It’s not too early to be thinking about graduation party ideas if you have a high school senior in the house. (No doubt it’s been looming in the back of your mind for months!) But now’s the time to make at least two decisions that will make the next few months go that much smoother: 1) How many people are you inviting? 2) Where will you have it?
Deciding how many people to invite is the most important question, because it will determine where you hold the party, how much you spend and what you serve. Will it be just family? Will your grad want to invite just a few friends, or the whole class? Will you be inviting your adult friends?
Once you have a rough number to work with, you’ll have a better handle on where to have the party. Your back yard may be the obvious choice, but if you are considering any other options you will need to decide soon, since the popular places are booked months in advance. There are pros and cons to each of these graduation party locations:
Your home. This is usually the most common and least expensive solution, but not if you need to have your whole back yard landscaped to make it presentable! While some families don’t mind the work, others don’t want the pressure of having to clean the house and do all the prep work themselves. Consider whether you have the space to prep, store, and serve food, and what you will do if it rains.
Somebody else’s home. It sounds funny, but it’s happening more and more. Many families decide to share the costs (and the fun) of planning a grad party with another family. If the other family has more space, you may end up hosting the party at their house. You will want to help, of course, but may want to compensate the other family in some way, by covering more of the costs, creating the invitations, or doing more of the cooking or prep work.
A local park. This has the advantage of having lots of space for big-kid activities such as volleyball or badminton, or to bring in activities such as inflatable bouncers/moon walks. You will have to transport food, but at the end of the day, the mess (and lingering guests) won’t be in your house. If the park doesn’t have a shelter, you may want to rent a tent in case of rain.
A rented party room or hall. Ask around for graduation party ideas. Most towns have at a local facility such as a golf course, hotel, church hall or VFW where you can hold a party. They may provide a caterer, or may allow you to bring in your own food and decorations. Renting an inside space means you won’t have to worry about rain.
A restaurant. The obvious advantage to this choice is not having to prep or serve any of the food yourself. If you have a small group, a big budget, or are splitting the costs with another family, it’s worth looking into. Most restaurants will work within your budget to provide a simple menu that will make both kids and adults happy, such as pizza, appetizers or desserts.
Once you have the two big questions answered, you can start thinking about graduation invitations, your menu, decorations and other details. Be sure to involve your grad in the planning, and check out our blog for more graduation party ideas.