Whether it's from high school, college, or grad school, graduation is an exciting time and should be celebrated. Your family may choose this occasion to gather friends and loved ones to toast the successful student. And you should. After all, earning a diploma at any age is an accomplishment. Planning a graduation party can be stressful, however, and the pressure of trying to pull off the perfect event can detract from the joy of the occasion. Here are five tips for arranging a successful party without burdening yourself with too much stress.
1. Arrange for Catering
Let's face it, no matter how much you love to cook, it can be costly and time-consuming to cook for a large group of people. Graduation parties are often held over a period of several hours in an open-house style. Trying to keep food savory while maintaining the correct temperature over a wider time span takes a significant amount of forethought and constant coordination throughout the event. You may have to store and refresh ice throughout the time frame while also maintaining heat sources for warm dishes.
One of the easiest ways to lower the stress of graduation party planning is to hire a caterer. To start, check on a local restaurant that offers catering service and has great online reviews, to see what they offer. For example, if you're looking for catering service in West Hollywood area, check out Fresh Corn Grill. They have great reviews on Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Doordash, UberEats, etc. If you're convinced you can't afford it, try calculating exactly how much the food would cost to purchase and then factor in the amount of time you'll spend preparing, cooking, and either serving or maintaining a buffet. The dollars and hours will add up quickly and you will likely find that the catering bill seems quite reasonable when you consider the amount of stress relief it will create.
2. Rent a Space
Besides food, one of the largest burdens before any party hosted at your own home is cleaning beforehand. If the party will be held indoors, you'll feel as if you need to clean every corner of the house as guests may wander. If you want to have the party outside, you'll likely feel compelled to clean just as much inside while also tending to any landscaping and lawn care necessary to make the space ready.
Thankfully, most communities offer spaces to rent for private parties. Whether it's the back room of a large restaurant or a banquet hall designed specifically to host events, you will likely have several options to choose from. Many spaces offer kitchens for your caterers to use. All you have to worry about is decorating the space and tables however you prefer. Be sure to ask if they have decorations on hand that you can use.
3. Delegate the Photography
Everyone at the party will have a phone which means everyone will have a camera. Instead of worrying about capturing each shot yourself, delegate a few trustworthy people to catch the most important moments. Then create a social media page or share a cloud location where everyone can save their pictures. By delegating this task, you relieve yourself of the pressure of taking pictures, and you can focus on participating in the celebration.
If you really want a professional feel to the pictures, consider seeking out a budding photographer or a local start-up that is trying to earn a reputation. By recruiting relative newcomers, you can enjoy professional work at a lower cost. In addition, you help to support local talents trying to make a name for themselves.
4. Keep it Casual
In most cases, formal events are trickier to plan and more stressful to manage. Keeping an affair light and casual lowers the pressure surrounding the function for planners and party-goers alike. Before putting a black-tie event on the calendar, consider the advantages of a less formal gathering.
Casual parties cost less. The food and decorations are less extravagant for an informal affair and the venue will likely cost less to rent. Casual parties can also be creative. If you decide to forgo the cloth napkins and fancy stemware, you allow yourself a wealth of opportunities to explore different themes and styles for your event.
Finally, casual parties are comfortable. Even if people are used to dining regularly on fine china, they will likely appreciate the opportunity to don a comfortable outfit while enjoying a nice buffet. Casual outings can encourage more interaction between guests and foster a sense of fun that more formal options may not
5. Don't Strive for Perfection
Regardless of the type of graduation party you decide to host, aiming for perfection will likely lead to disappointment. Remember that the overreaching goal of this planning and coordination is to create an environment where folks can gather to celebrate someone's accomplishment. The goal is not for you or your family to pull off the perfect event. Plan a party that you are able to coordinate with the amount of time and budget available. And prepare to have a few things go wrong along the way.
There's no doubt that graduation season is an exciting time. But if you have a family member graduating, it can also be a stressful time. When planning the party, consider paying a little more for catering or venue rental to alleviate your workload. Be sure to enlist friends and family to help along the way, and keep in mind that the more casual the affair, the less stress and cost you will likely incur. And remember that it doesn't have to be a perfect party. It only has to bring people together in the spirit of celebration.