Step by Step Graduation Party Planning

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Tri-fold graduation announcement by PurpleTrail.

As students all over the country gear up to walk the aisle in full gown and cap regalia, it’s time for you to start your graduation party planning for your graduate. Set the tone with personalized graduation invitations. Make your graduation invitations extra special with a graduation tri-fold card or an accordion graduation card style. You can even create graduation magnets for your graduation invitations or graduation announcements. Whether it’s a small family affair, an open house or a full blown out event with all the trimmings, the success is in the planning.

What kind of a party do you have in mind? Is it a surprise graduation party, a themed party, a formal event, a family get together or an open house? Is it geared towards friends, family or both?

Seek your graduates help to come up with an answer. Informal events work best for high school graduates. Most likely the graduate and his/her classmates will be moving on to the next stage in their life and will want a place to mingle and share the memories of the years gone by. Food and ambiance adds to the celebration of the big event. For college graduates you could plan for a bigger and a more elaborate event.

Keep in mind that all age groups will likely be attending the graduation party -classmates, friends, their parents, teachers, god parents, family members and so on. Plan the party/event so that everyone is able to enjoy. Also, if you pick a theme for your party, keep your graduate’s interests and hobbies in mind.

Is co-hosting with other parents an option? Check with your child if he has close friends who are also graduating so you could co-host the party with other parents.

  • Decide On The Party Venue: If you have a decent sized backyard, it’s THE place for your graduation party. The money you save on the rental could be used to splurge on the decorations and food. In cases where you would need to rent tables, tents, etc, inquire about them early, as there are many other people looking for the same items as you! If your backyard is not an option then consider renting a nearby park, farmyard or a hotel. A community center in your area is also a great idea. The nice thing about these options is that you won’t have to worry about getting extra tables and chairs, as they will most likely be provided with the rental fee.
  • Who is on the Guests List? Enlist the help of your graduate when making the guest list. It is important that the party and its guests all mean something to the graduate. It is nice to invite those people that have impacted your graduate’s journey in life so far. This could be influential teachers, coaches, friends or mentors. Family members like grandparents, uncles, aunts, godparents and, of course, friends. It is also nice to invite neighbors and include them in the event.
  • Decide the date: Graduation parties can be thrown either before or after the actual day of graduation (typically within one or two weeks of the graduation date). Keep this in mind when you decide on a date for the party.
  • Decide on a budget: Once you have answered all the above questions and have a clear sense of the way you want your party to be, plan a budget and, most importantly, stick to it.
  • Decide on a menu Will you be cooking or catering? Unless it is a formal event or a sit down affair, keep it finger friendly. Plan the food items so that most of them can be made ahead of time. Also stock a few ready to eat items that you could pass around in case you start running short of food.
  • Plan your decorations: Graduation posters, graduation banners, balloons and confetti all help set.the mood of the party. If you are planning your party around a theme, then the decorations should reflect that. If you are not using a theme, it is great to decorate with the graduate’s school colors. Graduation guestbooks are a nice touch as well.

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    Graduation banner from PurpleTrail

It’s a good idea to set up a photo backdrop area (a balloon arch, metallic curtain) so that the graduate can have pictures taken with guests to the party.

Will there be any out of town guests? If there will be out of town guests, call a few hotels in your area and ask about group discount rates. You can also book a couple of rooms for the night or maybe the weekend. In your invitation don’t forget to mention the venue options, details and directions.

Send invitations When deciding what type of graduation invite to create, consider if you’ll be sending them online, printing them at home or having them printed. The PurpleTrail Design Center allows you to choose any of those options. With hundreds of stylish designs to choose from, you can find the perfect graduation invitations for your graduate!

Give your graduate a big hug and let the celebration begin!

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