkey option because someone else does all the prep work and cleanup afterward for you.

Make it a themed party

Michigan-State-windsockIs your high school graduate heading off to college? Decorate the party location in the school’s colors, with school banners, posters, streamers, balloons and the like. You can even play the school’s fight song softly in the background. The same theme works if they’re graduating from college, or you can theme the party after the career choice they’ve made. For eighth grade graduation, the same can be done for the high school they’ll be attending.

Blow out the budget

They know your parties are always of a certain style and nature, even when you spend a little more on food or decorations. So if you really blow it out of the water, they’ll notice. Hire a chef, or servers and bartender (again, for college grads). Simply catering the party is a nice upgrade, too. Decorate beyond the norm. Put balloons and streamers on your rural mailbox if you have one, or in the trees in front of your home and the porch.


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