7 Ways to Throw an Unforgettable Graduation Party

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The big day is on the horizon—years of blood, sweat and tears are about to pay off. For your graduate, too! In all seriousness, we know that seeing your pride-and-joy march across the stage and grab that diploma is a big moment for you and for your grad. Now, it’s time to party!

Whether you’re throwing a celebration to commemorate the end of high school or college, you’re going to want it to be memorable. Know that it doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive to work with an event planner and host the party at a favorite venue.

Here are our top seven ways to wow your graduate with an unforgettable party:

1. Get the guest of honor involved

You can make your grad feel special from the start by involving him or her in the planning. You’ll want to set guidelines for the guest list and budget, but then listen to his or her ideas for music, games, food and more. And because school’s never really out, this exercise is a great lesson in budget planning and decision making as your graduate (and, you!) selects options.

2. Consider a theme and decorate accordingly

Themes aren’t for everyone, but those who enjoy them really enjoy them. A theme around sports, music, favorite colors—the sky’s the limit—ties everything together, from the invitations to the party favors. Most important, it helps you and your graduate decide on decorations. Does your grad love the Phillies? You can deck the hall with red and white lights, streamers and then match the linens, plus make creative centerpieces with baseballs and mini bats.

3. Remember the music

According to The Gables at Chadds Ford’s banquet manager, Kelly Donahue, “A DJ really ups the fun factor! Your grad can provide the play list ahead of time, but DJs have tons of music available so guests can make requests.” We also recommend choosing softer, low-key music for mealtime, and to keep in mind that the older set many only be able to tolerate a certain amount of “loud” (or, modern) music. Save the cutting-edge tunes for later in the party.

4. Keep the food casual

Consider a buffet or food station rather than a plated meal. Starting with small bites or hors d’oeuvres encourages mingling that carries over into the main meal. Food stations are an easy way to accommodate a wide range of food preferences, too. We find cheesesteaks, pasta and crab cake stations to be popular as they appeal to meat lovers and nonmeat eaters alike. Use your imagination and tie those stations into your theme.

5. Score with “interactive” desserts

Just as buffets or food stations offer something for everyone, so, too, does a dessert bar. Imagine the look on your guests’ faces when they see make-your-own sundaes or decorate-your-own cupcakes. These are simple—just combine ice cream or iced cupcakes with a cornucopia of toppings—fun and delicious.

6. Get out the games

Yes, games are trending, and the more, the merrier! Your grad will know what his or her friends are into, but remember to keep in mind the little ones, too. Cornhole, ring toss and lawn bowling get the competitive juices flowing for kids of all ages. Moms, dads and grandparents can challenge the younger set to old-school horseshoes. At The Gables at Chadds Ford, we have a beautiful outdoor area for lawn games just steps from the indoor party space.

7. Send them away with a little something

Make sure everyone cherishes the memory with a party favor. A photo booth gives guests the chance to pose with the guest of honor—don’t forget the funny props like hats, oversized glasses, boas and more—and leaves them with a freshly printed photo. Yes, printed! You could also hire a photographer or videographer to capture the day’s special moments and then load those images to a private Facebook group. A bag-your-own candy station, frames or magnets decorated with the graduation year and other keepsakes are touching remembrances.

Want to learn more? Our events team would love to hear from you. We’d love to host you and your grad for a visit and show you how to make your graduation celebration one no one will forget.

The Gables at Chadds Ford is nestled in the heart of the historic Brandywine Valley. Our combination of fresh seasonal cuisine, rustic yet elegant charm and enchanting outdoor dining will keep you coming back time and time again. The Gables is also the perfect venue to host your next special event, whether you are planning a wedding, rehearsal dinner, baby shower or corporate event.

Nina Malone