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You're Graduating! Now It's Time to (Safely) Party With These Tips for a Great Grad Event!
Jun 10, 2021
Danah Shuli
contributing writer
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Image source: Wildan Zainul Faki from Pexels
Danah Shuli
contributing writer
It’s that time of year, graduation season is upon us. In my opinion, the graduating class of 2021 should receive a standing ovation for plowing through the challenges of distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no doubt that this school year was grueling, regardless of the grade level, and it was a senior year unlike any other for thousands of graduates.
Let’s plan an epic graduation party to celebrate the champions who made it through this unpredictable school year!
As more individuals get the COVID vaccine and CDC guidelines and restrictions loosen up, we still want to keep everyone’s safety and health at the top of our party planning list to ensure everyone is comfortable. You’ll want to consider this as you plan your graduate’s party.
Before we dive into graduation party specifics, you may find it helpful to read my post on planning the perfect party or event to help you figure out logistics such as budget and creating the perfect menu for yourself and guests.
Location, Location, Location!
With warmer weather in the forecast, outdoor parties are always a great idea. Hosting an outdoor party will also help ensure everyone is comfortable at your gathering. You can refer back to my post on 11 tips for hosting a socially distanced outdoor party that is customizable to any type of celebration.
Image source: Unsplash
Backyard and driveway parties have been a hit during the past year for a more intimate setting. A great way to make your graduate feel extra special in a big way is to have a yard sign to let everyone driving by know how proud you are of your graduate. You can also choose to rent out a shelter at your local park. Keeping it outdoors is also a great option if most of your guests aren’t masking.
Providing masks is still a great idea for those individuals who prefer to keep one on, or if hosting a party outdoors is not an option. Having a “mask decorating” station with themed stickers can turn this into a fun activity. You can also customize masks to your theme for a personal touch.
Theme & Decor
In my opinion, your graduate’s personality should shine, and their graduation party theme should showcase their interests. Whether it’s their favorite movie series, like Star Wars, their intended major or career path, like nursing or education (for high school and college graduates), or a hobby they enjoy like travel, the theme should be whatever showcases the graduate.
A great place to find inspiration for party themes, and all things party for that matter, is Pinterest! These trendy graduation party themes are a great place to start.
Image source: Danah Shuli
If you’re at a loss for themes, one sure-fire (and traditional) winner is to decorate your grad’s party in the colors and regalia of the college or university they will be attending (if that’s their plan). If they plan to take some time off or do something else, think about their interests and hobbies and build from there!
One of my personal favorite graduation party themes is a travel theme. I may be biased, because it was the theme I chose for my husband’s surprise graduation party back in 2015 when he graduated with his MHA and MBA! I threw him a surprise party to celebrate his big accomplishments and highlight his love for travel.
My goal with the decor was fun with a sophisticated twist since this was a Master’s degree graduation party. I centered the decor and color scheme around the world map. I decided to go for simple floral centerpieces with burlap runners and satin table covers.
For the rest of the decor, I went with a custom map cut out banner, travel theme and graduation cap cupcake toppers, and travel theme favor boxes with custom tags. Etsy is a great resource for purchasing specific theme decor items. If you’re feeling crafty and creative, many of your decor pieces can be handmade and crafted to your liking, especially if you own a Cricut machine.
Incorporating a photo booth-inspired situation is another fun way to send your guests off with a memorable keepsake alongside their favors. Depending on your venue and space you may be able to get away with a beautiful natural background in your backyard or park. You may choose to build your own photo booth backdrop frame or make a portable photo booth frame and decorate it according to your theme. Be sure to include fun props for guests to hold or dress up in.
Have an empty guest book, a polaroid camera, pen and washi tape available next to the photobooth for your friends and family to snap memories and write their well wishes and advice to the graduate.
Food & Dessert
Keep your food and dessert options light and simple, especially when hosting an outdoor party. On a warm summer afternoon, I personally find it refreshing to serve fresh fruit kabobs, veggie and hummus cups and a DIY sandwich bar paired with fresh mint lemonade in a dispenser, or your choice of individually packaged drinks. For a vegetarian sandwich option, consider a DIY falafel bar. This falafel sandwich recipe is delicious!
Image source: Danah Shuli
Another great option is to keep your food choices on theme. This will help you narrow down the menu and will add an extra attention to detail your guests will appreciate. You can also choose to have boxed meals for easy serving and good sanitary practices in our post-world. For dessert consider having individually wrapped treats, such as cake pops or cupcakes in a box, if you choose not to serve a main cake.
Congratulations to the graduating class of 2021 from all of us at Haute Hijab! We can’t wait to see all of the amazing things you will accomplish.
Tag us @hautehijab with all of your graduation photos. We'd love to see them!
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