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Making A Graduation Party Look Special

Updated on May 2, 2013

It's about that time of year, when our inboxes and mailboxes are stuffed with invitations to graduation parties. Whether it's our friends finishing off that Ph.D., our cousins graduating high school, or our friends' kids graduating preschool, it seems like there are a lot of parties in late spring dedicated to students' achievements. One thing that they all seem to have in common, though, is the somewhat boring decoration scheme. People usually use plastic tablecloths and cheese centerpieces from party stores, and while there's nothing wrong with this altogether, it can get kind of redundant to see, over and over, the "cap and gown" theme.

If you don't want to have a run of the mill graduation party, there are a few ways around that, and one way is to pick table cloths that aren't just black and white plastic with cheesy "Congratulations!" clip art printed on them. Spending a little more time on the décor will set your party apart from the rest. You can also pick an interesting theme—graduation-related or otherwise— and finally, consider having the party in a location other than at your home. Choosing to have the party somewhere else not only means less clean up for you, but that your guests are guaranteed to have a great time.

Decorate With Color

If there's one easy way to spruce up table linens at a graduation party, it's by forgoing the basic black or white plastic tablecloths that you can get at a party supply store and instead using school colors. This gets everyone in the school spirit mood even if they didn't go to that school. If you don't like the way they look together, you can obviously also just pick one—sometimes school have really strange color combinations that, admittedly, aren't the most complementary shades. Using cloth table linens is also better for the environment as they can be reused, and they tend to look nicer at parties, too. If there are kids at the party, save the plastic for the kids table, if you use it at all.

Pick a Unique Theme

One of the major themes of graduation parties is how much the guest of honor is "growing up." With this idea, you can go one of two routes—you can make the theme that particular year, or you can throw back to when the guest of honor was born. This idea of course works better the older the person is, due to shifting fashion and music trends. If you choose the current year, there will be plenty of year-specific decorations available in party stores, or if you decide on the theme early enough, you can get things from a party store on a discount right after the new year begins. If you choose to do a throwback party, though, the options are even more plentiful. For the 1980s, you can use neon rental tablecloths, or for the 90s you can use plaid or darker colors to call to mind the "grunge music" themes of the early 1990s. Whichever decade or year you pick, inform your guests so they know, and make it a costume party. Whoever has the best costume wins a prize!

Location, Location, Location

A lot of people choose to have graduation parties at home, but there are other options for where to hold a graduation party, even if you're on a budget. For example, parks and beaches often don't require rental fees, it's more of a first-come, first-served basis. This works fine if your party is on the smaller side or if you have someone who can go and stakeout a spot early, otherwise it might be a better idea to rent a site at a place that does take reservations to ensure you'll have all the space you need. Regardless, having the event at someplace other than your home means you don't have to worry about as much preparation or clean-up afterward. You can still use linens for rent to add a touch of class to the event, even if it's being held outdoors. You can also hold it on campus if at all possible—though it will be less private, getting everyone together at the school where the person is graduating from can be fun. You could also go an entirely different route and hold, say, a pool party, a bowling party, or any number of other activity-based parties. This keeps people entertained without having to think of party games for home that you might have to buy.

No matter what you decide to do as far as theme or location, graduation parties are a special event because instead of celebrating something that happens every year, like a birthday, you're celebrating a much more infrequent occasion—graduating from various school years is an achievement that truly deserves recognition.


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