Our three children have long since graduated from college. But I clearly remember the excitement and pride I felt on each of those occasions. We wanted to celebrate afterwards to make our graduate feel special and show them how proud we were.
Each institution has its own traditions for those celebrations that take place immediately after the commencement ceremony. How do you throw a party when you aren’t at home? Won’t the restaurants be packed? If you prefer to host a gathering, finding a venue can be challenging.
Perhaps your student has been living in an off-campus apartment and that would be suitable. Streamers and balloons in the school colors add a festive touch. Don’t forget napkins and other paper goods in the appropriate colors. Food and drink could be purchased locally or brought from home if you are driving from nearby.
If the weather is conducive, a picnic is a great option. Picnics can be as casual or as elaborate as you like. You will need to coordinate with your student to find out if the institution allows picnicking on the grounds. Or perhaps there are public parks nearby. Check to see if these spaces require reservations.
Along these same lines, perhaps a tailgate picnic would work. If you have the capability to bring a grill and some coolers, then your graduate can invite friends to join the celebration. Or some of those public parks may have grills (and restrooms) available.
Some colleges and universities have provided options on campus for families to set up their reception area. I am surprised that more schools don’t do this, recognizing that families want to take the time to congratulate their student.
Obviously if you want to go to a restaurant you must plan ahead and make reservations. I would start calling in February for a May graduation. They may tell you that you have to wait, but then you can find out when reservations open for graduation day. Put that date on your calendar and call early that day.
For one of our children’s graduations we rented a house for the weekend. Having a house enabled us to invite our graduate’s friends and their families over to join us. The school colors were orange and navy blue so I found as much decor in those colors as I could. We brought food from home since the school is a short two hour drive.
For another child’s graduation we attended a party at his fraternity house that was coordinated by some parents. We all contributed to the cost. This provided an opportunity to socialize with the other graduates and their parents.
Any other suggestions for celebrating college graduation? Let us know in the comments!