Time flies, doesn’t it? It seems like yesterday when your child first set foot in kindergarten. Now they are all grown up, closing another chapter of their life, and that fills you with pride and excitement.
Graduations are not a dime a dozen in any family. They are rare occasions and significant milestones to be celebrated. So, it is natural if you want the celebration to be memorable. But you don’t need to host an extravaganza or break the bank to make that happen. All you need to do is make your guest of honor feel proud and special, which just requires a little bit of planning. Here is how you can throw a graduation party that your son or daughter will appreciate.
Start Planning Early
Whether you are planning a small and very intimate party with a few close friends and family members or a more elaborate event at a prominent venue, planning ahead always makes things easier. Nowadays, it is very common to hold a party for multiple graduates at once, which is organized by families gathering together and planning the occasion. In such cases, preparing for the party a month or two in advance becomes even necessary. Either way, you need ample time to, among other things, pick a suitable date, coordinate with guests, and book an appropriate venue—if that is what you want.
It is worth noting that the date doesn’t have to be exactly on your son or daughter’s graduation day. Most of the time, it is even better to have it on the closest weekend that follows the graduation date. If you really want to have it on the same day, note that high schools usually hold a single graduation ceremony, so you need to cater your schedule around that. For colleges and universities, you have more flexibility as they typically hold two commencement ceremonies, one by major and one for all students.
Get Your Graduate Involved
No one knows your child better than you, except for themselves, or at least they know what they want better than anybody else. So get them involved in the planning and ask them how they envision their graduation party. Does your graduate prefer a small cozy dinner with friends and family, or do they crave a more noteworthy event? What are the specifics in their mind? Conferring with your graduate about these things helps you set the party objectives much more easily and adjust the event in tune with his or her liking.
Set a Budget
It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to have a budget in mind before beginning the planning and preparation process. While it is not necessary to have an exact number in mind, it is crucial to know the threshold past which expenses would be too much. Specifying a budget helps determine the logistics like how many guests you can invite, how much you can spend on food and drinks per guest, and how much you can allocate to the venue, decorations, etc.
If it is possible, organize a joint graduation party with other graduates and their families. Doing it this way not only splits the costs and labor that goes into the event but also makes the celebration more remarkable and memorable. The caveat is that a joint ceremony makes planning and coordination more complicated, as more parties are involved, and coming up with a budget and a date that each family is comfortable with may be easier said than done.
Get Creative with Party Ideas
This is where the fun begins in the planning phase, and there are lots of things you can do to make the day as unforgettable as possible.
Although not every party needs a theme, coming up with one can spice things up by a ton. There are countless ideas that you can look up on sites like Pinterest for inspiration. Whether you opt for a college sports team theme or a candy graduation party theme, go all in with food, decorations, attire, and music to create an exciting and unique experience for your graduate and the guests.
You can also toss cool ideas into the mix for an extra touch. For example, you can make a graduation group video in which teachers or non-present loved ones share their warm wishes and project it on a wall before or after the special toast. Or, you can set up a chalkboard in a corner and ask every attending guest to write a message on it to be kept as a memento.
Spread the Word
Getting the word out about your graduate is essential, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. Mailing a traditional print announcement through the mail is always an option, but be sure to keep the price of printing and postage in mind. Designing, printing, and sending paper invites can take several days, so plan in advance. If you have other priorities for your budget, the digital variety of invitations, such as through emails and Facebook groups, works just as fine.