11 Great Tips for Planning Your 2021 Graduation Party
Your child is graduating high school or college this year. It can be exciting for them to feel this sense of accomplishment and are sure to be eager to begin their next chapter in life. You may be ecstatic knowing that they have achieved this remarkable milestone. Or maybe you're just happy not having to harp on them about waking up and doing homework. After all, they'll be out of the house soon. Either way, you both want to celebrate!
You may have started looking into prospective dates to host your Graduation Party and decided on a location. But now, you may be wondering, "What's next?" Start with these valuable tips to ensure your party is a success:
1. Book Your Vendors Before Sending Out Invites
Yes, you need to send save-the-dates and invites as early as possible to give guests enough time to plan for your party. But that doesn't mean graduation party invitations must be the first things checked off your list.
Call your prospective grad party equipment renter, caterer, bar service, and any entertainment to ensure they can accommodate your party date. This will make your booking process way more manageable and prevent you from juggling times to find one that works for your vendors.
2. Splurge On The Food & Drink
Whatever your budget, a good deal of it should go towards your food and drink. After all, this is what your party will be remembered for. Skimping on the food can lead to running out before the party ends. Even worse, if the food is terrible, guests won't want to eat it. Your party will be branded as "the one with the bad food." Nobody wants that.
The same goes for the drinks. We're not saying you need to buy Fiji Water and San Pellegrino, but having a variety will be much appreciated by your guests. Not everyone likes Sprite, so don't make that the only option. If having alcoholic beverages, we recommend finding a bar cart or bar caterer to take the hassle out of serving, stocking, and ensuring there is no underage drinking!
3. Consider COVID Worries
Even though the vaccine is becoming more prevalent and coronavirus concerns are beginning to subside, many people are still nervous. The pandemic has also heightened awareness of sanitation and the spread of germs. Keep those worries at bay by implementing the following:
- Hand sanitizer- Keep handwashing & sanitizing stations accessible throughout the party and consider setting up a sanitation station.
- Masks- Even if orders are not in effect, some people may still want to wear one. Make your grad party 'mask optional' and provide extras.
- Cleanliness- Frequently clean surfaces that people are touching and choose vendors with strict cleaning & sanitizing procedures.
- Social Distancing- Even outdoors, people may prefer to keep a safe distance. Spread out your party and place minimal chairs at tables.
4. Figure Out The Headcount In Advance
This should be a top priority, along with selecting dates and locations. Your vendors, including party rental companies and caterers, will rely on this number to know how to service your party and what to bring.
It will also prevent the hassle of scrambling to accommodate unexpected guests and help reign in your budget. Assume that most of your invitees will show. Some people may not be able to make it, but others may bring extra guests. And remember, having slightly more than you need will be better than running out.
5. Plan For Individual Guests' Needs
There are a few in every bunch- overly picky eaters, those with food allergies or handicaps, and the elderly. If you're asking, "Why does that concern me?" understand that hosting a party means making your guests comfortable. Creating an enjoyable environment for every guest is key to a successful celebration!
If you know someone with a food allergy will be attending, make sure you have a meal or snack that's safe for them. For those with food preferences, like vegetarians or dieters, offer a menu with good variety so they can find something to enjoy. Prevent trip hazards for guests with wheelchairs or walkers by providing flat, even paths clear to and from parking areas, food spots, and bathrooms.
6. Get Written Confirmation From Your Vendors
Here's a situation you don't want to get caught in. It's been 10 minutes since your party started and your tent and chairs haven't shown up. Or the caterers. Or the DJ. Now you're calling the company, only to find out you were never booked. This will lead to a disastrous day of he said- she said.
The best way to prevent this? After putting down your deposit, get a contract or written confirmation that your party is on the company's schedule, and service will be provided. If anything does happen, you'll have a hard copy of proof that you did indeed have a booking. It's also good practice to ensure there is some form of follow-up at least a week out from the party to confirm that everything is still a go.
7. Don't Forget The Music...Please!
This is a way to transform your graduation party from boring to extraordinary. A simple speaker in the heart of your party will do, but to turn it up a notch, spring for a DJ and create a dance floor or area. Playing music will prevent any quiet pauses and instantly creates a fun atmosphere.
For music choice, you can play just about anything. It's more for the background noise. Just ensure your selection is appropriate. If the party is more family-oriented, maybe rethink your son's Hip Hop playlist.
8. Plan Some Activities
You don't need expensive magicians and dunk tanks to have a great party- but those sure are fun. If looking for graduation party activities on a budget, a simple set-up of cornhole can be an effortless way to liven up your party.
Also, consider setting up a picture station. People love being able to share their celebration on Social media; make it easy for them to share yours. Create a DIY photo booth (or rent one) for all the IG stars to get the perfect shot and have them share it with your very own #hashtag!
9. Make Sure You Have A Tent Or Other Type Of Shelter
This s a must-have for an outdoor graduation party. As a Michigan-based company, we know first-hand how a rainstorm or blistering sun can ruin a party. Make sure you're COVERED with a tent rental or other shelter (like a garage or pavilion). If you're setting up a tent, make sure that it's properly secured to the ground because it doesn't take much wind to send one sailing.
10. Chairs. Make Sure You Have Enough Seating
Often overlooked, seating for your guests is essential. All areas of your party should have enough places to sit, not just the eating areas. This is essential if you will be doing an open house graduation party since people are more likely to move about.
11. Give Yourself Enough Time To Decorate And Set Up
Another situation to prevent- It's the night before your party, and you finally found the cutest table centerpiece on Pinterest. Let's fast forward to 8am when you are finally putting the last ribbon on your 20th vase. Now you only have a few hours to set up all your tables, chairs, stations, graduate boards, and activities. Don't let this happen. It only leads to frustration and resentment of having the party.
Instead, give yourself plenty of time to round up party supplies and decorations (this should be done a week before your event). Set up any equipment that you're able to the day before. Use the party day for final details, food set-up, and to get yourself ready!
BONUS TIP: Relax, It's Supposed To Be Fun
Instead of a conclusion, we've decided to add in a bonus tip. And that is to remain calm and enjoy yourself when planning a graduation party. This is a party, after all. Your son or daughter has made it through those first 12 years of school. Enjoy every second of it, as this may very well be the sendoff. Don't get too hung up on the details, but instead book reliable services and focus on having a good time with your graduate!