Graduation time is upon us. And as more COVID vaccines are administered, gatherings for special occasions such as graduation parties will be held again. With a little creativity and a lot of love, you can plan and throw the perfect graduation party.
Jane Clauss, host of YurView’s Creative Living show, caught up with event planner George Abrams for great ideas and tips to plan the best party ever for your grad.
Check out the video above. Or, we’ve also provided the transcript below for your convenience. (It’s been lightly edited for clarity.)
Jane Clauss (00:06) – Graduation day is here. So it’s time to start celebrating. Lucky for us, event planner George Abrams is here to help us plan and throw the perfect graduation day party. George, I’m excited to talk to you. I graduated eons ago. And I’m assuming that trends have changed since then. So what are you seeing that’s happening today in the world of party planning for graduation?
George Abrams (00:28) – Well, I think we’ve been seeing more and more graduations that are more for multiple graduates at one party. That can be a private party that different families throw together, or there’s also been a lot more graduations that are planned by the schools. It’s kind of a great way to do it because when you focus on the core group of people, split the class, and have perhaps a more elaborate party, as well as not competing with one another for a party.
I know that for me, personally, I just turned 50. You know, I don’t remember a lot of eighth grade graduation parties. And now it’s amazing how many eighth grade graduation parties there are. Some are simple and some are elaborate. It’s just up to the individual.
8th Grade Graduation Party
JC (01:06) – So let’s talk about that. Graduation from eighth grade is sort of like the first real big celebration in your schooling and education. So what are we seeing for this eighth grade graduation?
GA (01:17) – Well, again, that’s another one that we do a lot of group, multiple kids. Oftentimes these kids have been together since elementary school and are possibly going on to different high schools. So it can be kind of a you know, a new beginning. A lot of times we’ll do things that are maybe at a pool, or bowling alley, somewhere that’s off premises, where as the high school’s tend to be more at home.
JC (01:36) – Right? I love that. And so you’ve got some examples here for eighth grade graduation. Kids are younger, they’re still like looking forward to bright futures. They still like candy. And so you’ve got some of these takeaways for the party?
GA (01:50) – Yeah, we did boxes with the child’s name on it. And that was something to take when you left. For a while, we’ve been seeing the trends in candy bars and things like that. What’s important is to keep them active. Do something, which is why a pool party, a bowling party, or something interactive, a DJ’s always great. They’re kind of getting ready to go to their first high school dances. And it’s kind of a fun way that you bring them into it.
High School Graduation
JC (02:15) – As we move on to high school, and we’re graduating from high school, are 18. Kind of a new beginning, you’re an adult now. You’re off on your own. What are we doing for high school graduation?
GA (02:27) – A lot of times our theme can be more about where we’re going. Sometimes kids are leaving. Sometimes they’re going to college. Not every kid goes to college. Sometimes they’re taking a year off and traveling which is kind of a “where in the world” type theme.
We also oftentimes like to maybe do a theme of say a child is going to school. I did one that they’re going off to the Boston College, so we served little miniature lobster rolls. I’ve done ones before where they’re going to school in Philadelphia, and we’ve done little cheese steaks. It’s kind of fun to make that our theme.
As well as if there’s multiple kids, you might do a rivalry – maybe two schools. Maybe one’s going to Michigan, one’s going to Ohio State. One’s going to University of Arizona, one’s going to Arizona state. So that can be kind of a fun theme for décor.
JC (03:10) – And I love this example that you have here. This is sort of attach a little wish for your graduate. And this is great, because they can bring this to college with them.
GA (03:19) – Yeah. And this was something… We always try and do things that, particularly for the home party, stuff that we maybe have. We pulled some photographs off of this photo frame, added these tags. Now people can write a little note. Then later on, this can be put into a photo album or scrapbook and kept forever.
JC (03:36) – As we graduate college. Now, is this a time to throw a party or just send the kids some money? Because you’re done, you’ve got to get a job.
GA (03:43) – Well, I think every family’s different. There are some families that this may be the first graduate you’ve ever had, and then that might be more of a family celebration. Or something that’s multi generational and a big celebration. I also see a trend that a lot of times, you know, we might just go to a nice restaurant, might just have lunch before or dinner after. And I think it’s as different as the individual.
JC (04:02) – I love this idea of giving them a succulent. Because now this is when you’re going to venture off and get your apartment or maybe get an office or cubicle where you can put your own little plant.
GA (04:12) – And I think it’s a nice thing. I like your little saying “help us grow” because it’s sometimes the thing to honor and show our appreciation. There are people that for college, throw their own parties, maybe a thank you to their families and their parents. You know… “I did it. Thank you.”
JC (04:27) – Yeah, because they helped them out. I love that.
3 Party Planning Takeaways
JC (04:29) – Give us the three takeaways that we can use to plan the greatest party ever.
GA (04:33) – 1. Well, I start every party, whenever I’m working with a client on anything with a notepad. And I find out information – who, what, when, where. What did they participate in? What are their goals, where are they going? Where have they been? So that kind of helps me with a theme. Not every party needs a theme. I believe that when there is a theme, I like to go big or go home. Think either do or you don’t.
2. I also cannot stress enough to have a budget. And I’m not saying you have to have exact numbers. But we all have an idea of what our breaking point is. That way, we can be realistic in what we want.
3. But the most important thing with any party is that the host and the guest of honor, enjoy and relax, because a happy host and happy guest of honor makes for happy guests.
JC (05:17) – George, great information. Thank you so much.
GA – Thanks Jane.
JC – Absolutely. For more inspiration and ideas, head to George’s website.