Graduating from high school is an exciting and busy time filled with both celebrations and responsibilities. Making a checklist of things that need to be done before and after graduating can help ease stress so you can enjoy the last days or weeks of school with friends before life continues elsewhere. A well-planned high school graduation checklist should start months before the actual date of graduation.

Graduation Party Planning

Plan a party to celebrate your graduation. Choose a theme or color scheme based on your interests, what you plan to do after high school or your school colors. Choose a location and set the date and time. Weekends are generally best, and graduation parties are typically held the weekend following the actual graduation. However, if you know a lot of your friends are also having parties you may want to coordinate schedules so you can attend one anothers' parties. Send out invitations two to six weeks prior to the graduation date. Depending on the number of guests you plan to invite, you may want to have the party catered. If not, create a simple menu and purchase decorations such as streamers, balloons, graduation year confetti and graduation banners. Don't forget a cap and tassle cake.

Graduation Announcements

After ensuring you have completed all the requirements necessary to receive a diploma, order graduation announcements. Most schools have a designated company that handles all announcement designs and orders. Look through the options and make your selections, then send in the paperwork and payment by the posted deadline to receive your announcements in time. Ideally, you should mail these out several weeks prior to the graduation ceremony. Keep in mind that many schools limit the number of people who are allowed to attend the graduation ceremony by issuing students a specific number of tickets. If you only have a limited number of tickets, you might want to enclose a little note that explains while everyone cannot attend, you'd love to see them at your party. Also state that the graduation party invitations will arrive separately, as etiquette guidelines recommend they should be mailed separately.

Graduation Rehearsal

There is always a graduation rehearsal before the actual walk, which is typically held the day before or the morning of graduation. Check with your school administration to find out when this is, and arrive on time. Listen to the directions so you understand where to go when and what to do during the ceremony.

Graduation Night

Arrive early so you can get good parking and are included in attendance. Drink plenty of water throughout the day so you are well-hydrated for the big event. Make sure you family knows where to park and arrives early as well to get the best seating possible.

Graduation Thank-you Etiquette

Send out thank-you notes for any gifts you might receive and to thank people for attending your party. These should be formal thank-you notes. Some graduation announcement companies also give you the option of purchasing thank-you cards with the school emblem on them. If you didn't include a graduation photo with the announcement, include one with the thank-you card. Send these out within a month of graduation.

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