Graduation is just around the corner for thousands of students – from kindergarten to high school to college – and parents everywhere are feeling the pressure to throw the perfect graduation party to commemorate the occasion. I am still one year away from the momentous marking of high school graduation for my oldest, but I already feel the occasional rise of panic in my chest. I’m planting more perennials in my garden so it is filled with fresh blooms next spring, and considering menu options for the day. Yep – I’ll be completely insane this time next year.
Unique Graduation Party Ideas
So my early scouting has uncovered some great graduation party ideas (and I’m counting on all of you to test them for me and let me know which works best!).
Rent a Tour Boat
If your teen wants to opt for a smaller gathering of close family and friends, find a riverboat you can rent for a few hours. Some serve complete meals and others offer snacks and beverages, or you can search for one that lets you plan and supply your own foods and drinks. Cast off for a few hours to celebrate graduation on the water.
Destination Graduation Party
Maybe your graduate wants a smaller, more intimate setting to celebrate the milestone of high school graduation. Take a family vacation, send your graduate on a special trip, or even invite guests to a local attraction like an arboretum, zoo, or even a park that has special meaning for your child. A destination celebration can take the spotlight off of the graduate and still help create wonderful memories.
By the time July rolls around graduation party attendees have had their fill of ham sandwiches and seen their fair share of baby photo boards. Try a new twist on your graduation party with one of the following ideas:
Hawaiian Luau – Provide leis for guests, have a hog roast, and set up some tiki torches around the perimeter.
College Theme – If your graduate has already chosen a college, decorate with the colors and emblems of the university.
Career Theme – Maybe your graduate is joining the military or planning to study nursing. Use these career plans as inspiration to decorate for the party.
Time Capsule – Have guests write a note to the graduate when they arrive and add it to a time capsule. This capsule can be opened at college graduation, in 5 or 10 years, or another future date.
Graduation Party Supplies
Your child’s graduation from high school is a momentous occasion, and making the plans to commemorate the milestone can seem overwhelming. There are a few easy, small things that can help add the right touch to the special day.
Photography – Even though you have just spent 2 weeks combing through baby pictures for a bulletin board, your photography job is not complete. Ask a few photography loving friends to help capture the graduation party memories by acting as paparazzi for the day.
Videography – Have a tripod and video camera ready, inviting guests to leave recorded messages for the graduate to watch when she’s homesick after her first month away.
Music – Consider light background music to have at the party. It can put people at ease (including you!).
Games – If you’re planning a backyard graduation party, don’t forget the lawn games. Ladder ball, croquet, bocce ball, and even a basket of Frisbees, bubbles, and foam footballs can help guests feel in the party mood. Young kids (and their parents) will appreciate the activities and the opportunities to avoid sitting and smiling nicely while the adults talk.
Backup Plan – If you are planning an outdoor party, make sure you have a backup plan for weather emergencies. Renting a tent ahead of time is a good idea, and it can be used as shade if not for rain.
Thank You Notes – After the party don’t forget the thank you notes (but make sure they come from your graduating teen). If your graduate is moving out, either to college or an apartment, have him send his new address information along with the thank you note.
Yes – I’m planning ahead in a compulsive manner – even watching the sales for all of the graduation paraphernalia that will be going on sale soon so I can stock up for next year. These milestones of graduation are important for us as parents, too. They mark the time in our lives when we can maybe breathe a little easier, knowing we have survived the first major journey of parenting. Come to think of it, parents should throw themselves a graduation party – good thing I can start planning now!