As you approach that big graduation day, you may be starting to plan that all-important celebration: the party! After all that hard work, it’s only natural that you’ll want to dance the night (or day) away with the people you love the most. But if you’re not a natural party planner, you might feel overwhelmed by the idea of planning a backyard bash or a larger scale formal affair. Here are some awesome tricks and tips as you plan, budget, and prepare:
Sit down for a meeting beforehand: This meeting should include the graduate, any parent(s) involved, and anyone who might be hosting the party if you’re not having it at your home. It’s important to get on the same page together about the responsibilities of each person, especially in the crazy and hectic season of senior year. Be sure to set an appropriate budget for the party, and decide who will contribute (sometimes, grandparents or other family members want to help), and how they will be reimbursed. This can be an uncomfortable but important conversation, and can help prevent any hurt feelings or confusion later on!
Plot out your “must have” items: Much like a wedding, it’s important to decide which items you can’t live without, like a professional photographer, the food, or an amazing outfit. Then, decide which items you are okay with negotiating, buying secondhand, or choosing a less expensive option. For example, if you are a major foodie and want to have a catered lunch or dinner, you will probably want to allot a large portion of your budget to the menu. For others, the decor is a large part of what they have envisioned and they want to spend their budget on balloon arches and oversized lighted letters! Decide which items you are flexible on, and which ones you absolutely love. For the lower priority items, ask around to friends and family to borrow or purchase secondhand if you can. You’d be surprised what some people have laying around in their garage, like tiki torches for a luau theme, or a helium tank for tons of balloons.
Decide on your guest list, and have a meaningful sharing time: One of the highlights of graduation parties is hearing the wisdom and love shared for the graduate. One nice option is to have a sharing time when older family members or friends can share well-wishes to the new grad, and even write them notes of encouragement that they can take to college. If you or your senior doesn’t love the spotlight, you can opt to do written notes that they can leave in a little box or a basket before they leave. These are some of the most meaningful and powerful moments at many parties. It’s also a really nice memory for your friends and family before you head off to college.
Lastly, don’t fall into the trap of comparison. Social media and Instagram keep us constantly aware of what everyone else is doing or buying, but your graduation party doesn’t have to be bigger or better than everyone else’s. In fact, many seniors feel the pressure to spend money they and their parents don’t have to show off a party to their friends, only to be left with debt and frustration after. Remember that your party is to celebrate YOU, and it should reflect you and the people you love, even if it’s not trendy.
Of course above all, enjoy the moment, and treasure this season!