Graduation is a big deal: whether it’s high school or college, it will be one of the most meaningful moments of your child’s life. It’s definitely important to plan a big celebration, but that’s hard to do, especially with time and budget restraints. Having multiple kids makes it even more difficult. But party planning doesn’t have to be stressful! If you start early and do a little each week, an amazing soiree will unfold before your eyes. It won’t feel like you dropped a ton of money at once, and you won’t be running around like crazy trying to throw everything together at the last minute. Once you have your timeline figured out check out these 10 inexpensive graduation party ideas.
Check out our Graduation Party Planning Timeline
Follow this party planning timeline to make sure your kid gets the celebration they deserve!
10-12 Weeks Before Graduation
If you haven’t already ordered your child’s cap and gown and turned all their paperwork in, definitely try to complete those tasks now. The other thing you want to make sure gets done during these two weeks is ordering and sending out graduation announcements.This might not seem like an essential part of the process, but if you have family or friends who live far away and won’t be able to attend the actual commencement, they will cherish a token of this moment in their loved one’s life.
In recent years it’s become more popular to go with booklet-type graduation announcements that have room to describe your child’s interests, journey, and future plans. However, any kind of announcement, even a homemade one, will be a precious memento and make even those far away feeling like they’re a part of the big day!
9 Weeks Before Graduation
This week, all you really need to do is have a chat with your graduate. Find out what kind of celebration they’d like, what they’d be comfortable with, and what is realistic. There are so many fun graduation party ideas out there, you’ll want to look into everything now so you don’t get overwhelmed later. You don’t have to draw up any specific plans, but make sure you leave with a good idea of what kind of party you’ll be throwing. Even if it’s a simple backyard BBQ, it’s never too early to start planning. After all, this should be the most special BBQ ever!
8 Weeks Before Graduation
If you are planning on using any sort of customized or pre-booked service (caterer, specialty cake, entertainer, etc.) you’ll want to research your options this week and get it booked. Same goes if you are utilizing a venue that needs to be booked. Graduation season coincides with wedding season, so the sooner the better.
This advice applies even if you are just planning on having a friend or family member help (aunt bakes a cake, pool party at grandma’s, etc.) Even though those closest to you will always be happy to help, it is polite and respectful to ask them and solidify a commitment well in advance. The other reason to book early with everyone is that if you wait, and your loved one has plans that won’t allow them to help even if they want to, you’ll be stuck trying to book something scarce at the last minute.
7 Weeks Before Graduation
Time to think about the fun stuff: decorations, games, activities. Look around at local and online vendors and purchase what you need now. Even if you order online and things are out of stock, you should be set for them to arrive on time. An added bonus for graduates still living at home: seeing party supplies at home will get them excited and maybe even encourage them to study a little harder for those last few weeks!
Pro tip: if you are planning on using paper plates, plastic utensils, or party favors, it might be best to wait on purchasing those until you’ve had some RSVPs and have a better idea of the headcount. Scope out your supplier now so you can make sure everything coordinates, but don’t get stuck with too much or too little at the last minute.
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