You’ve supported them through years and years of schooling and personal growth. The hard work is done, and now it’s time to celebrate and enjoy. Don’t let their graduation party turn into more work. With this guide in hand and an experienced catering company by your side, planning for it is part of the fun. And it is part of the celebration too—use this time to soak up your grad’s success.
Rather than create a never-ending to-do list, start by asking yourself this series of questions to figure out what you truly want. Then relax knowing we can make it happen. Your stress reduction begins with these graduation party planning tips and ends with a simple call to our friendly team.
What to Ask Yourself When Planning a Graduation Party
Months Before: What Do I Want and Need?
You know what you have: your home/space, relationships and connections to your community and a very special grad. Now is the time to think about what you need in order to throw the ultimate graduation party that gives your grad a memorable experience. Ask yourself the following:
- How many invitations can I send out? Assess your home’s maximum capacity. And remember, you can invite more than this. Not everyone will attend. In fact, you may send out invitations to some people who you already know will not attend. This is a kind gesture that includes them in the celebration and invites them to send a gift for the new grad. Likewise, neighbors may not attend, but it is still good to let them know about the party and extra traffic that will be in the neighborhood.
Tip: Talk to your grad about what and who they want at their graduation party. You may have some people to add to your invitation list!
- How much can I afford to spend? Once you determine this, compare your budget to your wish list. Then, do the research to find out how much those dreams really cost. A quality custom menu is likely far cheaper than most people think. Talk to friends and family about other local vendors as well; you just might find a DJ who is willing to give you a great deal.
Tip: If you still run out of budget while you go down your wish list, consider joining up with another grad party to share costs.
- What graduation party theme reflects my grad’s interests? If all you’ve heard about lately is the university they are so excited about, then you just might have found your theme! Or maybe you want to celebrate your grad with a fun summer theme. Consider a luau and add this matching buffet to your menu:
- Whole applewood-smoked pig
- BBQ sauce trio
- Brown sugar baked beans
- Mustard potato salad
- Soft rolls & butter
- What day and time is ideal for my guest list? Chat with friends and family to find out what time will maximize attendance. A brunch celebration gives guests the flexibility to arrive at their leisure. Our frittatas are equally enjoyable as a late breakfast and early lunch.
Tip: End of summer is a really busy time, and many people have already headed back to school, so consider choosing an earlier date.
- What decorations do I need? If you are leaning toward custom decorations, remember these can often become fun DIY projects. But if you have the budget for custom decorations, be sure to place your order early.
- What rentals do I need? You will be amazed how the right décor can transform your house. But while you get excited exploring your dashing décor options, don’t lose sight of the basics. Be sure you will have enough tables, chairs, tents, and linens to comfortably host all your guests.
- What catering company can prepare a custom menu and deliver it on-time and on-budget? Ask your caterer what custom menu items they offer. While guests are always happy to find cakes and sugar cookies with your personal touch, they really get excited to customize desserts for themselves. Our most popular build-your-own stations are:
- Brownie sundae bar: Homemade brownies, vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, caramel, M&M’s, whipped cream and peanuts
- Banana split bar: Vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream with bananas, hot fudge, caramel, Maraschino cherries, whipped cream and peanuts
- Cheesecake martini bar: Cheesecake mousse in a martini glass. Toppings include graham cracker crumbs, fresh berries, whipped cream and Oreo crumbles.
- Do I want to offer alcoholic beverages? If so, can my catering company provide these?
Tip: Give guests premium alcoholic and non-alcoholic options. A mimosa bar and lemonade stand make a great pair at a summer celebration.
2-4 Weeks Out: Is Everything and Everyone Ready?
As your date gets closer, it’s time to check in on how your graduation party vision is coming to life. To make sure everything is right on track for a great event, ask yourself these questions:
- What do guests need to know? Now is the time to send out your invitations. Be sure to include a dress code indicating formal or casual attire.
Tip: Of course, you are going to ask guests to RSVP. Think about how you prefer them to respond—email or phone?
- What activities will bring guests together? A slideshow and a karaoke session are great ways to break the ice.
Tip: On your invitations, ask guests to email you a photo of themselves when they RSVP. This will contribute to your incredible slideshow.
- How will I save the precious memories? A sign-in book, scrapbook, photos and videos can all help capture this special time.
Tip: Make sure your camera has enough battery power to last the full duration, and have backup on hand just in case.
- How can I thank guests? Party favors like custom mugs embossed with the school’s mascot and graduation date will remind guests of the grad and party for years to come.
- Will vendors need anything day-of? Will entertainers or catering staff need any particular equipment or space? Be sure to check in with them. At a minimum this will reassure you everything is going to run smoothly.
The Big Day: How Can I Enjoy This Party?
You’re not going to forget to hang those final decorations, and you can trust your experienced catering company with all food and setup, so you just need to ask yourself, “What is going to make me feel great?” This is your time to enjoy; these moments don’t come often and won’t last long. Get your rest and find some alone time with your grad before all your guests arrive.
Our family business is proud of all our community members for their achievements. It is our honor to help you celebrate. To learn how we can further simplify your graduation party planning, contact us online or give us a call at 208.743.0179.