graduationA graduation is a big event in a person’s life, and big events deserve a party to commemorate the event. Whether you have a graduation party to celebrate a loved one’s graduation or your own graduation, your to-do list is probably overwhelming. You want this party to be memorable because it’s practically a once-in-a-lifetime event. However, as you scramble to pick a date and choose what food to serve, there are a few important things you might overlook. Take a step back from the party planning and make sure you have these important items on your to-do list.

Get the Home Professionally Cleaned

If you’re planning an indoor party, you already know you need to get your house cleaned. However, cleaning is a good idea even if you’re planning an outdoor party. The sun is shining most days this season and graduation parties simply seem to go hand-in-hand with outdoor barbecues. However, everything might not go according to plan.

It could rain, or the weather could turn too cold to be comfortable, and you might need to move the party indoors. Guests will also need to use the bathroom. Your house is going to be part of the party, even if you plan to spend most of the time outdoors.

You’ve got enough on your plate without spending a day or two cleaning. Hire housekeepers to help you dust surfaces and make bathroom mirrors shine. Schedule professional carpet cleaning at least a couple of days before the big event, and maybe afterward too, for any dirt your guests tracked in. Professionals can do a more thorough job, and are well worth the investment.

Pick the Right Date

The date you pick for the party can play a big role in whether or not many people can come. Even if your graduate is free for a few weeks, consider that many of his relatives and friends still have work during the week and will feel too tired to fully enjoy themselves during a weekday evening celebration. Weekend afternoons are ideal for graduation parties. It allows for the most sunlight, too, if you’re planning an outdoor party.

Also, contact the graduate’s classmates he hopes to invite. They’re probably going to have parties around the same time, so it’s best to head-off any conflict as soon as possible. Avoid dates for other classmates’ parties, or at least schedule the party a few hours earlier or later if a conflict can’t be avoided.

Send Out Invitations Plus Announcements

Graduation announcements almost seem like invitations, and a number of party planners and guests confuse them. However, sending someone an announcement doesn’t automatically mean she’s invited to the party. You may want to share the news about your graduate with everyone, but you may not have the space or budget to host more than a few dozen at the celebration. Send announcements separately from invitations, and be sure to include an RSVP.

Prepare a Game to Play

You might be able to pass the entire celebration eating and catching up with everyone who attends. However, it’s possible that things might get bland after a few hours. Just in case, plan a few group games to play together. You might even have more than one game going at once. Ideas include:

  • Card games
  • Flashlight tag after dusk
  • Any sports game
  • A scavenger hunt around the yard

If you’re not the graduate, make sure the graduate gets a say in what types of games are available. She may even want to offer a video game session inside.

Allow Yourself Time to Relax

Planning a big party is exhausting. Once the party starts, though, you can unwind. The party is happening. You did a great job planning it. Now stop worrying about whether the food is being put out, and if everyone is going to show up. Pull out a chair and engage your guests on the big day, even if you have to add it to your schedule.

A survey indicated the average American household spends $578 on graduation parties and invites 67 people. The budget and size of the party doesn’t quite reach wedding levels, but that’s still no drop in the bucket for most families, especially considering the graduate could make good use of that money during her new life in college or living on her own. Allocate the party budget toward things that will not only make the day better, but will also come in handy once the party is over. If you take the time now to make sure you haven’t left anything important off of your to-do list, your money will be well spent.