Planning a Graduation Open House?

Whether you just had a baby, preparing for parenthood, have a kid in school for the first time, your child is graduating high school or you just completed college. Well then, this is content for you.


This is my son Caleb at his preschool graduation. We go all out to celebrate life moments sometimes. I laugh because you may find that you’ll have a preschool graduation, kindergarten graduation, a graduation as your child enters middle school, a graduation from high school and then a graduation from college. Do you ever wonder why? It’s because we want to celebrate life’s accomplishments. There can be so much speculation on this topic but it comes right down to the fact that we want to teach our children  education is important and we’re proud of what they’ve achieved. I hope that providing you with this information can help you decide what is most important to you when celebrating this particular milestone.



What is involved in a Graduation Party?


Your guest list will determine if your house and yard are big enough to host everyone. If you have to go to another site, like a hall, you may have to spring for a deposit, tables, chairs, decorations and a cleaning fee. Food could be a factor too. Some halls will let you bring in your own food, while others will require you to use their catering. Find out before you sign a contract. You could even consider co-hosting with a close friend or family member to save on venue costs.


You can spend money on custom-made, upscale invitations to make the event seem more special, or send less expensive postcards (Dazzle & Shutterfly are most used). You could also use an online event invitation and RSVP system, such as Evite, Punchbowl or Anyvite.  This will cover all of the invitation issues, and give the invitees an interactive place to post notes and pictures. Best of all, it’s free. Side note: You may find that other graduates tend to not RSVP)


As the host, you’ll have to pay for the food, such as tacos, pulled pork bbq or chicken. as well as salads, sides and desserts. If you hire a caterer, you can pay per person or per piece, depending on your menu.


If your guests are over age 21, you can serve alcohol but you’ll incur legal liabilities if you do this at your home. Check with your insurance company to find out if you need additional insurance. If you bring your own drinks to an off-site commercial venue, you could get charged a fee to compensate for some of their loss of drink sales. If you offer an open bar, you will have no control over your drink costs and won’t know your final expense until after the event.


Entertainment options for graduation parties usually center around music. Your options including playing a mix of mp3s, hiring a DJ, booking a band, or renting a karaoke setup. The cost of any option varies depending on how long you expect the entertainers to perform and their appearance fees.


You may spend an entire child’s life collecting items you want for their party. Some put endless hours of time the months leading up to it so that they can display memories for guests to see.


A full staff can cut down on your workload, even with a home party. You’ll need a party planner, cook or caterer, wait staff and a crew to set things up before the bash and clean up afterward. someone directing parking can maximize the parking spaces and keep guests off your neighbors’ lawns.

These are all things to consider when planning. Other options could include a small intimate party with close friends and family. You can choose to pay or ask guests to pay their own way.


If you consider having an open house here are what some parents have to say about their preparations.

“I’m in no way an expert or claim to be a good planner. I mailed invites for my friends and family and my daughter did facebook invites for her friends. Most people do NOT rsvp! My daughter wanted Qdoba so we did just the chicken and queso from there. I asked my aunt who has parties a lot what to do. I had family members bring other stuff. You never know how many people are coming, you’ll want extra of everything. It gets expensive for tents, tables, chairs and ice cream machines! My daughter’s open house went well and was fun to have ice cream and toppings. I didn’t love doing all this but my daughter wanted it and she’s a great kid. I’m pretty sure my son will want to take a pay off instead. I think people go way too overboard with graduation parties these days. I tried to keep it as simple as possible. I feel the parents must push their graduates to do thank you notes. I’m so surprised at how many don’t do this.”


“Oh man, this is so not my thing & I’ve done it 3 times…mind you I’m frugle & my husband likes to watch our spending…thats not a great mix for a good party. We usually go to our local park, the only disadvantage is you have to be organized with your food & most food prep is at the house. My husband had access to a grill for chicken that can cook over 100 pieces at a time. We do the grilling at the venue. No issues with bathrooms and parking because it’s all there. I have always sent invitations. My invitation list has the following headings: family, friends, teachers, coaches, church friends/youth leaders, parents of your graduates friends & misc when thinking of anyone that played a role at some point in graduates life. We usually display pictures & memorabilia from the 1st 18 years. I suggests going through some of that stuff that helps with the invite list.”


“I ordered invites from shutter fly and dazzle (these are linked above under invites). If you plan ahead a lot of them will offer free cards and you can get some for free. I did ALL of the cooking myself!! I love to do it! I thought of a theme and collected things throughout the whole senior year on clearance. We also used our garage instead of a tent. Hung white sheets all around the walls and I hung white paper lanterns of different sizes from the ceiling. cheap on the oriental trading site.”


Here is what Graduates are saying


“We chose my location at Grand River County Park because my sister had her open house there and we really liked it!! It has a nice kitchen and a good sized air conditioned room with a playground for kids. I invited people through facebook for now, but there will be picture cards as we get closer that I’ll mail out to my family and close family friends. choosing food is hard. I wanted to pick something that I like, as well as a lot of other people so we’re going with pulled pork and pulled chicken from Gordons since you can buy a big amount there. There will be lots of pictures on picture boards, wallet pictures, I want to do something that all the guests can sign or write a note to me on but I haven’t figured out what exactly to do yet. I’m also hoping to have a dessert table as well.”


“I’m probably am going to send out invitations through the mail to school families, church families, and others who dont go to either. We will get food that I like, but that is easy to do in big amounts. Such as a taco bar or stuff like that where there’s individual items that can be filled separately. If that makes sense. Im not sure where we will get it, but because Gordon Food Service has big bulks most likely there. As for fad items all I know is that my mom has a scrapbook that shes hoping to finish and that will be there. Maybe a guest book so I know who to thank for coming. The thought of graduation has scared me. Going out into a bigger world all by myself is unnerving. But even with all my doubts, I know that God will be with me and provide for me. Whenever I think about graduation and what that means, I usually will distract myself with something else. It’s hard to think about for me. But I know I have to, so if I do, I think about how I want to graduate knowing that I have done the best I can. It makes me want to try harder at my school work and get better grades. There is no stopping graduating and moving on in life, so I have to do the best that I can and prepare myself for my future.”



For the month of June I’m offering a one time opportunity to the first 5 2018 Graduates who schedule a session. Click to View the Senior Pricing Guide That’s a $150 off value!


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Some information gathered by The Nest.

A Special thanks to those who participated!

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