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Choosing a Location

Most people host their graduation party in their home or backyard or even their garage (well cleaned of course!).

Take a look around your home.  Is there enough space to accommodate everyone you want to invite?  Where would you serve food and beverages?  Do you need tables and chairs?  Where would you put them?  Where would you display photos of the graduate?

If you want to have your party outside you should plan a backup in case it rains.  Can your house be the backup?  Do you need to rent a party tent?  Can you clean out your garage and make it spotless enough to hold a party? 

Consider the time of day and where the sun will be shining.  If your party will be outside do you need a tent for shade?  Do you want guests to come through the front door?  If not, use balloons to lead your guests to the party with a fun yard sign.

Do you want/need to make any improvements to your home or yard before the party?  Many people find a Graduation Party is a great motivator!

Does the idea of hosting a large party at your home scare you?  Maybe your yard is too small?  Are you worried about the weather?  If so, you might want to think of some other options.

Does your graduate have a close friend that you could co-host the party with?  Does the other family have a bigger home and/or enjoy entertaining?  Ask them if you can do it together at their home.

If you can’t or don’t want to have a home party there are plenty of other options.

Parks:  City parks have pavilions that can be reserved for group events. Call your city offices for more information.  You may need to select a week night, since most weekend dates get booked early.  Some parks charge an entrance fee.  Your friends may not be willing to pay.  Perhaps you can make arrangements with the park so that your guests don’t have to pay.  You may also need to post a “Private Party” sign so park patrons will stay away.

Health Clubs:  Many health clubs have party or rec rooms.  Sometimes you don’t even have to be a member to rent these areas.

Country Clubs:  A popular choice many people like to go with.  Once again you often don’t have to be a member to use these facilities.

Apartment Complex Party Rooms:  Do you or someone you know live in an apartment complex that has a party room available to their residents?  There may or may not be fees associated with renting the room.  Consider the number of people you want to invite.  Is the party room big enough?

Restaurants:  Private rooms are available at a variety of restaurants.  Some restaurants are willing to rent their entire restaurant for parties on their slow days.

Hotels:  Hotels are a great choice for any size party.  When selecting a hotel, consider what special amenities they may have for your guests who may choose to stay in the hotel.  For example, if the hotel has a pool, maybe the guests can use it before or after the party.  Don’t forget to ask the hotel if they offer reduced room rates for your out-of-town guests. 

Churches:  Some churches have recreational areas that can be rented at reasonable rates.  Some even offer catering.

Community Activity Centers:  Some communities have activity centers or rooms within their activity centers that can be rented at reasonable rates. 

Cul de sacs:  Are some of your neighbors having graduation parties too?  Consider hosting a joint party and make it a fun block party.

Swimming Pool:  Does your local swimming pool rent out for private parties?  Make it a “beach party” theme party.  Don’t forget to hire lifeguards especially if there will be little kids at your party or if you expect your guests to swim.

Banquet Facilities:  Private banquet companies are a great choice!  You tell them what you want and they take care of everything – the location, the decorations, the food, and the cleanup.  Can’t get much easier than that!

Ski Chalets:  Many shi chalets rent their locations for private parties during the off-season.  This would be especially fun for the graduate who likes to ski!  Make it a “winter wonderland” theme party.

Bowling Lanes:  Many bowling lanes have party rooms and some rent their entire facility.  You can hold your party and have fun entertainment at the same time.

Resorts:  If you have resorts in your area check with them about party rooms and banquet facilities.  Like hotels, they may offer reduced room rates for your out-of-town guests.

Boats, Yachts, Charter boats:  Of course, many people don’t own a large boat or a yacht!  But if you live close to a large body of water there may charter boats available for hire.  You could have the party on the boat at the dock so guests can come and go as they please.  Or specify a set start and end time on your inviation and take your guests for a little cruise. 

Tourist Attractions:  Many local tourist attractions now rent their locations during off hours.  For example, our local zoo has an onsite party location with catering in their aquarium facility.  How fun would that be for a grad who wants to pursue a career in zoology or marine biology!

If none of these locations appeals to you and if you’re still looking for a unique location, contact a few local caterers for their suggestions. They should be very familiar with potential party sites in your area.

If renting a location sounds like a good idea but you’re worried about the cost, consider holding a joint party with 1 or 2 or 3 friends.  If you share the expenses associated with renting a large facility your costs can be reduced significantly and you can avoid expenses associated with getting your house ready.

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