Do you have a graduate in your life? There’s no better way to celebrate than with a great big graduation party!
If you’re ready to plan a great graduation party, there’s lots to do!
First, you’ll need to start working on the guest list. Then, it’s off to the party store to set the mood with great decorations (perhaps in your school colors). Invite friends and family the open house—did you remember stamps for the invites?! Oh, and don’t forget food and drink planning, of course….
Maybe you love to plan parties and maybe you don’t. Either way, graduation party planning can be a lot of work and stress (especially if you’re also sending your graduate off to college in the fall). Here are all the pieces you need to take care of for a great graduation party. Take the pressure off graduation party planning with an easy printable graduation party checklist to make sure you don’t forget a single important detail.
How to Plan an Amazing Graduation Party
Getting a student all the way through high school takes a lot of hard work and dedication. A high school graduation ceremony is a big deal in any family and calls for a celebration to commemorate the accomplishment.
If you’re planning a graduation party, there are many moving pieces to keep track of, from inviting your son or daughter’s friends to planning an activity (like a fun photobooth)! You’ll want to celebrate with all the special people who have helped your graduate along his or her way, including your closest friends and family.
Start Planning the Graduation Party 3-4 Months in Advance
Planning a great graduation party means giving yourself plenty of time to plan. How far should you begin planning ahead? For the best results, start 3-4 months before graduation.
Keep in mind that during the early planning stages, you’ll want to set up the basic idea behind the graduation party. Come up with a graduation party theme, choose a location, and create a budget.
You may want to send out save-the-date cards for both the graduation ceremony and the party as well. Late-May and early-June are often busy times for families, so give friends and family plenty of notice so they can make sure they’ve penciled in the big day and can attend the fabulous graduation party.
You’ll want to do all the rental and set up for the graduation party at least a few months in advance as well. Like your friends and family, rental companies and catering companies are likely getting booked with summer get-togethers, weddings, and, of course, other graduation parties. Now is the time to book the entertainment, rent the tent, table, chairs (or venue), and decide on the graduation party food. If you’re having the graduation party catered, you’ll want to book that too.
Planning on your own graduation party menu? I have plenty of graduation party food ideas to keep the guests full and satisfied. Don’t forget the most important part—the sweets! Check out these great graduation party desserts to inspire your graduation menu planning.
Solidify Plans 6-8 Weeks Before the Graduation Party
Because May and June are such busy times of the year for party planning, it’s really important to follow up with all of the moving pieces between 6-8 weeks before your event. You’ll want to check in with all the vendors to confirm everyone is on track for the graduation party.
It’s also a good idea to send out the graduation party invitations at 6-8 weeks ahead of the big day (especially if you didn’t send out save-the-date notices earlier). This will get the event on everyone’s calendar so they can schedule accordingly.
3-4 Weeks Before, Ramp Up Your Graduation Party Planning Schedule
Now that the advanced party planning is out of the way, you’re ready to get into the fun details of the graduation party planning! This is the exciting part where you get really creative!
For the perfect graduation party, you’ll want to deck out the yard or party venue with lots of great decorations. Plan your graduation party decorations around your theme (for my daughter’s graduation, we did a daisy theme, which matched her school colors). Pick up all your glassware, plates, napkins, and utensils to go along with the graduation party colors.
This is a great time to pick up thank you notecards to send out after the graduation party. You may want to schedule post-party cleaning help as well—especially if you have houseguests coming from out-of-town. Plan your outfit for the graduation ceremony and the party, in case you need to shop for something to wear.
2 Weeks Before the Party: Finalize the Details
Check your RSVP list a few weeks before the graduation party (be sure to include an RSVP date on the invitations so you aren’t scrambling to plan for additional guests at the last minute). It’s a good rule of thumb to confirm with all the vendors like catering, rentals, and entertainment once more as you get down to the wire. You never know when a scheduling mishap may occur, so check in and confirm.
Assess your graduation party decorations and supplies. If you plan to have a photobooth, make sure you have gathered props and set up the area. Check on table linens, confirm flowers, and finalize any other decorative details. Print out your graduation party printables and signs so you’re ready to decorate!
A Few Days Before the Graduation: Party Do the Last-Minute Prep
As it gets close to the big day, you’ll want to set up your home (if that’s where you’re hosting the party or graduation open house). If you have houseguests, be sure to set up your house a few days ahead of their arrival.
Depending on the location of the graduation party and the weather conditions, you may be able to set up the fun graduation decorations a few days in advance. Do any food prep if you’re cooking for the graduation party yourself. Make sure you’ve taken care of the logistical details like trashcans, bathroom supplies, refrigerator space, and any needs for technology.
Review your graduation party checklist carefully to ensure you’ve remembered each detail. This will allow you to just relax on the day of the graduation ceremony and enjoy yourself.
The Day of the Big Graduation Party: Add the Final Touches and Enjoy!
Once the big day has arrived, hopefully the details are all smoothed out and taken care of. There will be last-minute tasks, like picking up ice, balloons, and last-minute foods. Make sure the beverages are in the cooler and the tables are all set up for the get-together.
While it’s festive and fun to hold the graduation party on the same day as the ceremony, you may find it less stressful and easier to host the party on the Saturday or Sunday following the graduation ceremony. Not only will this take the pressure off you during an already stressful day, but it may also be easier for guests.
A graduation is a big achievement! Make it extra special with a beautiful, memorable graduation party!
Make Party Planning Simple with this Graduation Party Planning Checklist
I thought I would help you out with your graduation party planning, so I created this Free Printable Graduation Party Checklist to make sure you don’t forget any important pieces of the graduation party planning.
My daughter graduated a few years ago and I wish I would have thought about creating this party planning checklist back then…but I didn’t…haha. The party turned out great, but I flew by the seat of my pants. I took all that information and used it to help make this great graduation party checklist that you can print out for free!
Personally, I love the timeframe on the graduation party planning checklist to help me stay on schedule and keep track of what needs to be done and when; that way I can really pace myself as I go along (I use this type of timeframe when planning any party).
Hopefully, this graduation party checklist and planner will help you with some great graduation party planning tips and you won’t get stressed out an overwhelmed. After all, graduation should be a time for celebration and happiness (not stressing about scheduling entertainment or cooking food for visitors).
Almost everything on the graduation party planning checklist is covered, so you can sit back and just enjoy your child’s high school graduation party!
Printable Graduation Party Planning Checklist (Downloadable PDF)
Print out the High School Graduation Party Checklist and have fun planning the celebration! A graduation party is a wonderful way to celebrate your child’s accomplishments!
Download this FREE PRINTABLE GRADUATION PARTY CHECKLIST by joining my email list. You will have full access to this printable as well as my complete Private Printable Library! The library includes tons of awesome designs including one of the cute graduation party signs below (the perfect addition to your upcoming graduation get-together).
Graduation party planning may be stressful, but if you’re organized, it will all come together seamlessly. Print out the list and keep it on hand throughout your planning. Check off each item on the list as you go to keep track of everything you need to do.
When the big day comes, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your son or daughter’s graduation! As they move on to the great big world, celebrate the achievement with a fabulous and fun graduation party!
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