Planning & Budget

The ultimate graduation party checklist

Table set with graduation decor and a to do list.

If there’s a graduation party in your not-so-distant future (we know, we know…you can’t believe it’s time for that already!), then you’ve come to the right place! Your graduate worked hard to get that diploma, so you know they deserve a grad party that truly celebrates their major academic achievement. But, where to start when it comes to planning an epic graduation party?

Well, we’ve done the homework, so we’re ready to help you with this assignment! Our complete graduation party planning checklist is the easiest (and most stress-free) syllabus you’ll ever encounter. You can even download and print it!

When should you have a graduation party?

Graduation parties are typically held a few days after the graduation ceremony, though you can also hold them weeks later (it’s a busy season for parties, after all). Graduation parties generally run as long as most parties (2–4 hours) though some graduates now will celebrate with their families during the day and have post-party parties with their friends later at night. Many families opt for graduation open houses to allow guests to come and go as they please. 

Should I follow this timeline exactly?

Every party is different, so no! This graduation party checklist is designed to cover the most common timeline for graduation party planning and an extensive but by no means exhaustive list of to-dos. If something doesn’t fit with your plans, adjust it to suit YOUR party! 

The ultimate graduation party checklist

6 weeks before the party

  • Pick a theme
  • Choose your co-host(s)
  • Create a guest list
  • Find a photo of the graduate to include in your invitation (optional)
  • Choose the party date and time
  • Determine and reserve your venue

1 month before the party

  • Create and send invitations if you haven’t already
  • Choose your food and beverages
  • Plan any games and activities you want to have
  • Start planning your decor
  • Create a slideshow, banner and/or poster of your graduate
  • Order your desserts (cake, cupcakes, cookies, donuts, candy)
  • Order personalized/customized decor
  • Book vendors or professional services

2 weeks before the party

  • Create a playlist of music
  • Ensure you have all the electrical equipment you need (speakers, cords, lighting, etc.)
  • Follow up on RSVPs for a final guest count
  • Purchase favors for guests (gifts, cookies)

1 week before the party

  • Confirm vendors and professional services
  • Prepare any food that can be frozen and reheated
  • Get any extra chairs, tables, umbrellas or tents you need
  • Send reminders to helpers and co-hosts 
  • Check the weather forecast and create a plan b if needed

2 days before the party

  • Wash and prep everything you’re planning to use
  • Clean the house and get your backyard ready (if holding the party at a house)
  • Make sure you’re well-stocked on supplies like toilet paper and paper towels
  • Prepare any non-perishables
  • Set up decorations
  • Get ice
  • Double-check that you have all the serveware and dinnerware you need

Day of the party

  • Prepare the food and drinks
  • Set up any remaining decorations
  • Set up the achievements and graduation gifts table
  • Set up games and activities
  • Turn on the music
  • Put the dinnerware, glassware and napkins out
  • Put the room temperature snacks out (chips, pretzels, cookies, etc.)
  • Put the cold food and drinks out right before or once guests begin to arrive
  • Put the hot food out into the chafing dishes 
  • Make sure everyone gets a party favor 
  • Take plenty of pictures (pro tip: designate someone to take photos for you!)

After the party

  • The guest of honor should send thank you cards out to everyone who attended within 2 weeks (especially if they brought a gift or gave to a college fund) 

Can’t remember it all? Click the graduation checklist below to easily download or print a copy!

Printable copy of the graduation checklist written out above.

Are you ready to start planning a graduation party for your A+ grad? Evite’s collection of celebratory graduation party invitations offers free and easy RSVP tracking, the ability to include up to three registries or a college fund right in your event details, and delivery via text, email and shareable link! If you’re really looking to get bonus points from your grad’s guests, our Premium graduation invitations come with customizable envelopes, backgrounds, stickers and more. Consider sending a graduation announcement to family and friends before or after the graduation commencement, too! Have more questions about hosting the coolest grad party ever? Check out our expert tips for planning a graduation party!

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What is a signup sheet?

Signup sheets are the perfect way to streamline scheduling, volunteer recruitment, class parties, snack duty, potluck organization, parent-teacher conferences and more! You can think of them as your digital assistant for coordinating events and tasks and ensuring that your event is a success.

Evite SignUp Sheets offers parents, teachers and event planners customizable online forms that organizers and volunteers can access and update effortlessly. Volunteers can choose their preferred time slots, sign up for tasks or indicate what they'll bring to the event. It only takes organizers a few minutes to create a signup sheet and send it out with a shareable link, so they can get the word out via text, email or social media—whichever way they prefer! 

Long story short, signup sheets save everyone involved tons of time, avoid scheduling headaches and ensure everything runs smoothly before and during the event.

How do I create a signup sheet?

Creating a signup sheet has never been easier than with Evite! Here’s how to create a sheet that’s sure to make your event an absolute success:

  1. Go to Evite SignUp Sheets and choose the template that best fits your needs. Evite offers multiple signup sheet templates perfect for every occasion, including:some text
    • Signup sheets for standalone events (without different time slots), perfect for when you’re organizing a class party, potluck or end-of-season party.
    • Signup sheets for recurring or multi-day events (without different time slots), perfect for when you’re organizing a meal train, post-game snack duty or during appreciation week.
    • Signup sheets for single or multiple day events (with time slots), perfect for when you’re organizing concession stand volunteers, fundraisers and parent-teacher conferences.
  1. After selecting your sheet template, create a title for your signup sheet and add the date, the location, the time (if applicable), who the organizer is, the organizer’s phone number or email and an optional note describing the event to your volunteers. You can also change your signup sheet background and title image if you wish!
  1. Next, create slots for your signup sheet. If you aren’t logged into your account, you will need to do so at this point, but luckily, you can use your existing Evite account (no need to create yet another login!). What you’ll include here will depend on what your event needs, but you can include a list of what’s needed (along with optional descriptions), how many volunteers are needed, and dates and times.
  1. After creating your slots, you can then add a wish list from any retailer or include supply suggestions from Evite’s retailer partners. These are to help your volunteers find and purchase supplies quickly and easily.
  1. Finally, review your sheet, copy your shareable link and send it out to everyone on your list! Every time a volunteer signs up for a slot on your signup sheet, Evite will email you. We will also send reminders to you and your volunteers before your event so no one will forget about it, and we’ll even let volunteers know if you remove their slot or cancel your event sheet so you don’t have to!

What information should be included on a signup sheet?

When it comes to signup sheet information, there are some essentials to include regardless of what you’re organizing:

  1. A title for your signup sheet. Tip: Aim to keep your signup sheet title concise but clear. You want volunteers to read it and have a general understanding of what your event is about, and also make it easy for them to look for later if they need to reference your sheet again. You have the option to include a more descriptive note in a different field about your event, so save the more in-depth details for that!
  1. When and where the event is taking place. 
  1. The organizer’s name and phone number.
  1. Slots for volunteers to choose from. Once you choose the SignUp Sheets template that fits the occasion, the slots you’ll need for your sheet will be right there and ready for you to add the relevant info, such as dates, times, items to bring and tasks to complete. 

When adding your slot information, clearly define what people are signing up for, especially for a what-to-bring list or role assignments. If you want someone to bring healthy snacks for kids to enjoy after a game, specify that. You want your volunteers to feel confident in what they’re bringing and to make it easy for them to know what’s expected of them. It will save them time and stress (and you, too!). That being said, if you make your ask too specific (for example, asking for a hard-to-source item or something expensive), you may not end up with a volunteer for it. So be clear about what you expect, but also be reasonable!

Aside from providing the basic signup information, you can also add optional descriptions to both your entire signup sheet and individual slots. While not required, they can help guide your volunteers further and provide more information. You can add information about allergies, preferences and general info about the event. You can also add a wish list to make it easier for your volunteers to bring exactly what you need!

What are the benefits of using a signup sheet template?

Signup sheet templates offer a ton of advantages for both organizers and volunteers and with Evite SignUp Sheets, you'll enjoy even more benefits than other digital and paper signup sheets! Some benefits our signup sheet templates offer include:

  • A 100% free experience (no subscriptions required!).
  • Shareable links for quick and easy sharing.
  • No need to create another login—you can use your existing Evite account.
  • The option to add a wish list to help your volunteers out.
  • Automatic reminders—we’ll remind everyone on your behalf.
  • An easy-to-use experience with eye-catching guided templates.
  • Clean, modern designs with no pop-up ads.

With Evite SignUp Sheets, you can enjoy organizing and coordinating all your events with ease. Signup sheets streamline the signup process for everyone involved, ensuring that everything will go to plan on the day of your event while saving you precious time in the process.

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