Celebration – Graduation Party

The end of the school year is coming soon and it is a great time for a graduation party if your child is moving forward from elementary school to middle school to high school or onto college.  The following tips and suggestions are specifically for a high school graduation party.

If you are a parent planning a graduation party for your child, be sure to sit down with them and find out what type of party they would like.  This is a very important step because you don’t want to plan an elaborate party when your child just wanted a small family gathering or vice-versa.  The graduate might want to help make some of the important decisions and could have some definite options on the details.

One of the first decisions is to determine the date of the party and always confirm the date of the actual graduation with the school.  (we had my daughter’s elementary school change the date of graduation a couple of weeks before the end of the school year)  Next, find out if there will be other parties for fellow graduated because it could be possible that there could be conflicting dates.  Another thing to consider and very important is if grandparents and other special family members will be able to attend the graduation party.  The next step is to decide on the number of guests and a list of names for invitations.

Budget is the next important decision, setting a firm budget will help to keep the costs within reason.  Expenses can quickly get out of hand, so be sure to have a plan and stick to the budget.  This is the time to determine if the party location will be at your home, restaurant or banquet hall.  The location costs can greatly affect the party’s budget so this is an important decision.

Party items to include in the party budget:

  • invitations, thank you cards and be sure to add postage costs
  • decorations – flowers, balloons, etc.
  • food and beverages – be sure to include if there are party rental supplies and service staff, caterer or restaurant costs)
  • entertainment expenses – DJ, video

The party theme is the next decision; this will determine the party colors and decorations.  An obvious choice for colors would be the graduate’s school colors.  Those colors can be used for the decorations, such as: flowers, balloons, streamers, table linens, etc.  In regards to a party theme, the graduate’s participation in sports and other school activities or perhaps the graduate is headed to college on a sport scholarship; these would make excellent themes for a graduation party.  Maybe you can use the college colors and mascot or maybe the future college student has a specific major; these ideas could possibly inspire a party theme.  Another great idea for a graduation party theme is a “look back” at the graduate’s childhood.  This theme could be used in decorations, such as: a special banner made from school pictures of the graduate from kindergarten to high school, a retrospective video or collage of photos made from important events since their birth to the present, etc.

Other items used for the graduation party would be some form of a guest “book”; this could be a traditional guest book or postcards for the guests to write personal messages and then compile them into a memory book for the graduate to enjoy or frame the graduate’s high school portrait for guests to sign the mat (this is the same idea popular at weddings) or if the graduate is going to college on a scholarship maybe consider the guests signing a football, basketball or baseball and bat.

Regarding the food and party menu, I would recommend doing an online search for ideas and suggestions.  My advice for a home party is to keep the food simple to prepare and easy to serve.  If this is your child’s graduation party, you will want to enjoy the day with them and I would suggest specifically for a home party, be sure to ask a trusted friend for help or consider hiring someone to help serve.  For a restaurant or banquet hall party, buffets are always less expensive than a sit down luncheon or dinner and can keep the party expenses down.

Tips and suggestions for a graduation party

  • Consider having special t-shirts made for the occasion or supply the graduates in attendance plain t-shirts for the each of them to sign with special messages.
  • Make a special time capsule for the graduate.  Invite each guest to bring something to the party that has to do with the current year or special items from past years that would be important to the graduate to remember in the future.
  • Consider hiring a videographer or use your own video camera on a tripod.  Set a specific area where guests can tape personal messages, maybe a funny memory or college or career advice.
  • Don’t schedule too many activities for the party, young adults like to just hang out together to talk or listen to music.

High School graduation gift ideas

  • Money!  Always a good idea and the amount is determined by how much you can afford, $20-25 is the average.  Maybe try this month’s craft project, Money Rose.  It would be a fun gift idea instead of a boring check!
  • Gift card from their favorite store; local retail store or bookstore
  • Luggage, a traditional list for future college students
  • Watches, buy something really special that will last a lifetime.
  • Jewelry, diamonds or pearls would be perfect or maybe a gift of heirloom jewelry piece such as a necklace, bracelet or ring.
  • Camera, add a camera bag, too
  • Laptop computer, Kindle, Nook, Tablet
  • Microwave or small refrigerator for their college dorm room
  • A laundry starter kit: a great laundry basket, detergent, fabric softener, stain remover, iron, small portable ironing board and a set of hangers
  • A t-shirt or sweatshirt from the graduate’s future college, most colleges have websites with an online store