The 5 Biggest High School Graduation Party Mistakes You'll Want to Avoid

Graduation party mistakes
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High school graduation can serve as a stepping stone to further education or it can mark the entrance into the working world. Not matter what your teen’s future aspirations are, high school graduation calls for a major celebration.

Hosting a graduation party is a great way to honor your teen’s transition from one phase of life to the next. Whether you’re planning a simple gathering with a few family members, or a bash that includes the whole neighborhood, here are the five biggest graduation party mistakes you’ll want to avoid:

1. Scheduling the Party at the Wrong Time

The timing of a graduation party can be difficult. If your teen wants to invite friends from school, it’s important to try and avoid scheduling it too close to graduation day. Otherwise, you’ll be competing with a lot of other graduation parties and the teens will have to make tough choices about which parties to attend.

Be mindful of Mother’s Day and Memorial Day as well. Many families have other obligations during those weekends. If necessary, host the party a few weeks after graduation when it’ll be most convenient for people to attend.

2. Not Getting a Clear Number of Expected Guests

While digital invitations may simplify the the party planning, technology also lends itself some graduation party etiquette issues. Many teens invite friends to parties via text message or social media. Sometimes, they even make public announcements like, “Come to my party,” and there’s no way of telling how many people are planning to attend.

It’s important to create a guest list well in advance of the party. Talk to your teen about who should be included and then discuss how you’re going to invite those people. Unless you’re planning for a very informal open house, knowing how many guests you’re expecting can help you be prepared. Request RSVPs and don’t be shy about following up with people who don’t respond.

3. Hosting the Party in an Inadequate Space

Squeezing 50 people into a small living room isn’t a good idea. Neither is expecting your guests to stand outside in the scorching sun. If your home lacks adequate space to host your party, consider an alternative arrangement.

A park with plenty of grass and shade, for example, might serve as an informal party spot. If you’re planning a more intimate gathering, a restaurant banquet room might suffice. No matter what type of graduation party you’re planning to host, make sure your guests are going to be comfortable. 

4. Expecting Guests to Entertain One Another

Graduation parties tend to lend themselves to distinct groups of people – Mom’s family, Dad’s family, teenage friends, and neighbors. Without a little help, those groups may never mingle and it can lead to a bit of an awkward party.

Introduce your guests to one another. Provide opportunities for people to chat and mingle. Consider providing some activities that could get people involved in conversation with one another.

Place digital picture frames on display with slideshows of the graduate with various guests over the years to help spark conversation. Or, invite guests to participate in creating a time capsule. These simple activities can spark interesting conversation among your guests.

5. Food Serving Errors

There are several food serving errors that can make graduation parties a bust. The biggest one is serving food that needs to be eaten at a table without having enough seats. Although barbecues are a great way to serve graduation party guests, it’s really hard to eat corn on the cob and a burger while standing up. If you’re serving food that requires two hands, make sure you have enough seating for everyone.

Another common mistake is leaving the food out too long. Don’t leave perishable food, like salads or sandwiches, out for more than two hours. If you want guests to be able to nibble at their leisure, place small portions out at a time and keep unused food refrigerated.

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