The end of the year is almost here! For many parents, their child’s graduation from any of the Catholic high schools is a bittersweet time. You are proud of everything your children have accomplished, but are sad to see them leave the nest. Send them off to college in style with a safe and fun high school graduation party. Follow these simple tips to make sure everyone will have a good time and return home safely.
1. Decide on a Day and Time. Many graduation parties include parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and peers. Sit down with your graduate to decide when he or she would like to schedule a party. Take into consideration how many family members will need to travel to attend and over how far a distance. Sometimes it is better to plan two different parties – one for the family members and one for friends.
2. Figure Out a Budget. The budget will rule the entire event – from the guest list and location to food and party favors. If you have a small budget, consider inviting a few close family and friends to a backyard barbecue or have your student choose a couple of close friends for a fun dinner at a favorite restaurant.
3. Choose a Location. The location will help you plan the rest of the party. Likely your options range from your backyard or a campground to a hotel or amusement park. Consider letting your student plan a half and half party – the graduate spends half the day with family members and the other half with friends and peers.
4. Create the Guest List. This is an important step toward making the party a safe one. Sit down with your son or daughter and explain to them that parents and other adults will be present at the party. Likely, you can offer a compromise by throwing a small “parent party” at the same location as the student party – close enough to make sure everyone is safe, but far enough to allow the students a sense of independence. Stress that your student is not to invite anyone that you do not know. This may cause a few complaints, but stand firm. You want to know every student on the guest list and be certain your teen only invites people on the pre-discussed list. This keeps troublemakers from coming to the party and creating problems.
5. Send Out Invitations. Most top private schools and public schools offer personalized invitations for students to purchase. If this seems too pricey, consider making the invitations together or simply send out electronic cards.
6. Set the Menu. The menu should reflect the location. For example, if you are hosting a gathering in the backyard, you could fire up the grill. If your student wants to rent a hotel ballroom, you can have the event catered.
7. Decorate! Arrive at the venue early and unleash your creative side. Enlist the help of your grad to make the party unique and special. Don’t stick with the old standbys of crepe paper and balloons – branch out by making posters of funny baby pictures and having a guest book or t-shirt for friends to sign. You will be able to find inexpensive decorations at dollar stores or even garage sales.
8. Encourage Your Student to Greet Guests. After all it is the grad’s party! This is a great chance for your student to play host or hostess for the first time. Have the graduate introduce guests who do not know each other, and encourage him or her to make sure everything is running smoothly throughout the night.
9. Take Lots of Photos. Likely, this is one of the last times these friends will all be together, so make sure your child will be able to remember it! You may get a few eye rolls and scowls, but in a few years your grad will thank you.
10. Speaking of Thank You… Don’t let your child forget to send out thank you notes. The graduate should send notes to everyone who helped to plan and execute the party as well as to everyone who brought gifts and to those who attended.
Follow these tips for a graduation party that you and your student will always remember!
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