How to Plan a Graduation Open House

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If it's that time to celebrate the graduation of someone in your family, then it is time to plan an open house in their honor. Planning can be easy if you do just that make a plan.

  • First you need to determine where you will hold the graduation open house. Consider that the weather may not be in your favor and you will want an indoor plan if the weather indeed ends up being poor.

  • Set the date and time. This may also play a role in the location you have chosen. Typically open houses are held on a Saturday or Sunday. Shoot for early afternoon so guest have plenty of time to get there and plenty of time left in their evening.

  • Once you have a location and date chosen, you will want to get to work on your invitations. Make a list of the guests you want to attend. This list will be important later as well so hold on to it. Get suggestions from your graduate on whom they would like to invite. Next to each family you will send and invite to, make a note of how many people may come in that group.

  • Make your own invitations to save money. Open house invites can be printed on a one page card. Use a fancier font and center it. Include the graduate the time and place of the open house. Use a separate sheet to include a map if needed. Your invite could read something like this

                     Please join us as we celebrate the
    Graduation of
    Name of graduate
    From Place of School or University
    An open house will be held
    In their honor
    On Full Date
    time
    At Location
    Address of location
    city, state

    Invitations should be sent out 6-4 weeks prior to the date of the open house to ensure your guest have plenty of notice.

  • Next you will want to plan what food and beverage you will be serving. Finger foods work best for an open house, especially if there will not be enough table settings for everyone to sit down to eat. Take your guest list that you made for your invitations and count the number of possible guest that could attend. Plan that 20% may not show. Make a list of food and paper products you will need. Begin watching for your food items to go on sale or look for the best place to get your perishable items at the best price when it is time to purchase them. Plan to prepare enough servings for your guest based on 80% of how many you invited. A graduation cake is a tradition. You may want to begin to shop around or recruit someone to make a cake for you. Also plan on what you will need for serving trays of serving bowls. Begin to ask family and friends if you can borrow theirs if you do not have enough.

  • Once you have the location set and the menu planned, you will want to consider the set up of the location. Will you need to rent or borrow seating? If you are doing it at your home, you will want to make a list of things that need to be done or taken care of prior to the open house. Remove unneeded furniture or items you would not want broke.

  • Keep decorations simple. Maybe a few balloons. Make a display of your graduate and their accomplishments in school. This could include sport awards or academic achievements. Guest love to see pictures and you could use a recent year book. Their diploma is also a nice touch and use their graduation cap and tassel on your display. You could also include what the graduate plans to do with their future.

  • Plan for a gift and card area. Your graduate will not be able to open these as they come. Money is a very typical gift to give to graduate, so be sure you have someone in charge of supervising the cards and gifts as they come in.

  • Recruit a family member or friend to help with refilling food trays and gathering trash as it needs it. Guests want to be social, so make yourself available to socialize back.

  • Plan ahead your clean up and who might be available to help put the location you choose back the way it was.

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