Graduation season is upon us, and if you have a high school or college senior, you’ve probably been thinking of throwing a party in honor of this big milestone!  Although hosting a graduation party isn’t required, it is a great way to celebrate your child’s accomplishments!  Setting a budget is essential. Not only will it help to control your spending, but it will also help you determine what type of party to host, where to host it, what type of refreshments to serve, and how to decorate the venue.grad_party

Setting a Budget

Typically, the amount of money you are willing to spend on your party determines they type of party you will be throwing.  If your budget is relatively limited, consider combining your party with a few of your closest friends to celebrate multiple graduates.  You will cut down on the cost of venue rental, food and decorations, and you might be able to afford some type of entertainment that would normally be out of reach.   If your budget is unlimited, then the sky is the limit!

Choosing a Date and Time

Because there are so many graduates throwing parties, you will need to determine the best date and time to have your celebration.  Keep in mind any out of town guests that may want to attend both the graduation and party.  If there are a number of them, you may want to have your party the evening prior to or the day of the graduation ceremony.

Selecting a Venue

There are many options for hosting your get together, such as your home or back yard, a local restaurant, church social hall, or a city activities center to name a few. Keep in mind the number of graduates that are going in on the party as well as how many guests  you will be inviting so you have a large enough venue to host a number of people at one time.  Once you have determined the size of your party, secure the venue by paying the necessary deposit.  If you are having an outdoor celebration, you will want to consider alternative arrangements in case of inclement weather!

Determining a Menu

You can either have the event catered or enlist friends and relatives to make the meal for you. Another popular trend is to incorporate a combination of the two.  You might order buns and meat from a caterer and have friends make the side dishes to cut down on costs.   Some families only provide cake and drinks right after the ceremony because it’s typically mid-afternoon and people don’t expect a full meal that time of day.  Whatever your choice, decide on your menu early and get your supplies ordered ahead of time.

Decorating for the Event

Choose a theme or color palate for your party and start purchasing decorations early.  Balloons, tablecloths and confetti are great ways to incorporate color and excitement into your party.  You may also elect to decorate with hand-crafted items to show off your creativity.  Sites such as Pinterest are wonderful to gather ideas and step-by-step instructions for crafting.  Along with dining tables, you may want to have display tables to highlight your graduate’s accomplishments and awards.  Memorabilia, scrapbooks, framed photos, medals, plaques and letters of acceptance are all great items to place on the tables for your guests to enjoy.

Final Tips

Stick to your budget and don’t be afraid to ask for help!  Friends and family are always a great resource for ideas, setting up, and assisting the day of the party.  Graduation is a big event, but there is no need to spend a fortune on a party! Make time to enjoy the process and your child’s last days of being a student.  Finally and most importantly, keep the graduate in mind. Involve them in the party planning process and decisions….after all, they are the reason you are celebrating!