It’s almost here! Graduation: that big day, that big diploma, noble degree. That victory that you have worked so hard to achieve. This day definitely deserves a huge celebration. Not only have you earned it, but I promise, your family and friends want to be there to celebrate this momentous occasion with you.
But, you’ve still got to focus hard on studying. You’re not out of the woods yet, and there’s no point spending all your time planning a party if you don’t study hard enough to actually make it to the ceremony. So, how do you balance hitting the books hard with planning the celebration of the century? Simple! Start early, and follow this guide so you only have to do a little each week. By the time the big day comes, the party will practically throw itself.
7-8 Weeks Before Graduation
It’s definitely time to start thinking about your graduation party. During this two week period, you only need to get a few things done. First, make a guest list so you have a rough idea of how many people will be attending. I know you’re super pressed for time, so ask your family for help. You can handle the friends part of the list, and ask your parents, grandparents, or aunts and uncles to prepare a list for their side of the family. Then get together (or share a spreadsheet over email) and compile them all into one list. You’ll also want to reach out and ask for everyone’s addresses. Don’t skip this step… you’ll thank me later. Facebook, Twitter, and email are great tools to get the majority of this done, but you may have to make a few phone calls. Again, your family will probably be willing to help with that step.
Last thing to get done is secure a venue. If you don’t need anything larger than your home, great! If you do, and you don’t have money to rent out some space, you probably have a friend or family member with a large backyard or a church or social club that would be willing to host you. Even if you’re going with a loved one’s home for your celebration, it’s important to reach out early and secure arrangements so no hassles pop up last minute.
5-6 Weeks Before Graduation
First thing to get done is plan, plan, plan. What kind of party do you want? Classy cocktails, backyard BBQ, Star Wars themed? Whatever it is, figure it out, then spend some of your study break perusing the internet for awesome party ideas. This may be something that happens over the course of a week or two, but by the end of this period, you definitely want to have your theme and any activities or entertainment figured out. You deserve a big event, but remember to keep it realistic and stay within your budget. Pro tip: either plan a potluck party, or ask several of your closest friends and relatives to each prepare a dish for the party. The last thing you want to worry about on the big day is rushing around the kitchen to get everything done in time.
The only other thing to worry about right now is ordering invitations. You just don’t have the time to DIY all those invites, especially if your celebration is going to be big. Unless you have separate guest lists for the commencement and the party, make things easier on yourself by using one invitation for both. You could buy cards at your local dollar store, but it will mean a lot to your loved ones (especially if they live far away and can’t attend) if you send out something a little more personal. Something with some pictures or a little bit of information about your journey and your future plans. It will make them feel like they are part of your big day, even if they’re celebrating from another state or country. Personalized cards can be very time consuming, but there are online services that make customizing graduation invitations quick, easy, and affordable.
4 Weeks Before Graduation
It’s getting really close, and you need to keep up on all that school work! All I want you to do this week is mail out your invitations. For parties like this, 3 to 3/12 weeks is the optimum time for guests to receive notice, so if you mail them out by the end of the week, you should hit that mark.
3 Weeks Before Graduation
This week is going to be fun! You need a little break from all that hard work, so let’s go shopping! Shopping for all of the decorations, utensils, and game/activity supplies you’ll need for your party. If you shop locally, you’ll have a pile of awesome party supplies lying around to motivate you to keep studying. If you shop online, you’ll still have time for everything to arrive before the shindig.
2 Weeks Before Graduation
All you need to worry about this week is food. Which won’t take much time, because everyone is helping with the food, right? If it’s a potluck, just plan out the one dish you’ll be providing, and any beverages or snacks or favors. If everyone is handling everything, then I guess kick back and relax. If not, figure out whatever you’ll be providing and make a shopping list of everything you’ll need.
1 Week before Graduation
At the beginning of the week, call and double check that anyone who is helping you with anything for the party is still on board and on track. At the end of the week, go grocery shopping for everything on that grocery list you made last week. And most importantly: get through finals week alive. Remember to stay organized, give yourself a break when you need it, and try to get as much sleep as humanly possible (your body will thank you later!). It may seem bleak at times, but you can do it!
The Big Day
It’s here, you made it! Now it’s time to party like a rockstar. You want to have a good time, so the best thing you can do is ask for help. Kids love to help with decorations, and your good friends would be glad to show up early to keep you from running around like a chicken with your head cut off. Just remember to stay calm and relaxed. Everyone is here to celebrate your wonderful accomplishment, so relish every moment that you can. Congratulations, grad.
Written by: AJ Earley