Ultimate Graduation Party Checklist for Your Outdoor Chicago Event

small tent with tables and chairs and other supplies on graduation party checklist

The warm summer weather in Chicago is perfect for an outdoor graduation party. Graduation party planning isn’t complete without a graduation party checklist that ensures families have everything needed for a great outdoor gathering.

Outdoor Party Tips

  • Always select a party venue with a cover in case of inclement weather. A park shelter, tent, patio cover, or other covering shields guests from the hot sun, rain, or cold. If there is no cover in the yard or at the venue, contact an event specialist about renting a tent.
  • Stay apprised of curfews and limitations. Some municipalities or venues have curfews, volume limitations, and other requirements for gatherings. Always ask the venue or contact the local municipality for information before the party so it does not affect the enjoyment of the host or guests.
  • Make sure guests are comfortable. Chicago weather can be incredibly unpredictable. Graduation party planners need to make sure they are prepared with fans when the weather is hot (ideally, fans that can be mounted on tent poles for best results) and heat when the temperatures are forecasted to drop. Party planners can also add lounge areas for easy mingling and maximum guest comfort.
  • Consider a graduation party theme. A theme gives the party planners direction in almost every aspect of part planning. Graduation party themes can be centered around a sport, graduation colors, or graduate’s interest. The graduation party can also be more elegant, a party for a movie star, or another great graduation party theme. This decision can influence the menu, décor, lighting, and even the dessert choice.
  • Plan many different types of entertainment. Even if the main form of graduation party entertainment is a dance, it’s best to add other entertainment ideas so everyone has fun. Some graduation party ideas include: table trivia, yard games, DJ or band, sports games, or photo booth.

Party Tent Types

The biggest item on the graduation party checklist is equally as big in importance because it gives keeps guests comfortable and out of the rain and snow.


Frame tents can be installed over decks, patios, parking lots, and lawns. Because they have no center poles, the interior room is maximized and the tent is a good fit for party spaces on decks, pool decks, and other solid surfaces. Frame tents can also add extra space to a building because they can easily be installed adjacent.


Clear tents are a great way to give guests a beautiful view while protecting them from the elements. Clear tents are available in a variety of sizes and can be installed over a variety of surfaces.

Pole tents

Pole tents are a classic party staple. They are available in a variety of widths and lengths. Lighting and décor can easily be added to these tents for a comfortable party environment.

High Peak Tent

A high peak tent is an elegant party tent with high ceilings. This tent is a perfect combination with paper lanterns and chandeliers.

Graduation Party Checklist

Every party is different, and so is the graduation party checklist. This list gives party planners a standard list of equipment and items needed for a graduation party. Planners should contact a party planning professional for information on other rentals that can make their party memorable.

___ Tent (with sidewalls if weather is rainy or cold)

___ Lighting (string lighting, chandeliers, or paper lanterns if the party is during the evening)

___ Fans or heating system (mounted fans or climate control system)

___ Dance Floor (use this post to determine the size of dance floor needed)

___ Audio System

___ Screens (for slideshows or other presentations of graduate)

___ Tables (for picture board or displays, eating, and food service)

___ Chairs

___ Linens

___ Tableware

___ Centerpieces

___ Chill Tables

___ Portable Bars

___ Grill

___ Food Service Containers

___ Popcorn Machine

___ Picture Boards (if needed)

___ Yard Games

___ Trivia Games

___ Other types of entertainment

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