A graduation party is a wonderful way to celebrate a student’s accomplishments with friends and family. The student could be graduating from high school, college, nursing school or any number of particular schools or courses. What is most important is that friends and family gather together to spend time with that person and to recognize their achievement.
Get the Graduate’s Input
Since this party will be all about one special student, that student should have some say in the events. Although graduating from any program is a major accomplishment, the graduate might be modest and might not want to be in the spotlight. Let them know about your graduation party planning, and find out how they feel about it. A party where guests mingle and offer tips and advice in a guest book might be all the graduate wants.
Choosing a Theme
While the obvious theme of your party is going to be graduation, there may be other elements to consider. What are the school’s colors? Is it a medical school or Bible college, or does it have other significance that would lend itself to the decorations? Is your event going to be formal or lighthearted? Once you have chosen a theme (with the graduate’s blessing), you can then move on to choosing a location and refreshments.
Decide Where the Graduation Party Will Be
When deciding on the party’s location, your top options may be the student’s home or the host’s home. This works well for small graduation parties in which the guests are family members and close friends. If you plan to invite many people to the event, you might want to consider larger facilities. Fire halls, banquet rooms at local restaurants, local churches and even senior citizen groups have rooms that can be rented, many inexpensively.
If you want the event to be catered, you may want to go with a banquet hall at a local facility that can provide the refreshments or a full meal. However, make reservations early, as many venues fill up quickly during graduation season.
You will want to send out your graduation party invitations at least two or three weeks ahead of time. If you expect out-of-town guests, you may want to mail those even earlier. You can order custom invitations or make them yourself. Be sure to include the date and time, along with clear directions to the graduation party.
Also let guests know which school the student is graduating from, and if it’s a college or university, the student’s major and degree. Guests who don’t know the student well will automatically have conversation topics, especially if they attended the same school. If you are preparing a special theme or gift for the student, such as a money tree, make sure the invitation recipients are aware of it.
Decorating for the Graduation Party
The decorations should reflect the student’s achievements and the theme. You may want to make a display board of what the student has accomplished while in school. Just be sure to let the student know that this is your plan. If it is for a high school graduation, consider pictures through the years, but use caution with baby photos, as someone crossing from teen years into adulthood might find that embarrassing.
Decorate the room in the school colors or following the theme of the graduate’s future career. You can go all out with streamers and balloons, or you can stick to what you might set up for a buffet or sit-down meal. If the graduation is earlier in the day, you can host a simple event with a cake and light refreshments.
Celebrate the Person
Don’t get so caught up in the planning that you forget the reason you are having the party in the first place. The graduate should be the focus and should always have ideas about the graduation party, unless of course it is a surprise party. Have the student share something they have learned over their school years. Provide a guest book or scrapbook where guests can write down their thoughts and special wishes for the graduate. You could also ask guests to provide something practical like recipes, which are handy whether the student is leaving home for the first time or starting a new post-college life.
Take lots of pictures, and set out disposable cameras for guests to join in the fun. If you have a computer, consider putting together a slide show of the student growing up or through the time frame they were in school. Make it special, and make the party fit the person.