Graduation is a time of great excitement for both the honoree and their family. It is also the perfect occasion for a party, and a chance to celebrate the end of one stage of life and the beginning of another. But planning the perfect graduation party takes time, thought and a good deal of preparation. There are guest lists to compile, schedules to coordinate and menus to design. You will also need to choose a location for your party, arrange for decorations and find a suitable caterer. It can seem like a daunting list of tasks, but with thoughtful planning you can create a celebration that the graduate will remember for years to come.
Starting With the Basics
Planning any celebration begins with a few basic decisions. First, and foremost, how many guests will be attending your graduation party? Will you be inviting only family members, or will you be including friends and fellow students in the celebrations? The number of guests will greatly impact all of your subsequent plans, so it is best to settle on a guest list early.
Once you have settled on a guest list, you will be better able to decide on a budget for your celebration. Your budget should include the costs of renting a venue and hiring a caterer and staff. It will also need to include invitations, decorations and entertainment. By setting firm budgetary restrictions, you can avoid having the costs of your celebration balloon out of control.
Choosing a Venue
Once you have your guest list and budget in hand, it is time to begin searching for a suitable venue for your graduation party. The first consideration when choosing a venue is location. If you have friends and family coming in from out of town, you may want to choose a venue that is centrally located to airports and hotels. It is more convenient for your out of town guests, and will cut down on their need to navigate through an unfamiliar city. Choosing a venue that is located to these major landmarks also makes it easier for your local guests who, though from the area, may not be familiar with the venue you have chosen.
When considering a rental hall or event space, it is important to visit the establishment in person. You will want to take a short tour of the facilities, making a note of available parking, restroom facilities and handicap access points. Most event spaces will be able to offer you a choice of rooms for your celebration, and you will want to get a good look at what you have to choose from before finalizing any bookings. The size of your party will likely dictate the rental space you choose, as will the ease with which the room can be modified and decorated for a graduation party.
Before booking an event space for your party, you will want to coordinate available dates with the rental service. Graduation time brings a flurry of parties, and you may need to be flexible with your schedule in order to secure the venue you want. Booking early will increase your chances of securing the venue you want on the date you desire.
On Premises Catering
The choice of caterer for your party will be determined by your budget. In many cases the venue you have chosen will be able to provide their own on premise catering service. Using this service is not only more convenient, but it can help to keep costs under control. The on-site caterer should be able to suggest a variety of menu options for your party, from a breakfast buffet to a formal sit down dinner. Ask the caterer for a tasting menu, so you can sample an assortment of dishes before you and the caterer decide on the final menu. During this process, you can also consult with the chef concerning any guests with dietary restrictions that need to be addressed. If you decide on a formal dinner for your celebration, you will also want to be sure that the catering service is prepared to provide waitstaff for table side service.
With the venue booked, and the catering staff in place, all that is left for you to do is arrange for the decorations and send out the invitations. By planning early, and depending on the expertise of the venue’s staff and catering service, you can rest assured that your graduate’s big day will be remembered by family and friends for years to come.