Between May and June students around the country will be graduating from high school. Are you a parent considering throwing a graduation party for your graduate? These graduation party tips are what you need to prepare you for the road ahead. Please keep reading.

While it may seem like a easy thing to pull off, graduation parties can take some planning. If you’re a busy mom or dad, starting now will be to your advantage.

Are you looking to host your graduate’s party at home? Are you looking to rent out a venue? What will your graduate want to see at their party? Will they want a theme, a band, a photo booth?

Yes all of these questions are really critical and necessary when deciding what type of graduation party you’ll host. But fear not, I want to offer you some good tips on things you really need to know that others may not tell you before it’s too late. Trust me your graduate will thank you for taking these tips.

Graduation Party Tips: What Parents Need To Know Photo: Matthew T. Rader

Graduation Party Tips: What Parents Need To Know

Determine Your Graduation Party Venue

The only venue that you can be certain will be available is your home. If you are seeking to book an outside venue, now is the time to start. Venue’s are probably the hardest thing to secure when planning an event.

Just think about this really quickly. Events take place every day. In 2016 there were 1.9 million meetings and events taking place (Convene). Jumping to today, 53% of Event Planners like myself are looking for unusual event spaces (EventMB).

You’re just a parent and none of that really affects you, right? Wrong. This tells me that you will be competing with everyone who wants the type of venue you are looking for. This is even more of a reason to begin picking your graduation party venue.

A Graduation Party Should Focus On The Graduate

Graduation Party Tips: What Parents Need To Know Photo: Rochelle Nicole

There have been times where I have planned a kid’s party and the parent was at the center of attention the entire time. I’m not saying that it is you, but for a graduation you want to make sure that your teen will be in the spotlight.

Here are some easy ways to make sue the focus stays on your graduate.

  • Make sure you have tons of photos throughout the party

  • Ensure they are a part of the planning process

  • Make sure the party reflects their personality

  • Get their friends involved in speeches and other activities

Graduation Party Tips: Decorations

Graduation Party Tips: What Parents Need To Know Graduation Gift Table

You’re a working parent and might think a party is going to cost way to much. While that can be true for some parties, it doesn’t apply to all. Like any event, your guest count will determine how much you spend. But when it comes to decor, some of the following things will go a long way.

Create a welcome table displayed with photos you already have around the house. This would be a great time to also get some professional photos of your graduate in cap and gown before the party. I recommend A Little Bit of Whimsy Photography. Don’t forget a gift table as well.

Kids and adults love a good dessert station. Ask your local baker to provide an assortment of cupcakes, mini cakes, and other desserts. You can also consider adding your kid’s favorite candy to the station.

I don’t mind adding flowers to any party, but for this think simple. If you have cocktail tables, small arrangements make the most sense. Last year verses flowers as centerpieces for the main tables, Jamari, our client had things he loved the most. The middle of tables were filled with guitars, footballs, wrestling gear, and other things that screamed his personality.

As long as your decor has your high school or future college colors, that is all you need.

Graduation Party Tips: Activities

Ideally your party will last between 3-4 hours. I don’t recommend more than 3 hours, but if you want longer, no more than 4. During this time the kids will want things to do and loathe standing around. The adults almost always end up sitting down at tables, eating and talking. The kids will never give into that.

Because of this, you will need to find things for them to do. A good DJ like Kurtis Cross can help with the music and getting them to dance.

Last year our client Yolanda thought up a lot of great ideas. For her son’s party, there was a money tree, a How Well Do You Know game, a photo booth, and a few other activities. We even brought in a oversized floor piano that allowed kids to record their own music with each step they took.

The goal is to find things for people to do verses just sitting around doing nothing.

Don’t Take On The Role of Caterer

Graduation Party Tips: What Parents Need To Know Photo: Aneta Pawlik Food Display

There is a huge difference in preparing food for your family each night and preparing food for 50+ guests. While you might think you will have it under control, going without a catering company means you will be responsible for cleaning and replenishing the food.

“I have an Event Planner and they can do it”. Not so much. Event Planners do not want to become liable for any food issues that can arise during or after an event. We also have the entire party to focus on and removing us from that may not be the best idea.

I’m not saying you have to cater everything. If it’s simple enough like creating your own taco bar go for it. If you have a family member or friend that is really good at a particular dish and they can make it in bulk, do it. Save the bigger items for catering. Just remember who is liable.

TIP: Select foods people can easily eat with their fingers and requires minimal china. Helps decrease clean up.

In Conclusion

No matter what you do, remember to not overthink the party. I’ve seen teens opt for a sit down dinner with a small group of people. I’ve also seen a 75+ guest count with a venue, catering, and decor all costing about $10,000. What’s important is your graduate feeling a sense of accomplishment and people attending the party to honor them.

If you feel like this will be overwhelming, ask friends to help you. If you need a more professional touch, then we are certainly happy to plan your party. All you have to do is complete our event questionnaire.