Graduation Parties

Graduation is approaching and it’s time to celebrate your graduate’s accomplishments. Your graduate can help you decide whether you want to have a large bash or a family cookout and should be involved in all the stages of party planning.

When planning a graduation party, timing is everything. June can often be very busy month for many families, so consider hosting your high school graduation party in May and avoid scheduling your party on Mother’s Day or Memorial Day. Ask your most important guests to check their calendars beforehand to make sure they will be able to be there.

Graduation Party Etiquette

Whether you host a picnic, open house, or formal dinner, it’s important to know who you should invite and the proper way to invite them.     

Graduation Open House

  • An open house is an inclusive “everyone’s invited” party where guests are expected to come and go as they please. 
  • Invitation cards for your open house can either be inserted in your announcements or mailed separately. Send your invitations via first class mail, approximately 14 days prior to the event.

Graduation Party

  • A graduation party is for close friends, acquaintances and special guests.
  • The graduate and the parents should decide together whether to invite children of close friends and relatives. If you choose to invite them, address invitations to Mr. and Mrs. John Doe and Family.
  • In general, it’s best to invite a lot of people. This is a major milestone for the graduate. Don't leave people out. Start with your holiday card list. Add your neighbors, the graduate’s friends, friends’ parents, extended family, favorite teachers or coaches from over the years, coworkers of both the parents and the graduate.
  • Graduation party invitations should be mailed separately from graduation announcements.
  • Remember to give your invited guests the option not to bring a gift by including a line such as “Your presence is gift enough” on the invitation.
  • Make it clear in the invitation whether or not a meal is planned, especially if the party is in the evening.
  • Enclose directions or an easy-to-read map to help guests find your house.
  • Always hand address graduation party invitations.
  • Mail party invitations out early so your guests can reserve time for your special celebration.
  • If you wish to know who is attending, include “RSVP” and your phone number on the invitation. Or you may write “Regrets Only” and your phone number, which indicates only those who cannot attend should call.
  • For helping designing and printing your invitations, check out Jostens Photo Invitations.

Money Saving Tips

A budget isn’t a barrier when it comes to hosting a meaningful graduation celebration. Use these helpful hints to save money and create a memorable graduation party.

  • Consider co-hosting a party.  Perhaps two or three families could go in together and host one large get-together. Joint parties take some coordinating, but sharing in the rental costs, food preparation and expenses will likely be worth it.
  • Consider having your party before the graduation or on a weeknight. You will have a much better chance with caterers and rental companies if you plan a celebration in May instead of June.
  • Limit your menu to snacks that can be frozen or stored for later use.
  • If you prefer to provide a full buffet, keep in mind that most people who host graduation parties often complain that they had too much food left over. Limit the expensive items and stock up on non-perishable items that you can pull out if the food runs out.
  • Ask family and friends to make a food item for the buffet.
  • Share rentals with a friend or neighbor.
  • Share decorations with a friend or neighbor.

Graduate Tributes

Sharing your graduation stories and memories is an important component of any graduation party. Now is the time for graduates and parents to sit down together and start organizing your pictures. Jostens Photo Books are an easy and distinctive way to tell the story of a graduate’s high school experience.

Some graduates have an abundance of awards and trophies they’ve received over the years. Select a few that really represents the graduate. Arrange them in one big display or spread them throughout your home. A continuously playing “video biography” of the graduate from birth through high school set to music is another excellent way to share these memories.