Graduation Party Checklist

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We parents prepare ourselves as our kids head off to kindergarten. Throughout the school years, we plan birthday and classroom parties. And before we know it, we are planning high school graduation parties.

It’s April, about a month before the onset of Grad Season. For some, this is late in planning, and for others, it is early. If you have a 2013 high school grad, I am sure party ideas have already been running through your mind.

However, if you think you want to rent a facility for the graduation party, dates and times might be scarce already. In fact, some popular facilities book almost a year in advance.

Hosting an in-home graduation party is a very popular choice. Someone just asked me a couple of weeks ago, “When is a good time to have a graduation party?” Personally, I feel the best time is whenever works best for you and your family. Things you have to think about include out-of-town family members who may attend, your work schedule, and your graduate’s friends and their party dates. You can also plan the time or day around the type of food you want to serve at the party. For example, you may set the time for the party based on whether you prefer a brunch or a fancy-type dinner.

If you are planning a party at your home, you will need to consider renting a tent, tables and chairs. Remember to order tables from which to serve the food as well. Also, many rental places offer tablecloths that are fitted to the tables; you don’t have to tack or tape them down in the event that it is windy on the day of your party. Nino’s has a relationship with C & N Rentals, which will provide a discount if you mention Nino’s when renting.

When selecting a menu, I always tell parents to seek the graduate’s input. Is your graduate’s favorite meal a brunch or sub sandwiches and salad? At Nino’s, our party planning department, along with our chefs, can help you put together a spread that will surely impress. Consider our Party Package Deals, which offer a variety of popular foods you can order for a party of any size or a la carte items that save you time in the kitchen.

The cake and desserts are additional considerations. You can set up an elaborate dessert station if you desire. Check out your options by viewing our current Party Planning Guide online or stop in and see the Party Planner at your favorite Nino’s. I ordered sheet cakes from Nino’s Bakery Department for my daughter’s graduation party, but there are so many other options from which you can choose. Pies, cookies, and pastry trays are just a few of the additional options to consider.

The newest options in our Bakery leave you with one less stop to make on the day of your party.

There is so much to do and so little time! I have created the checklist below to help you pull it all together.

High School Graduation Checklist

As the season approaches, here are some things to think about and a timeline for your reference:

  • Invitations/thank you cards/return address labels/stamps/save-the-date cards
  • Graduation gift box
  • Tents/tables/chairs/linen rentals
  • Plates, napkins, silverware, cups
  • Sign-in board or book
  • Centerpieces
  • Yard signs/banners/balloons
  • Décor signs for buffet tables
  • Graduation scrapbooks/photo posters/photo boards/slide show
  • Easels for senior pictures
  • Gifts & cards for graduate and friends

6 Months Before Graduation Party – January

  • Select a place and book it (home, restaurant or facility)
  • If home, check for repairs, upgrade paint, etc.
  • Select date, time and duration of party
  • Begin an invite list
  • Look for pictures for picture boards
  • Start assembling scrapbooks and collecting memorabilia
  • Set a budget
  • Decide if you want music/band
  • Reserve tents, tables, chairs and linen if home party
  • Decide what kind of food you would like to serve
  • Contact Nino Salvaggio’s Party Planner

8 – 10 Weeks Before – March/April

  • Order invitations – include RSVP date, order thank you cards
  • Purchase decorations & other supplies
  • Purchase plates, napkins, silverware & cups (double fork count for dessert)
  • Order specialty napkins, etc.
  • Finish guest list and addresses
  • Buy stamps for invitations and thank you cards
  • Make a list of guests from out of town. Make hotel accommodations
  • Purchase graduation cards for graduate and friends
  • Finish scrapbooks & photo boards
  • Call Nino Salvaggio’s to place your beverage order

3-4 weeks Before – May

  • Mail invitations
  • If house party, get lawn and yard ready
  • Prepare house
  • Plan for party outfits
  • Buy batteries for camera
  • Call Nino Salvaggio’s to order your cake & pastries

Week of Party – June

  • Gather coolers, crock pots, etc.
  • Confirm rental equipment and deliveries
  • Shop for last-minute supplies
  • Call Nino Salvaggio’s to order flowers and balloons

Day Before Graduation Party

  • Set up tables & decorate
  • Set out scrapbooks and photo boards (if they are going indoors)
  • Gather coolers and label with products to go inside of them
  • Get trash cans and recyclable containers ready with signs

Day of Graduation Party

  • Pick up cake
  • Pick up flowers and balloons
  • Pick up ice for coolers
  • Put up signs, banners, photo boards
  • Take pets to a neighbor’s house
  • Open the door for Nino Salvaggio’s delivery to bring in food

The Party Planning Department looks forward to helping you create a memorable and stress-free event.

Troy- Annette at (248) 879-9222
Clinton Twp.- Shelly at (586)412-6000
St. Clair Shores- Chef Jimmy at (586)778-3650

Have any of your own tips for planning a graduation party? Share them with me in the comments below!