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7 Tips for a Less Stressful Graduation Party {and a Free Planner}

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7 Tips for a Less Stressful Graduation Party

Graduation party planning can be very stressful. Here are 7 tips for a less stressful graduation party.

Believe it or not, but Lenny and I do not have a child graduating this year. We have a nephew and plenty of friends who have children that are graduating, but our children have all graduated high school. Now, we move on to the grandchildren. But, as I was thinking about all the graduation parties we’ve held throughout the years, I thought it might be nice to share with you my seven tips for a less stressful graduation party.

Keeping your party simple will make the event less stressful and more enjoyable for you and your guests. Lenny and I have hosted seven high school graduation parties and attended probably ten times that many graduation parties for family and friends. Trust me, party planning of any kind can be stressful. The parties that are the least stressful are the ones that are simple and flexible.

7 Tips for a Less Stressful Graduation Party with a Graduation Party Planning Checklist from The Birch Cottage

7 Tips for a Less Stressful Graduation Party

1. Focus on your child.

The graduation party is about your child’s accomplishment. It’s not about keeping up with the Joneses or impressing Aunt Susie. It’s an opportunity for friends and family to share in this milestone of your child. Refocusing your priorities to a simple and enjoyable day, and worrying less about what other parents think, can immediately reduce stress. Plan your graduation party around the interests of your child and involve the child in the party preparation.

2. Plan ahead.

It should not come as a surprise that your child is graduating in the Spring. Start brainstorming, sending out invitations and planning as far ahead of time as practical. Waiting until the last minute to plan sets the stage for the whole event to feel rushed and creates more stress.

3. Make a checklist.

Write down everything from mailing invitations, grocery shopping, checking RSVPs to blowing up the balloons. Not only does it feel really good to check off to-dos, but it’s the only way to know for sure what still needs to be done.

4. Enlist help.

I can’t stress this enough (get it, “stress”) how important it is to ask for and accept help. If you’re anything like me, you just think you can handle it all. But, if you want to enjoy the party, mingle with guests and not be totally stressed out, you’ll enlist and accept help. Involve your child as much as possible and if Aunt Susie offers to help, let her.

5. Keep the menu simple.

Make one or two items yourself (if you must) and cater or purchase the rest. Try a taco bar or candy bar or at the very least, dishes that can be prepared ahead and easily heated up. Dishes like meatballs that you can buy frozen, cook in a crock pot and serve with hot dog buns on the side are a great idea.

6. Prepare ahead.

Prepare as much as you can ahead of time – desserts, appetizers, decorations. Anything that you can do ahead of the graduation party day, will make your job as host so much less stressful. Are there any dishes you can prepare ahead of time and freeze? Party favor bags that you can have the kids help put together? House cleaning that you can delegate? Just try not to put anything off until the last minute that you can prepare ahead of time.

7. Take a deep breath.

Seriously. Take a deep breath and try not to sweat the small stuff. Remember, this day is about celebrating your child’s accomplishment. Keep the focus on your child, plan ahead, make a checklist, enlist help, keep the menu simple and prepare as much ahead of time as possible. You got this!
There is so much more I could say about graduation parties, but the key to enjoying the day truly is keeping it simple, planning, delegating and preparing as much as you can ahead of time. Keep these 7 tips for a less stressful graduation party in mind and you’ll have more time to mingle, enjoy your child’s big day and spend a lot less time stressing over the details.


We’ve hosted graduation parties in our home and rented venues like the shelter house at a local park or a club house. We’ve also had parties with elaborate and time-consuming entrees, but the parties I remember and enjoyed the most have been the ones that were planned well in advance, organized, self-serve and where I was able to be behind the camera capturing all those moments. We’ve certainly had our share of parties where Lenny and I were busy the whole time manning the grill and playing caterer that we just didn’t have time to participate in the party and enjoy the event. So, do yourself a favor, keep it simple, plan ahead, make a checklist, enlist help, keep the menu simple, and prepare as much ahead of time as possible – and, I almost forgot – take a deep breath!

7 Tips for a Less Stressful Graduation Party with a Graduation Party Planning Checklist from The Birch Cottage

I created this Graduation Party Planning Checklist to help you get started with your graduation party planning. It really will make a big difference in your stress level if you plan ahead. You can download this free printable by clicking on the image above or clicking here. You will be taken to Box where you’ll have access to download the printable.

By the way, if you’re looking for graduation party ideas, be sure to check out my {I D E A S} Graduation board on Pinterest. I’ve gathered lots of ideas, games, decorations and food for all your graduation party planning inspiration! You can visit it by clicking here!

Til next time…

Pam from The Birch Cottage

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