The ultimate graduation party checklist

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Whether its kindergarten, first grade, or graduate school, a graduation party is a must! After all, completing a step in the educational journey is always a reason to celebrate. Because graduation parties require some extensive planning in order to create a personalized, memorable event that’s personalized to your graduate, you’ll want to start early. Here is a quick checklist just to make sure you have everything in order for the big event:

Send out invitations
You’ll want to send out invitations in a timely manner to ensure you’ll have the most important part of the party: the guests! Plan to put the invites in the mail about three to four weeks prior to the date of the event. And if you have any out-of-town relatives or friends that you would like to invite, you may even want to send their invitations six weeks in advance so they can make travel accommodations.

Plan for fun
Games are a must at graduation parties and all of your guests, young or old, will enjoy them. They help create that fun, celebratory atmosphere, keep guests occupied, and can even work as ice breakers for party guests who don’t know each other. Here are a few fun activities you should consider including at your son or daughter’s graduation party:

A photo booth: Photo booths have become super popular at weddings, but they’re sure to be a big hit at graduation parties too. Both children and adults will love getting into the booth and taking goofy pictures with friends. Suggest that your guests print out two copies of their pictures – one for themselves, and the other to post on a wall for all to see. That way, you’ll be able to have lots of photos to remember the party by. Some photo booths even allow the pictures to be uploaded online for guests to look at and print out at their leisure.

Make sure to have plenty of fun props on-hand that your guests can use in the photo booth. Funny hats, wigs, glasses, signs and fake mustaches are all sure to be a hit with your friends and family. But since it’s a graduation party, why not make your props appropriately themed? You could also print out graduation caps, tassels, bow ties, class of 2014 signs and more! Take some inspiration from this graduation-themed photo booth by Lady Liberty Events.

Yard games: For older graduates, set up lawn games like beanbag toss to encourage a bit of friendly competition. To make sure everyone gets in on the fun, put out more than one set so that multiple people can play. You could set up other yard games like croquet, volleyball, badminton, or wiffle ball. Or you could even feature some unconventional yard games, like lawn bowling, as seen below. For younger graduates, consider these classics: sack races, freeze tag, and sharks and minnows.

Indoor games: If you were planning for an outdoor party, but the weather forces you and your guests inside, be sure to have back-up plan including fun activities that you can all take part in. Board games like Apples to Apples, Cranium, Taboo, Pictionary and Scattergories are great fun, especially with large groups of people.

Personalized decor
This event is all about the graduate, so you’ll want to take advantage and decorate the party with personalized decor that’s special to your son or daughter. Check out these stylish and unique ways to dress up the soiree:

A photo wall: Post pictures of your graduate from all ages! This fills your party with color and special memories, not to mention it’s fun for you and your guests to reminisce about past memories (or laugh at embarrassing baby pictures). Consider clipping them onto string and hanging them behind the food table with streamers, as seen below by Bridal Musings. You can also choose to put “then and now” pictures on each table for the perfect conversation piece.

Customized coasters: Check out our custom coasters, which can feature the name of your graduate and their graduation date to make the event even more special. You could even choose funny phrases to print onto the coasters, like “Keep calm and walk on,” or “The tassel was worth the hassle.” If you’re hoping to have a unique keepsake from the celebration, these make great ones.

Sweets table: If your son or daughter is moving onto college, or making the transition from college to graduate school, take advantage and have a theme cake at the party representing their major of choice. For instance, if they’re planning on studying English or literature, you can have the baker whip up a cake in the shape of a book! A science major could have cookies shaped like beakers, flasks and test tubes. Take some inspiration from these creative nursing and law school cakes.

Dress up drinks: You can save yourself the headache of doing a million dishes by using plastic stadium cups that can be customized especially for your graduate. Alongside the display of cups, you could set out straws with a personalized pennant tag reading “class of 2014.”

Send home personalized gift bags
Say thank you to your party guests by sending them home with gift bags. Party guests of all ages will appreciate the sweet treat and gesture. You can make mini graduation caps, like these by Chicfluff using miniature peanut butter cups, colored frosting, chocolate squares, and M&Ms. All you need to do is place the peanut butter cup upside down on wax paper, place a tiny amount of frosting on each peanut butter cup, put a square of chocolate on top, and make a tiny graduation tassel using frosting or sour candy. Place an M&M candy on top of the frosting or sour candy, and you’re done! Wrap up a few in a cellophane bag, attach a thank you note and you have the perfect gift to send off your guests and thank them for being a part of your graduates day.

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