If you are throwing a graduation party either for yourself or for a family member or close friend, you may want to do some advance planning to determine some of the logistics of the event and to decide on a theme. Once you have these details down, you will be able to buy all of the right decorations and party supplies to make your event a real success. Use your creative license and design a party that your guests won't soon forget!
Plan the Party
- Decide what style party you will host. Do you want to have a small dinner party, an outdoor barbeque or something in between?
- Take the weather into account. If you plan an outdoor party, have a backup plan in case of rain.
- Determine whether the guests will be close friends or acquaintances. Compile the guest list and decide how many people you will invite.
- Think about whether you will offer a meal, snack foods, or both. Decide whether you will provide finger food or more elaborate food choices that will require more planning in terms of presentation and serving. Take into account the number of people you will be hosting, and think about any possible food allergies or dietary restrictions. (Do you have guests who may have religious limitations on diet, vegetarian preferences or may be on a low-calorie diet? If so, plan accordingly.) Come up with a menu so you can see what you will need to accommodate the food and the guests.
- Determine the age of the attendees. If this is a middle school or high school graduation, plan the music or entertainment to appeal to this age group. Also, if you expect lots of young kids, try to have some activities or games to keep them busy. For instance, a room set up with coloring books and crayons can keep young children occupied while the adults socialize.
Select a Theme
- Plan a theme to help organize your event. The theme could be as simple as the graduation itself or could be a color that you use in all of the supplies.
- Also keep in mind the type of graduation this is, and what the graduate plans to do next, such as continuing education or a career. For instance, if the party is for someone who just graduated from beauty school, you might use some decorations or party favors related to hair or makeup.
- Consider how you might coordinate your accessories to highlight the theme, such as looking for plates, napkins and balloons with "happy graduation" on them.
Buy the Supplies
- Create a list of the types of supplies you will need. Remember to include all paper/plastic goods on your list, such as napkins, plates, silverware and cups.
- Consider buying plates and cups in multiple sizes. This will allow guests to take a smaller glass of wine or a larger cup of soda.
- If the guests will be a small group of close friends, you might opt for using your best wine glasses and plates for the dinner, with paper plates and napkins for dessert. On the other hand, if you are hosting a larger party that will include many acquaintances, going with just paper plates and cups could be a better option. Also, don't be afraid to do a mix of paper and china. Just plan accordingly.
- Have extras when it comes to supplies. Guests may throw away their plate and cup and take a second one, so have plenty on hand.
- Select a centerpiece to decorate the table and other decorations for the walls, such as a "congratulations" banner or sign.
- You might put together cute party favor bags as a "thank you" for guests.
- Don't forget stationery. You will need invitations and thank-you notes.
- Look at the different graduation-themed supplies available to see what you like.
- Browse at discount houses, stationery stores, party shops and online shopping sites to see the selection of graduation supplies on the market.
- Compare prices. You can often save money on these types of supplies if you look at sales and off-price stores, where you might pay considerably less than market value. Don't be afraid to buy discounted or clearance items. This will allow you to save money without sacrificing quality.
- Begin shopping a while before you need the items so you will have time to look around and find just the right items for your event.