The big day is finally here -- your graduation! You’ve worked hard and anxiously awaited this day for years. You’ve always pictured a big celebration with family and friends to mark the occasion, but one uninvited party guest is trying to mess up all of the fun: COVID-19. Your graduation ceremony may already be scaled down, whether it’s in person or virtual, and your post-commencement party may also look a little different than planned, but there’s great news: There’s still ways you can celebrate and feel special during the COVID-era:
Host a Virtual Party
We know, we know -- you want to celebrate with everyone after being so isolated over the last year. But, if cases are on the rise where you live, a virtual party is likely the safest bet. Setting up a Zoom party will allow you to invite a great number of people to share in your special moment and offer a toast to your accomplishments. The best part? There’s not much party prep and virtually (ha) no clean-up!
Pro Tip: If you end up being able to have an in-person party, having a virtual option is a great way to include everyone you love who may not feel comfortable traveling or attending.
Host a Drive-by Parade
Drive-by parades aren’t just for birthdays! Dress up in your cap & gown (and honor gear, of course), get some music going, park yourself in a lawn chair out in front of your house, and let the good times roll (literally)! Who doesn’t love a good parade?! You may be surprised by just how fun this type of party can be. It allows friends and family to safely distance themselves but still be able to see you in person. Encourage friends and family to decorate their cars for a true parade vibe. And, who knows, maybe they’ll throw candy (or better yet, money) your way!
Pro Tip: Live in a highly-visible area? Make (or rent) a banner and put it on your lawn for all to see! You’d be surprised just how many people would love to share in your excitement.
Host an Outdoor Party
With the latest CDC guidelines this week suggesting the safety of fully-vaccinated people to be able to gather outdoors without masks (unless in large or vulnerable groups), hosting an outdoor party is a possibility this year! This gives you a chance at having a mostly normal celebration. If you have the space, set up a tent or some EZ-Ups for shade coverage around your yard and enjoy! Space out your tables and offer ample hand sanitizer for good measure. Want to go the extra mile? Offer a box of disposable masks as an option for guests.
Pro Tip 1: Keep things clean. Serve individually packed meals (think, bagged chips, pre-wrapped sandwiches, cupcakes in to-go containers). If there’s anything we’ve learned from pandemic life, it’s how to minimize risk. Buffets and community meals are a thing of the past! Not a fan of simplicity? Check out Pinterest for some really fun ways to safely offer food to your guests.
Pro Tip 2: Rent an outdoor bathroom to keep everything outside (we’ve done this!). Believe it or not, rentable bathrooms (porta-potties) are attainable, affordable, and clean! We’ve done this a few times to keep the house and bathroom traffic at a minimum during large (pre-COVID) parties. And, honestly, guests thought it was so hysterical (we added music and flowers inside for fun)!
Host a Small Indoor Party With Vaccinated, Low Risk Guests
If throwing a large-ish party still isn’t your thing, throwing a small indoor/outdoor party with your household members or a few vaccinated guests might be more your speed, and you can still do this safely! Follow the food tips above and keep your guest numbers significantly low and enjoy!
As with anything, it’s your party/your rules (and these are all merely suggestions from our staff!). If you’re worried about issues arising, just keep things small or virtual -- your loved ones should understand it’s your memorable moment and how you choose to safely celebrate is up to you. Congratulations on your accomplishments, Class of 2021 -- enjoy your celebrations!
*Please refer to the CDC and your local guidance before making party preparations.