How to Host a Memorable Graduation Party

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    Party Like a Pro

    Graduation Cap
    Graduation Memories. Good Housekeeping

    You don't have to be a professional caterer to throw a memorable graduation party. It's not everyday you have the chance to celebrate a graduate. A graduation is a momentous occasion where friends and family gather to make and share memories. To allow yourself to completely indulge in the festivities it's best to have a plan before hand. It's one thing to host a graduation party but you want to enjoy the fruits of your labor as well, especially if it's your own son or...MORE daughter who is the special graduate. With a couple of party planning tips from the professional you will be on your way to creating memories that will last a lifetime with your loved ones. Moments like these move quickly so make sure to give it your all! I'm happy to share this advice from my own experience and some I've researched to ensure there is plenty to cheers at the graduation party.

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  • 02 of 13


    Congrats Grad
    Rifle Paper Co. Rifle Paper Co

    Printing and paper costs can add up especially if you plan on throwing a large graduation event. You want to send your graduate into the world with their best foot forward so of course you want the announcement for the big day to look good. If you are more of a traditional mailing invitations through the post kind of person I would suggest looking into Rifle Paper Co. for some gorgeous personalized paper options. VistaPrint has some great template options that make it easy to fill out all the...MORE important details for the big day. You spent all that money on graduation photos might as well share your sparkling graduate with all your favorite people. They will love to see their friend donning a cap and gown for their big date. Don't forget all the necessary information like graduates full name, date, time, venue, address and directions. Most importantly always include a way to RSVP. RSVP is imperative to knowing how much food and drinks to buy and how much seating you will need. If you don't know what RSVP actually means here is an interesting tutorial. You can either send your VistaPrint image via email or traditional mail. Most people check their emails so here is an opportunity to save on costs for your party.

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    Graduation Friends
    Graduation Pals. Better Homes and Garden

    A budget is the least fun aspect of party planning but may be the most important. It's easy to waste hundreds of dollars if you don't do the research and plan ahead for your party. A budget will keep your buying in check and allow you to get only what you need for the party. Etsy and are great resource for graduation party essentials. Save money and time for buying party planning basics like napkins, cups, utensils and decor all online without leaving your home. Another tip...MORE for planning a graduation party on a budget is buddying up with the graduates companions or close friends. It's most likely they will be inviting many of the same people to their parties so this way you are killing two birds with one stone. The duo will be able to create lasting memories together and both parties will be spliiting costs.

    The Frugal Girls share their best and most creative graduation party ideas for celebrating on a budget.

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    Planning & Timeline

    Keys to Success
    Keys to Success.

    Planning and timeline go hand in hand with the budget. First I would suggest writing down a list of all your expenses for the party. Then from their you will know the order each task will need to be completed. Like I mentioned before taking the time to plan ahead will save you both money and time in the end which we all need. After you have your list of items to buy, look at your usual schedule and make an actual timeline of when you can accomplish all of these tasks and write them down....MORE It's tough to stick to a schedule but you will be happy you did in the long run.

    Here is an example of a great party planning in the form of a useful checklist. This is another helpful timeline from Epicurious

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    Graduation Food
    Graduation Food. Real Simple

    First consult with the internet and find the best things to eat at a graduation to finalize your menu. Grandmothers and other mothers are also great references. They will often insist on helping with the menu and contributing to the food table. If you are doing everything yourself I love these graduation food ideas from Real Simple.

    Graduation Party Appetizers You Can Eat In One Bite 

    Graduation Party Food Ideas for Every Guest

    See your budget and make a food shopping list. Don't forget...MORE tableware, cutlery and this is the time to place your rental order if you need extra supplies. Remember those helpers I mentioned earlier? It's also useful to make a list of people you can count on to help you for the big day. This way you can also hold them responsible for their assigned tasks. A shared google doc is an easy way to organize your troops.

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  • 06 of 13

    Beverages & Bar

    Honey Lemonade Cocktail
    Honey Lemonade Cocktail.

     The RSVP list is very helpful when it comes to planning beverages and the bar. Some questions you will need to ask yourself are, how many children will be attending? How many adults and teens? How many people will be drinking? Within the drinkers how many prefer beer, wine or cocktails? Do I even want to serve cocktails or should I just serve beer and wine? Should I only do a punch? Beverage and bar can get complicated but trust your gut. You know your guests the best so do what you think fits...MORE best. Here are some helpful guides to help you calculate the number of drinks you need and what to buy.

    How to Calculate the Number of Drinks to Buy for a Party

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    Confetti Balloons
    Confetti Balloons. Brit + Co

    There are countless number of DIY graduation party decor options. Particullarly I love these DIY party decoration ideas from These confetti balloons are magical and super Instagram friendly. Buzzfeed has some classic ideas as well. Some graduates like to have themes for there bash and others stick with traditional school colors. Make sure your school and class is represented in the decor.

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    Party DJ
    Daxiao Productions

    Make a playlist in advance. Often times music is the last thing on people's mind when party planning and it should be first. Music helps guests feel comfortable as the enter a room. It also helps the party move into the night. Think about it, have you ever entered a room without music? All eyes are immediately on you as you make your way to a seat. Music is your buffer, music is your friend. Spotify has some easy and helpful playlists already made for you.

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    Photo Booth

    Grad Party Props
    Grad Party Props.

    As of recently photo booths have been added to all kinds of events. Personal birthdays, weddings, small and large gatherings and graduations. My favorite photo booth service is Bosco but there are a tons of ways to make your own booth now thanks to the selfie stick. A dry erase photo booth frame prop is available through Etsy. Print these school superlatives for friends to use in photobooth. Another great buy to "pimp" your party through Etsy.

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    White House
    Room with a View. One Kings Lane

    Location, location, location as they say. Have you thought about where you will be hosting this momentous occasion? Is your family home large enough to accommodate the number of guests you plan to invite? Do you have a friend or family member willing to let you borrow your home for the event? Do you prefer to rent a hall or country club for the occasion where you can have caters and a clean up crew handle the details of the event for you? A graduation party will be a great time at any of these...MORE locations. You will just need to know what yourself and the graduate are looking for in the meantime.

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    Selfie Table

    Graduation Table
    Graduation Table.

    We throwing a party to celebrate one particularly person in the room are we not? There should be a table full of selfies so guests can see the graduate grow through the years. We all remember how quickly time passes so a graduation is a wonderful time to reflect through all those special years and welcome the upcoming ones. In a way we are saying goodbye to one time in our lives as we are about to start a new chapter. Why not share all these beautiful images with our nearest and dearest.

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    Susty Party
    Susty Party. Susty Party

    Keep things clean by having a RECYCLING garbage can easily labeled for guests to dispose of their cans and bottles. Disposable dish ware and serving platters are your friend. If you are hosting the party on your own this simple tool could save hours on clean up. If you are worried about the aesthetic of the party and aren't into paper and plastic utensils, remember there are some brands making really cute and eco friendly materials like the ladies at Susty Party.

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    Thank You Note

    Thank You
    Handwritten Thank You. Barna Talent

    Your grad will probably be receiving a ton of gifts monetarily and to get them ready for the next leg of their journey. Be sure to kindly remind them to send out individual thank you cards to each guest who has attended and contributed to the party. Guests will be full of gratitude for the sweet gesture and feel proud to have helped your graduate in any way they can. Some say snail mail is dead but I think a receiving a card the old fashion way proves a thoughtful and wise soul.