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Party Planning Tips For New Grads

By Lindsay Amanda on May 14, 2014

cupcake-smallEvery great accomplishment deserves a great celebration. Graduation season creates some of the most memorable moments for us, our friends, family and supporters, so get them all together this season to relish in the feeling of achievement. To help you throw a stellar party without the stress of doing so, here are a few planning tips for new grads.

Set a Theme and Color Scheme

Some of the best parties are planned around a theme that represents something meaningful to the person or people being honored. Graduation themes may be centered on the institution, branding the party with school colors or symbols of a proud mascot, identifying oneself with the prestige and honor of being part of a university community. Chapman University grads for example may prop little panthers around the house or venue for decoration, those from its sister school Brandman may have crimson and gold décor.

Others may be attributed to the future, planning for a big trip after graduation or represent a future career field that a degree has allowed someone to break into. For those who are jet-setting off to Brazil to celebrate with this year’s World Cup winners, a party theme may revolve around a favorite team, the destination itself, the spirit of travel or of course soccer. Our recommendation would be to think hard about what you value most and what the degree represents to you, then set a theme and color scheme that embodies that sentiment.

Dine on a Dime or on a Dollar?

Many business graduates may love this part of the planning process, creating a budget to project the investment, while others may see it as just something that needs to be done. The best advice we can give no matter where you are on the spectrum is to consider this step seriously and realistically. Consider what you are willing or able to spend then plan around that amount moving forward, starting with oftentimes the biggest line item on the financial statement – dining options.

For those with conservative budgets, they may consider a pot-luck type event with a casual and communal celebration as everyone contributes a course entry to the event. Oftentimes these can be some of the best parties and if you don’t have room in your house for your amazingly supportive network, a public park can be a great place for holding the event. It may also cut down on some decorating costs too with the natural beauty of the surroundings filling in for the streamers and balloons.

Some may say that graduation falls into the rare occasion category and are willing to spend a little more on celebrating the event. In these cases, grads or their families can get food catered by their favorite restaurant or local eatery with staff represented on location there to help free up the hands of the hosts. This can definitely reduce some stress factors and allow all members to socialize and commemorate the honored guests.

Invite, e-Vite or Social Share

Once you have an idea of the theme and have crunched the numbers, it’s time to pull out your marketing or advertising hat and send out the invites. Of course there are more than a few ways to do this. Some may elect for the traditional avenue of custom cards or university stamped stationary sent with care through standard mail. Sometimes these hand delivered items can come off as more thoughtful and genuine compared to more modern forms of automatic communication.

This is not always the case however. For those tech-savvy graduates, there are numerous sites out there that allow you to create an electronic invitation, accompanied by a simple RSVP service that allows the recipient to respond with a mouse click or smart phone tap. This definitely streamlines the process and eliminates the need to constantly organize and remember confirmed attendee names that may come in sporadically through text or calls.

Another great electronic option for inviting guests to your party is through your personal or professional Facebook account. The social media giant makes it simple for you to create events directly in the system and invite others to join, which reserves their seat at the party. There are different ways to get to the events section to create an event. Here are a few options:

  • From A Computer – Open Facebook in your browser and visit the newsfeed or home section. On the left side of the screen, a few icons under your mini profile picture, select “Events” which should have a calendar square next to the title. Once you are in the section, click on “+Create Event” in the top right corner under the account management navigation bar and a simple form will pop up for you to fill in all of the details.
  • From Your Mobile Device – Although this may vary depending on your operating system, generally within the mobile app there will be a navigation button that says “More” that you can open and select “Events” to get to the section. Once there, simply select the plus sign and a similar form will pop up where you can fill in all the necessary information.

As any great marketer will say, always consider your audience when selecting channels to communicate messages to them. If your network spends a lot of their time online checking email or connecting through social networks, the e-options may be the way to go. However, if your guests prefer the more personal approach hand written or printed invitations may be the way to go, often coming off as more thoughtful than other options.

Decorate to Celebrate

Selecting the theme and color scheme that was discussed earlier on this post will dictate decorations by a large majority. Here’s a great example for all of those new RN to BSN graduates or future Doctor of Nursing Practice alums from Kara’s Party Ideas:

  • Stethoscope stationary for invites and thanks
  • Cookies made to look like scrubs or red hearts with white crosses on top
  • Doctor cake pops presented on a simple medic truck
  • Use clipboards for small serving trays
  • Small first aid kits can be given out as party favors
  • Make paper nursing hats for everyone to wear

There are so many places to get supplies to decorate your event. For crafty graduates stores like Hobby Lobby and Michaels can help you get started, then there are online sites like Oriental Trading that have favors and more for less. Many of them have seasonal specials just in time for graduation.

Thank Your Supporters

In addition to these party planning tips for new grads, we encourage new alumni members to join in and thank their friends, family and loved ones for all that they have done to contribute to their success. Write a quick speech and share it during the party, part ways with favors, or send personal thank you notes to show your appreciation, these are all great options. Brandman University congratulates all new graduates for their achievements, advises them and their networks to celebrate responsibly, and prosper on their paths to lifelong learning.

Topics: Front Page, Alumni


Author Lindsay Amanda of Brandman University

Lindsay Amanda

As the Marketing Content Manager at Brandman University and graduate of the school's MBA program, Lindsay Amanda is a writer and business professional. She achieved her undergraduate degree in Advertising and Marketing from San Diego State University and studied International Marketing in Barcelona, Spain.

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