10 years ago

Classes will soon be over and it is time to celebrate the achievement of completing high school and becoming an adult! This is the time before your graduate realizes what college and the “real world” will bring. A graduation party can give them a day to celebrate this great accomplishment with friends and family before their summer filled with college preparation begins.

When planning a graduation party, there are many aspects to think about. Below are my top grad party planning tips to help get you through the preparation so you can enjoy the party. 


  • Location, location, location. Is your house equipped to hold a lot of guests? Is renting a venue a better option? This decision can be a matter of choosing between cost and convenience.
  • Consider what your graduate wants. Ask! This is a party in their honor and they should have some input (within limits of course).


  • A picnic-style brunch or evening dessert reception can help maximize the number of guests available to stop by and celebrate with your graduate. This also gives your graduate a chance to attend his or her friend’s celebrations.
  • Weekends in May and June fill up quickly. Think outside the box and consider having your graduate’s party during “off times”.

Party food:

  • The most common mistake at a graduation party is serving too much. Many graduation parties are going on at the same time. Your guests will more than likely be stopping at several receptions throughout the day. Plan on 25-30% of the guests actually eating if your party is during a “peak” time (Saturday or Sunday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.).
  • Go easy on the cake! Cake is the traditional dessert at a graduation celebration; everyone will be serving it. Think about a small cake with the graduate’s picture and a message of congratulations to show as a centerpiece of sorts to your buffet. Serve mini desserts instead (cupcakes, bars and cookies) and keep the cake for the end when the other items are gone.
  • This is one party you don’t want to miss, so ask for help. Have your party catered and staffed or ask friends/family to help replenish the food and beverages. You should be enjoying yourself. After all, your graduate didn’t get through school alone!
  • Be imaginative…people go to several parties serving the same food. What is your graduate’s favorite food? Is there a way to spin it to a fun buffet theme?
  • If you serve only one beverage, make it bottled water! Figure one bottle of water per guest invited. Add in some canned sodas or punch for an option, but you can’t have too much bottled water. Stock up when it is on sale!
  • Keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Rent chafing dishes or use crock pots to keep food hot. Your refrigerator will fill up quickly. Keep food cold on ice using creative items that you already have…child’s swimming pool, wheel barrow, canoe? These items can easily become a part of your buffet food display. Fill your bathtub with ice to keep back up food cold.

Make this day fun! Your graduate has made you proud and has a bright future ahead. This should be a day to celebrate accomplishments together. You have done the hard work…enjoy yourself. You deserve it!

Kelli Tigges, catering specialist