Tis the season for high school and college graduations, along with the celebratory parties that make the event memorable. While graduations can and should be a time of joy and accomplishment, they can also create stress and anxiety, as graduates and their families prepare for a life changing experience and the next chapters in their lives. But never fear – here are some stress reducing tips that can help you pull off a great graduation party without stressing out!

KISS (Keep it Simple, Smarty!) All you really need for a great graduation party is good food, a good venue, some fun activities and family/friends to share the occasion. Get this right, and everything else will fall in place.

Food: Struggling with a menu? Think about what your grad loves most and build a food table based around her or his favorites. It could be as simple as a pizza buffet, sub sandwiches or burgers and fries. One of my nephews was a breakfast fanatic, so his graduation party spread featured pancakes, eggs and pastries!

Location: The best way to reduce stress/anxiety for graduation parties is to have it somewhere other than your home. Yes, there are people who do this, and do it very well. But many of us find that hosting an important party at our home reveals all the little flaws that we’ve been meaning to fix. If you have to replace your carpet, finish that crown molding or replace that noisy appliance before the party, you’re just adding more stress to the process. Selecting a cool, indoor venue that eliminates weather concerns can keep your party stress to a minimum.

Have fun! Beyond the food and the company, consider a few ideas to keep everyone engaged and entertained. It starts with good tunes provided by a DJ, live band (perhaps your graduate’s favorite local?) or an extended playlist that you or the graduate create for the party. Here’s an eclectic Graduation Song Playlist that you can use for inspiration.

Other ideas may include game stations such as corn-hole, twister, hacky-sack, or other activities that your graduate enjoys. How about a photo station with a fun backdrop and plenty of photo props? This is almost guaranteed to be a party highlight, as your guests will love taking photos and videos to post on their favorite SM channels. Cap the night off with some festive party favors to commemorate the big day. Here’s some simple ideas from Pinterest to get you started.

Team Up: You don’t have to go it alone. Especially for high school graduations, you may want to team up with parents of your graduate’s best friends and host a single party for multiple graduates. It’s a great way to share the load and cost of the event. To truly streamline the process, reach out to expert event planners and let them help you create a lasting memory for you and your guests. Here at The McGinnity Room, we will do everything possible to make your graduation party an event to remember for years to come!

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