Planning the Party
Everyone who has played a role in the life of the graduate should be sent an invitation to the graduation party. It is understood by most that tickets to commencement are limited, however an open house allows for everyone to congratulate the graduate.
You can choose informal themes, such as a backyard Barbeque; or you can choose to have a more formal gathering. There are several styles of invitations that you can purchase or create, to invite people to the event. Consider holding the graduation party 1-2 weeks prior to graduation, to avoid the busyness of graduation week and to allow ample time to properly honor the graduate.
It is appropriate to express a particular gift giving theme such as a money tree, a kitchen/apartment setup, gas cards, or a quarter drive, for laundry machines in college. Include this information on the invitation. Be sure that you purchase thank you cards for the graduate to write out after the party. Since the party will probably be held prior to graduation, the thank you cards can be prepared before graduation and the beginning of the busyness of summer.
Honoring the Accomplishments of the Graduate
A great way to celebrate all of the accomplishments of the graduate is to create a display area that can hold trophies, awards, and ribbons. Include photos that have been taken at games, ceremonies, birthday parties, and science fairs! You can set the display up along a short path, marked “Memory Lane”. The path could lead into the main meeting space, where the tribute will be made to the graduate.
Paying Tribute to the Graduate
Contact specific guests ahead of time and ask them if they would take part in a tribute to the graduate. Ask the guest to stand up and share a memory, stating the age/grade of the graduate at the time of the memory making event. Ask the guest to also share words of wisdom for the graduate to carry into the future. Some people choose to have a candle ceremony to commemorate each year of school, in addition to the verbal tribute.
Finger rolls, veggie platters, crackers and cheese and a variety of miniature desserts are all appropriate for an open house or reception. You can set up a buffet area, and use large platters to display the finger foods. For added elegance, use punch bowls or a fountain. A chocolate fountain is also a great way to dazzle the guests. The ultimate centerpiece for this once in a lifetime event is an ice sculpture of a scrolled diploma or a graduation cap.
Stationery and party supply store offer a plethora of decorations for the party. Graduation hats, diplomas, scrolls, and honor cords are all symbols of the event.
Usually, you can order a variety of decorations in the school colors, to make the party more personal. Using the idea of creating a memory/tribute area as a focal point makes decorating the rest of the party space simple. The buffet table is another focal point. Cover tables with plastic table clothes, purchase matching paper products, add a few balloons, and hang some metallic steamers in the theme colors and voila!