Graduation Party Planning Checklist

Graduation season is upon us once again, and high schools and colleges everywhere will be handing students their hard-earned diplomas and degrees. For most students and families, this long awaited event calls for celebration! Families across the country will be inviting all of their friends and relatives over to congratulate recent grads on all of their hard work.

Depending on the size of your graduation party, there are a number of things you’ll want to take into consideration while planning. This party planning guide will help you make sure you’re getting the most out of your graduation party.

Graduation Party Planning Checklist:

  • Guest list – Carefully look over your guest list and make sure you have enough food and drinks, seating, plastic or silverware, and space to accommodate everyone comfortably. Especially think about space, this shouldn’t be a problem if you are having an outdoor party, like a BBQ, but if you’re hosting inside, make sure everyone will have room to sit and move around. Guest lists can get out of hand quickly, so make sure you look over yours carefully.
  • Food – Make sure you have an appropriate amount of food to take care of everyone on your guest list. Depending on what kind of party you’re throwing this could just mean having a good selection of hors d’oeuvres or finger foods, but if you’re throwing a dinner party, make sure there’s more than enough food to go around – you can always eat leftovers later! If cooking isn’t your thing, or you just want to be able to properly host and enjoy your party, catering is always a good option. My niece in Long Island graduated last year and they got the Summer BBQ catering package from Suburban Eats in Melville, and it really took a lot of stress off of my sister and brother-in-law in terms of preparation for the party. Food is one of the biggest considerations for a large party like this, and should probably account for a large part of your party budget.
  • Decorations – Decorations are fairly easy for a graduation party, and you should be able to find plenty of themed plates, cups, table settings, balloons, etc. without too much trouble. If you’re crafty, you can make some pretty easy grad party decorations with the black, white, and gold color scheme (or the color scheme of the school or university that your graduate attended).
  • Invitations – This is another often overlooked part of planning a successful graduation party. Since everyone graduates at the same time, chances are high that many of your graduate’s friends will also be having parties on or around the same day as your party. Sending out invitations early will ensure that you’re the first party on everyone’s list and hopefully increase your turnout. If you wait until the last minute to invite the people on your guest list, you might end up with fewer guests than you were expecting due to conflicting engagements.
  • Layout – Plan where you want everything to be at your party. Are food tables too close together? Are drinks easily accessible? Are people going to hold up the food line while pouring drinks? Are trashcans visible and accessible? Where is everyone sitting? Will there be room to mingle even after a food line forms? All of these questions need to be considered while planning for your party to make sure the space is comfortable throughout your shindig.

For most graduation parties, you’ll also want to set up a table honoring your graduate. Generally this is where people will drop off their graduation presents. Usually for this kind of table you’ll want some pictures of your graduate, these are usually senior pictures but can also include some “through the years” pictures to make a nice timeline of achievements. This is also a good place to put a “Congrats Grad” centerpiece with some balloons to spruce it up a bit.

Luckily, graduation parties are frequently informal, and you can go into planning as much or as little as you would like. Perhaps you want everyone you know to come and have a big catered event, or maybe you just want to do a smaller thing with family and close friends, either way if you follow this checklist, you’re sure to have the perfect graduation party to cap off a successful high school or college career.