Graduating is no simple feat. Plan a celebration your grad deserves after showing so much determination and perseverance throughout the years. Check out our tips below on how to throw a successful party that your grad—and your guests—will never forget!
Do your homework. Your grad did their homework—now it’s time to do yours. Decide on all the details, like the time and location of the party, your budget, and the guest list.
If you’re throwing the party at your house, check in with your neighbors just to ensure your guests have enough space to park along the street. Or, if you’re partying at your grad’s favorite restaurant or a rented event space, make sure you have reserved a time slot and date with the hosts or coordinators.
Start gathering names and addresses of your guests early so you’re not scrambling at the last minute. Companies like Postable make it easy to request your guest’s address information so you can compile a running list.
Send out actual invitations. And do it early on, so it gives your guests time to clear their schedule. It can be tempting to rely on word of mouth or an email thread to let all your guests know about the party, but this can get messy and confusing really fast. Some people are bound to miss the memo completely.
Making invitations doesn’t have to be difficult! An online custom print shop like PurpleTrail allows you to choose from a selection of contemporary and classic designs, and easily customize your cards with your grad’s name and photos, and all your important event information.
Specify an RSVP by date and leave a phone number or email address, so you can get an accurate head count for your party. Including an RSVP will help you order the right amount of food and prep your event location for a certain number of guests.
Create the perfect playlist. You’ll want to make sure your party’s background music is fun and inviting for everyone—especially your grad! It’s their big day, after all. Consult your grad so you can add some of his or her favorite songs throughout the mix.
Think about your crowd! If you’re inviting older relatives, like grandparents, or very young guests, like younger cousins, refrain from playing anything too explicit. Popular dancing songs like the Cha Cha Slide or Cupid Shuffle are great choices for family-friendly fun—it also encourages people to dance!
If your grad wants a more sophisticated or laid-back party, look for a jazz or instrumental music playlist. Music streaming platforms like Spotify or Pandora already offers pre-built playlists for different genres.
Choose your food wisely. Party food can be a hit or miss. An assortment of finger foods is always a good choice, since it encourages your guests to walk around and mingle. Set up several “food stations” so all your guests don’t have to congregate in one area to get something to eat.
If you’re looking to serve more of a hearty meal, try to steer clear of cooking everything yourself—you’ll be in the kitchen all day and won’t have a chance to enjoy the celebration. While it might be a little pricier, investing in catering or takeout for the day of your event will definitely keep the burden off your shoulders. A catering company might help with cleanup, too!
Food is a great way to express your grad’s individuality and throw a truly one-of-a-kind event. Include some of his or her favorite foods or snacks as a tribute. If he loves Mexican food, working with a taco truck caterer is bound to impress him and your guests. If there’s a bakery she frequents often, surprise her with a tray of her favorite cookies or cupcakes. The possibilities are endless!
Keep your guests busy. Most of your guests will be able to mingle the night away, but others might get bored and want to leave early.
Arrange some fun activities to keep people’s interest peaked throughout the party. If you’re having a summer party and expecting sunny weather, set up some outdoor games like bag toss or badminton. If you’re partying indoors, consider activities like karaoke, dancing, group board games, or cookie decorating. Planning activities is especially a good idea for younger kids who tend to lose interest quickly.
A game that has recently been trending is JackBox Games. This is the perfect game for the modern age—it’s played completely through smart phones and your TV. Each player joins and plays through his or her own cellphone, following prompts on the TV to participate in a diverse and unique selection of entertaining minigames.
Make sure your grad knows that the hassle was worth the tassel. It’s time to celebrate!