Ah, it’s here, the graduation! Whether it’s for high school or college, it’s a big milestone worth celebrating. A graduation party provides a great chance to look back on the hard work and accomplishments of the closing chapter and congratulate the graduate on their achievement. It’s also time to thank people in the graduate’s life for the support they have received throughout the years. You want the guest of honor to feel celebrated and the guests welcomed.
With all that in mind, planning a graduation party may seem like a big task. But with a few simple steps and a little organization, your graduation party will be one for the books. Our ultimate graduation party checklist can help you keep everything organized and on track, and the printable version will help you make sure you haven’t forgotten about anything.
So what steps do you need to take to throw the best graduation party? Scroll down to find out!
We’re starting with the least fun, but most essential part of party planning. Knowing how much you can spend on the party will let you plan accordingly and make decisions regarding the number of guests, food, decorations, and party favors.
When setting up a budget, don’t forget to set aside a small section for ”unexpected expenses” so that if something unforeseen comes up, you won’t overspend.
Now that you know how much money you can spend, it’s time to make a guest list. Since the party is all about the graduate, ask them first who they’d like to invite. Then add to the list all the people that helped them throughout their learning years. It could be anyone from friends, teachers, and trainers to members of your family and community.
When it comes to graduation parties, there are two main types:
The graduation party doesn’t have to happen on the exact weekend of the graduation, as this will already be a busy and exciting weekend. But it’s also best not to postpone the party for too long. The popular dates usually fall on any weekend during May and June, so pick a date within those two months.
Think about where you want the party to happen. A grad party can be thrown at a restaurant, an outdoor venue, or even in your backyard.
Organizing the party in a backyard gives you full control of all the elements of the party and doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. But it also means you have to prepare all the details, clean up before and after the event, take care of the guests, and control the logistics.
Throwing a party in a rented venue takes a lot of the preparation and cleanup off your shoulders. You can focus on celebrating with the guest of honor and making the day even more special for them. And renting the venue doesn’t have to break the bank! There are plenty of affordable restaurants and outdoor venues where you can organize the party. For example, you can rent a venue with a BYO policy which allows you to bring the food and drinks on your own. It’s the perfect solution to cut down on rental costs.
The main theme is, of course, graduation, but you can make the party even more personal and fun by choosing a specific theme. Is the guest of honor a football player? Make the party football-centered. Is he or she a bookworm? Then make it a literary-inspired party! The theme should be something that your grad will really enjoy and appreciate, and which will make the party even more exciting for them. It will also help you later choose the decorations, menu, or even the venue.
If you need some inspiration to choose a theme, our list of 170 party themes will surely come in handy!
Once you have your date, time, and location, you can start sending out invitations for your party. Remember to include an RSVP so you know how many people to expect.
Sending invitations 3 months in advance may seem like a stretch, but since your guests might be attending many similar parties, it’s important they make time for yours as well. If you’re not ready to send the invites yet, you can send ‘save-the-date’ notes or at least set up a Facebook event to make your guests aware of your plans.
If there’s anything you’re planning to rent or anything else for the party, like catering or a photographer, this is the time to do it. This could include:
At this point, you should already know how many people are planning to attend the party, you can check the weather for the party day and make more precise plans. This time will be busy for you, so keep that in mind when planning. A month before the party, you should:
Start planning the menu. Hors-d’oeuvres should be easy to prepare ahead of time and easy to be eaten by hand. You can also opt for a BBQ, which is a perfect party idea for a warm spring/summer day. Think about the graduation cake as well. You can decide to make your own or order one to be delivered.
Websites such as YouTube or Pinterest have many ideas and inspirations that can help you decide what (and how) to add to your party menu.
Now it’s time to start gathering decorations for your party. For a backyard party, look for balloons, themed decor, and a photo background. If you’re planning to have some flower arrangements, you can place your order now.
If you’re organizing the party in a rented venue, make sure to confirm with the venue manager what kind of decorations you can set up there before making any purchases. Also check out what you should know when decorating a rented venue.
Whether you’re organizing a party in your backyard or in a venue, the graduation party can’t go without photos and videos of the graduate. Start gathering photos of the main party person and all other things that can show their journey to graduation. Gather all the photos from competitions, medals, diplomas, etc. If you have time and skills to do so, you can set up a video or presentation to be played in the background.
If you’re planning to give party favors to your guests to take home, it’s time to start shopping for them. You can also send out thank you cards after the event, which you can prepare ahead of time.
A graduation party is not just about food, drinks, and music, it’s also about having fun! To make the party more enjoyable and memorable, plan some activities that will keep the guests entertained throughout the event. If you’re having a graduation party outdoors, then it’s best to have some indoor games and activities ready in case it rains.
If you’re having a large party and have a lot of things to take care of, don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends and family friends and ask for help. They will be able to assist with food preparation, set up tables and chairs, prepare drinks, etc. Asking them ahead of time will give them time to prepare and plan accordingly.
Roughly write out the agenda for the party. Noting down ahead of time how you would like the party to unroll will give you an idea of what else you need to prepare and if you’ve forgotten anything.
The graduation party is around the corner! In those last days, you can:
Clean up the place of the party. If possible, set up the table and chairs. Start decorating and setting up the photos and other memorabilia of the graduate. If you do it all ahead of time and notice you’re missing something, you will still have time for some last-minute shopping.
If possible, get the food ready ahead of time. You can start by preparing all the ingredients that need to be cooked, marinate and/or season them. You can also already pop the drinks in the cooler.
Or just send a message to your friends and family to remind them of the upcoming party. This might result in some last-minute cancellations, so doing this will let you know what number of guests to prepare for.
The Big Day is here! If you’ve been prepping ahead of time, there’s only a short list to remember here:
Graduation is a big milestone in the life of a person, so it’s worth celebrating in style. The graduation party is a chance to reflect on all the accomplishments the grad achieved and congratulate them on their hard work, so it’s important to carefully plan the affair. We hope our graduation party checklist will come in handy with your party planning and will help you have the best graduation party! Check out the printable version we’ve prepared for you. Keep it at hand so you don’t forget any details!
When planning a graduation party, set up a budget and theme ahead of all planning as it will help you decide on all elements of the party. Remember to decide on the date and location of the party. Prepare the list of guests and invite them once you have those details planned. Then, decide on the menu. You can either choose to have a sit-down dinner or serve finger foods. Prepare a list of what you need for the decorations, entertainment, and party favors. Lastly, remember to consult each step with the grad, as it’s a party for them, after all!
A graduation party is a festive occasion that typically includes food, decorations, and entertainment. Graduation parties often include decorations that reflect the graduate’s school colors or theme. Another popular option is to have a graduation video or slideshow showcasing the graduate’s academic journey. For entertainment, you can usually hire a DJ or a live band to play music, set up a photo booth with props for guests to take pictures, or incorporate games and activities such as cornhole or giant Jenga. Graduation parties are also an opportunity for guests to give the grad gifts to celebrate their achievements.
The first step to throwing a low-cost graduation party is to set up a budget. Having a clear budget in mind can help you make informed decisions and avoid overspending. One way to save money on a graduation party is to host it at home. You can also look for a venue offering a BYO policy, as this option allows you to bring your own food and drink and only pay for using the space. You can also organize a potluck-style party and ask your guests to bring something. Consider making your own decorations instead of buying them. You can create personalized banners, photo backdrops, and centerpieces using materials such as construction paper, markers, and string. You can also design your own invitations using free programs such as Canva. Consider creating a playlist of the graduate’s favorite songs or using a streaming service to play music instead of hiring a DJ or a live band.