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Planning for an Open House Graduation Party

An open house graduation party is a great way to celebrate a graduation, whether it is from preschool, high school, college, or graduate school. Here are some tips for planning an open house graduation party with regards to judging the crowd size and how to plan for the right amount of food.

  • Invitations: RSVP invitations are a great way to figure out exactly how many guests you can expect. If you do “regret only invitations,” many people just forget to let the host know they can’t make it or last minute they decide that they won’t be able to attend. If guests RSVP, most of the time you can expect that they really will come to the party. An "open house" allows guests to come and go at any time during the event, but it is still acceptable to ask for RSVPs.
  • Food: The easiest way to serve your guests when hosting a graduation open house is with a buffet. It is important to remember that everyone will not eat everything, so have a wide variety of graduation party foods available. It's also important to recognize that with an open house, guests will not all eat at the same time. It's best to serve items that do not need to be heated like cold cuts and various salads (garden, pasta, potato, etc.). As for quantities, assume that each person will eat 3-4 servings of each type of appetizer, 5-6 ounces of meat, handful of vegetables, and one full portion of dessert.
  • Event Date: Many graduation parties occur during the weekend of the actual graduation which means lots of parties on the same day! To avoid overlapping parties, ask a few of your most important guests to find the ideal event date or consider throwing a joint open house graduation party with some of your grad's friends.
  • Attendees: Have a sign in book or photo that guests can sign so that the graduate won’t miss anyone when sending thank you cards! With a graduation open house party, people are constantly coming and going so it can sometimes be hard to keep track of everyone who attended (this is also where collecting RSVPs is helpful)!
  • Supplies: Make sure you have plenty of party supplies, especially plates and cups. The open house atmosphere generally encourages lots of mingling and conversation amongst guests. It's easy for a guest to put down their drink and forget about it -- and you don't want to run out! Coordinate your grad's school colors with the party supplies. You'll add to the party atmosphere while making sure you've got the party supplies covered!
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