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Graduation Party Basics

Graduation Party Basics

Guest list. Date. Invitations. Tent, Tables, and Chairs. Food. Fun.

Guest List

Start making a list. Family from both sides, don’t forget that favorite uncle. Neighbors, remember that they probably watched your kids grow up also. Family friends. The graduate’s friends. Special teachers, coaches, church friends. You have the hint now start writing up that list. The guest list will be so important in a number of your other decisions so you really need to spend some time and nail it down.


The toughest decision you will have to decide on is what the magical date is for your grad’s party. There are so many different things to consider when choosing your date. Traditionally everyone picks a date that is within a couple weeks from the graduation, ranging from May to July. There has been a real rush towards parties being planned the last weekend in May and the first weekend in June as well as a big increase in parties planned the first three weekends in July. Every graduate wants their party to be the best and biggest and to have all their friends make it to their party. The easiest way to accomplish that is to plan for a late May party or early July party.

Tent, Tables, And Chairs

Now that you have figured out how many people you are going to invite and have done all the mathematical algorithms to figure out the perfect date the next decision is where am I going to have this party. The most obvious option is your own home or backyard. Some choose to have their party at a hall or clubhouse. Some will have their party at a friends or relatives home usually because they have a much larger home or yard. Some plan on having their party in the commons area in their subdivision or at a nearby park or picnic area. The most popular choice by far is having the party at your own home. The problem is your house is too small to hold all the people you want to invite plus the thought of all the wear and tear and mess of having all those people in and out of your home is just too much for you to imagine.

A hall is just way to expensive. The backyard is a great place to have a party but what if it is a warm sunshiny day or what if we get one of those pesky summer showers? You don’t want your guests to be sunburned and sweaty hot uncomfortable one minute and rainy wet the next. Canopies and tents are a great way to provide shade on a sunny day and protection from a summer shower. Tents just create a fun festive atmosphere for you and your guests. Figuring out what size tent you need is easy. A great rule of thumb is that a 20’ by 20’ will generally fit 40 people while a 20’ by 30’ seats 60. There are only a couple different variables to determine. What surface will the tent be placed on (think on grass in the middle of the yard or over a concrete driveway or patio). How many guests do you plan to invite. Will your party be an “open house” event where your guest will come and go through the day or will they be there all at once? Do you prefer round tables under the tent (which take up more space but are preferred) or banquet tables under the tent (which maximize the available space under the tent and are usually cheaper).


Menus can be as simple as a deli tray and snacks or as extravagant as a fully catered party. Some like to fuss over food preparation and enjoy fixing burgers and chicken on the grill others don’t want to be bothered with the work and would rather sit back and enjoy their son or daughters party and have someone else worry about the food.

How to spice up your graduation party

Dress up your tables

Add table covers to dress up your grad party. White is always popular but you can also add colors in either the grads high school or college colors. Add linen skirting to food tables or gift tables for that perfect finished look.

Add an inflatable

Bounce houses are great fun at grad parties. Perfect for the little kids that get dragged to the party and perfect for the graduate and their friends as a way to have fun and burn off a little energy. Want to get really crazy add an obstacle course. Great fun for those that are going through the course and great fun for everyone else to watch!

Can I have this dance?

Over the past five years dance floors have become the must have item at the most popular grad parties. Grads love to show off their dance “skills”. Invite the neighbors because they will be dancing all night long. Don’t forget lighting for those parties that last after dark.

Add some fun food machines

Whether it is a trusted fun food machine such as a popcorn, cotton candy, or Sno-Cone machine, adding a fun food machine is always a big hit at any party. A Sno-Cone on a hot summer day is a great way to make your party special.

Rule of Thumb

Renting a tent for an outdoor party is like buying weather insurance. It’s a simple case of supply and demand. So, remember to rent early! Consider renting side walls to block the sun, rain or wind. Meet with an Event Consultant at Statewide Party Rentals to help make your event stress free and make sure all of your options are discussed.

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