Planning The Simple Graduation Party

The graduation announcements have started to flood my mailbox and my Facebook event invite section. I am one year away from throwing my final graduation party and it is coming too soon. Last night while I looked at my son and put my arm on his shoulder, I said to him that I am sure going to miss him. He slowly turned his head and gave me that look. You know the look, like I was speaking a foreign language to him. He reminded me that he will be going to college, in a year, not leaving me forever. Oh yeah, that’s right. This is a reason to celebrate not lament on how fast time has passed.

Here are a few last minute reminders as you are going through the final days and weeks before the party.

Tips for planning a graduation party:

Keep it simple. Keep it simple. Keep it simple. I want to know why we don’t have these big parties for our children when they become employed full time and have health insurance. That is the time that parents should celebrate! My parties may look like it was really expensive and took a lot of planning and time. But compared to what I was seeing out there, mine was on the conservative side of things.

Focus on what you enjoy. For example if you hate to cook, enlist some friends and family to help or if the budget allows, hire a caterer. If you are stressed about your house not being “picture perfect” focus on these areas; the kitchen, entry way, guest bathroom and whatever room the party is going to be held. Now is not a time to clean out your closets and organize your medicine cabinet. If you are having the party in the garage sweep the garage and hang up sheets to hide the messy areas.

Keep the beverages simple, bottled water and maybe 2 soda choices, one diet and one caffeine free.

Don’t have your party be weather dependent, have a backup plan!

Ask for friends to serve as hosts at the party for you. Put a friend in charge of food, one in charge of drinks and one in charge of garbage. You need to enjoy the party too!

I have seen a lot of graduation open house invitations on Facebook this year, what a great and easy way to send out the invites to friends. Most family still want a paper invitation. But know that your kid will likely invite their guest list via social media.

The pressure is always on to have the perfect combination of photos of the kids at the graduation parties, but to not make it look like a shrine to the child….we have to keep those egos in check! Have a framed and matted 8 x 10 of the graduate and have a pen available for the guests to sign the mat. This is a great keepsake for the graduate. I have seen these in Target in the frame aisle (they usually have a wedding couple in the picture). I used the Dr. Seuss book “Oh The Places You Will Go” as my guestbook. It is a keepsake and something practical as it is a book my son can read to his children someday. {We used the Dr. Seuss theme as a saying on a chalkboard that was on his display table, see photo at the top of article}

Poster board with fun pictures of the graduate through their life are fun to look at. Once again, keep it simple and find a friend who loves to scrap book, they could finish this project for you in a couple of hours. Tip, scan the pictures into a computer or make copies before cropping as some of the photos may be one of a kind. I like the photo boards that have a theme to them. Try to group them together into areas like their interests in school. Group the sports ones…..special friends……if they are in drama or music…..you get the idea. Instead of poster boards, I did albums for my oldest by theme that took my husband and I about 4 hours to create. We found our favorite pictures and had them blown up into 8 x8 and placed in an album, one picture per page and our album could not have pages added. We had limits and we had to pick our favorites. This also is something that my son can keep forever as opposed to a poster board that is hard to display.

Take all of the grade school pictures and display them in chronological order. It is fun to see the progression of the graduate. I am sure you have a family member that has been collecting these for years for you all jammed into one frame! I created one board with all of his photos from school on. It was a super cute way to see the progression through the years. I bought frames at the Dollar store and had a easy and inexpensive display.

A graduation party I attended a few years ago had a book that was assembled on line by the dad with the child’s quotes and pictures throughout his life. You do not need to tell the life story, just a few humorous stories here and there. For example, maybe they had a favorite shirt that they wore all through 3rd grade, or maybe the graduate hated math in elementary school and now they want to be a math teacher. Make it personal.

People are not looking to be fed a meal. Many have already been to several graduation parties during the day already. The only ones that are looking at being fed are your out of town family and guests. The majority of the guests are just there to stop in and say hi, drop off a card and leave.

Don’t serve alcohol. It is just asking for trouble. First, alcohol gets expensive and can add hundreds of dollars to an already stretched budget. Second, alcohol could get into the hands of minors or the relative that really should not have anything to drink because they get even louder and more obnoxious.

Have plenty of bottled water. If it is hot out, people will need the water to stay hydrated. My green tip is to have recycling bins placed so that it encourages people to recycle the plastic water bottles.

Pick a theme with the food, such as Mexican and stick with it. For example, have a salsa bar with different kind of chips and salsa. And a walking taco is always a good choice. What is the graduate’s favorite type of food? Maybe Italian, then you could have a pasta bar with garlic bread and different pastas and sauces for a heavy meal if you have a lot of those out of town guests coming.

Cupcakes instead of cake. Cupcakes are easier to eat, no cutting required and no utensils. Have the cupcakes in different flavors…what is the graduate’s favorite cake flavor? Instead of a traditional cake, we had cake bites for my oldest son’s party, bits of cake covered in frosting!

Please keep in mind, don’t stress and have fun! This is a party for you to have fun at as well! Ask for help and see what you can outsource!

 

To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,

  1. Simplicity

Melissa is a Productivity Consultant living in Fargo, North Dakota doing her best of living a life full of adventure. Filling a life of memories and not of things!