It’s that time of year again. For pomp and circumstance. Caps and gowns. Hopes and dreams. It’s time for graduations. Congratulations. And especially, celebrations. When it comes to graduation parties, the key is getting just the right mix of looking back and looking forward. And we’ve got the ideas to help you do just that:
Before the party
Start with the invitations. Sure, you can invite people via Facebook or Twitter, but formalizing things a bit with some personalized invites gives everyone a great keepsake to hang onto. (Plus, the graduate is more likely to get a graduation gift in return for a physical invitation.) Send them by mail (or deliver by hand) with an RSVP request. That way, you’ll have a rough idea of the number of guests coming. And you can keep one invitation as a memento of the day.
Ask the graduate for a list of his or her favorite party foods and drinks to serve. Coordinate the party by using school colors for the decorations, tablecloths, napkins and plates—you can even match the school colors with the candies at a candy bar or icing on a graduation cake.
Make a slide show or video of your graduate’s life from birth to graduation that you can play during the party. Or, if you’re having a party with lots of grads, get baby pictures and senior pictures of all the graduates so you can create two displays. (During the party, have a contest to see who can correctly match up the most faces.)
During the party
Take photos and/or videos during the graduation party so you can add it to the grad’s slide show later and give it to him or her as a gift.
Ask guests to jot down advice for the graduate (you can do this ahead of time, too). Their advice can be funny or serious. You can read some of them aloud at the party. And it’s a great way for those who can’t attend the party to be there in spirit. Or, record short videos of guests’ words of wisdom for the graduate. The faces and voices of those who shared their day will be a fun memento.
Pass around a blank notebook at the party where guests can write down their names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, birthdays and usernames on social media sites.
Serve some yummy foods like these easy graduation party recipes and have some cleverly worded favors at the door as guests leave like “Brain Food” on baggies of trail mix, “Smarty Pants” with a roll of Smarties® candies attached to little paper pants, or upside-down pears with a sign that says “Take one for bright ideas.”
After the party
Get your grad some personalized thank-you notes to send to the family and friends that came, and to those who sent cards and gifts from far away.
Gather all the notes and pictures from the party together in a scrapbook.