How to throw a graduation party

How to throw a graduation party

High school and college graduations mark the end of one chapter and the beginning of another, and there are only so many days designed to celebrate academic achievements. Whether you are the person graduating or you’re hosting the celebration for a loved one, there’s no reason not to go all out on a graduation party, from decor to food to favors. Graduations happen rarely enough to be truly special, and you don’t want to miss the chance to celebrate. These graduation party ideas will help make the day memorable for everyone involved.

Celebrate With a Dessert Display

How to throw a graduation party

Whether a graduate is completing high school, college, or kindergarten, planning a party with thoughtful details will take the experience to the next level. A dessert display such as a trendy donut wall will help make your celebration the hottest event on the graduation party circuit. Donut wall backdrops are easy to create and always stand out.

Create Glitter-Filled Balloons

How to throw a graduation party

Glitter can add a lot of glam to a party—but cleaning up the tiny sparkles after the event can be arduous. You can achieve a sparkling effect without the mess by featuring glitter-filled balloons. And the combination of glitz and bouncing balloons promises to liven up the atmosphere.

Design Sweet Serving Platters

How to throw a graduation party

Hand out your graduation party favors in these glittery, do-it-yourself trays. Spell out GRAD, the graduate’s name, or even the university they’ll be intending in the fall. Once these letters are constructed, stuff them full of the graduate’s favorite sweet surprises.

Let the School Colors Shine

How to throw a graduation party

Whether your graduate wants to celebrate where they’re coming from or where they’re going, let the school colors stand front and center. For a high school graduation party, consider decorating with the colors of your student’s future university. Your menu can also become a work of art if you have foods with a specific color scheme.

Create a Graduation Photo Board

How to throw a graduation party

Everyone attending the party has had different experiences with the graduate, so ask friends and family to bring their favorite photos and display them all in one enormous collage.

You can use pallet boards to create a striking backdrop for your best shots. And don’t limit yourself to photos alone: Consider adding items like sports uniforms, notable school projects, and medals.

Create an Art Installation

How to throw a graduation party

Celebrate like you’re in a modern art museum with giant statement balloons. Cut out large numbers to highlight the graduation year and hang them on streamers dangling from an enormous balloon. Once they’re floating in your room, these colorful creations can seem almost magical.

Write Down Your Wishes

How to throw a graduation party

Give your graduate a grand send-off by having guests write down their best wishes for their future. You can use twigs in a jar to make a wishing tree, then have guests attach personal notes to the branches. Your graduate can keep these wishes for motivation and comfort as they embark on their next life chapter.

Say It in Writing

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This DIY speech bubble allows guests to send best wishes to the graduate—from “Congrats!” to “Keep in touch!” And your graduate can create a fun photoshoot by scribbling “I’m done!” on the chalkboard. To create this simple craft, you only need some scrap cardboard, chalkboard paint, and chalk.

Cap off Your Drinks

How to throw a graduation party

These clever straws promise to add some pizazz to your beverage table. Your guests will love using them to sip delicious cocktails or strawberry lemonade. If you want to go the extra mile, wrap a colored band around glass bottles to create a cohesive display.

Build a Glam Photo Booth

How to throw a graduation party

When it comes to a graduation party, the photo booth is always a popular feature. This glamorous rose-gold photo booth combines confetti, traditional peachy balloons, and enormous number balloons (spelling out the year of graduation) to give the party a fun glitzy effect.

Get a Little Seussian

How to throw a graduation party

There’s a good reason “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” is a classic graduation gift. Dr. Seuss understood the plight of graduates like no one else. This quintessential book makes the perfect party theme for your graduate of any age with colorful cookies, a sea-blue suitcase, and (of course) a globe.

String up Your Superlatives

How to throw a graduation party

The classic senior-year superlatives can make fantastic graduation decorations. Honor the party guests with these balloon awards—think best hair or cutest couple—to create an immersive atmosphere for the party. Better yet: Have guests vote on who should win which award.

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Great Ideas for Graduation Party Venues

Graduations are always exciting events. It is a time to reflect on the past and wonder about the future. Your child has accomplished an important goal in their life and it should be a time to celebrate. Graduation parties can be as simple or as extravagant as you wish. Many people host their graduation party in their home using their backyard, deck or porch for outdoor entertaining while others opt to have the party outside of the home. Whatever you choose below you will find a list of some terrific locations to have a party outside of the home.

Venues for Graduation Parties.

If you opt to have it at home be sure you have sufficient room for the number of guest you plan to invite and an area for food and beverages that is easily accessible. If it is going to be outside you may want to consider a tent to protect from the sun. Additionally, renting tables, chairs and table covers is a great way to give it a formal look.

Alternative locations where you can hold a graduation party include:

Get recipes and graduation party ideas for celebrating your favorite smarty.

Graduation Party Ideas

No need to put on your thinking cap: we’ve got some graduation party ideas for celebrating your star pupil.

  • Where and when? Start the festivities mid- to late afternoon, and if weather permits, set up seating outdoors and fire up the grill. Stuck indoors? Here’s how to get that outdoor flavor from your indoor grill.
  • Self-Serve. Set up the food buffet-style, with drinks on a separate table or in coolers. If you have room, place bowls of easy snacks like nuts, popcorn, or chips and dip on small tables throughout the party.
  • School spirit. Decorate with the graduate’s school colors — balloons, streamers, pom-poms — the works! And make sure that framed diploma is out for all to see.
  • Most likely to. Make a bunch of name tags and let guests fill in the end of the sentence.
  • Photo Booth An absolute must for a graduation party to preserve the memories for years to come. Set up a backdrop and a table of props. Make a sign asking guests to hashtag and share their photos.
  • Bright ideas. Everyone wants to know: “What are you going to do now that you’ve graduated?” Why not take some pressure off the recent college grad and turn the tables? Ask each guest to write what they did the year after they graduated on a large piece of poster board, guestbook, or scrapbook.

Top-of-the-Class Menu

Graduation parties usually include a pretty diverse crowd, so it’s important to gear your menu to suit all ages and eaters. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Appetizers and Snacks

Easy-to-eat finger foods are always popular, and if your crowd includes teenagers, go heavy on the dips to fill ’em up.

This Seven Layer Taco Dip is always a party favorite.

Wraps and rolls are easy to make and slice to feed a crowd. These Party Pinweels can be easily changed up with lots of different fillings.

Whether you’re a parent who wants to celebrate their kid’s achievements, or your partner has recently graduated, and you want to do the same, hosting a party on the day that they graduate is the perfect way to do it. They deserve to see how proud you are of them and have their efforts recognized, as well as the opportunity to let off some steam after all of their hard work studying and to get excited about their future. Below are a few tips on how you can organize and throw an excellent graduation party that they will remember and appreciate.


Most graduations take place in the summertime, so this is the perfect excuse to invite everybody over for a BBQ and celebrations. This kind of food is also perfect for big gatherings as you can put out a spread of salads and side dishes to complement what you’re grilling on the BBQ, and people can help themselves. You could even make some pitchers of cocktails, and don’t forget to buy celebratory champagne or sparkling wine to mark the occasion! If you have a bigger budget to work with and would prefer not to worry about preparing the food yourself, you could always look into hiring professional caters to take care of food and drink for you instead. Whatever you do, though, don’t forget to make or purchase a special cake for the occasion!


Every party needs some kind of decoration to make it feel festive, and a graduation party is no different! You can run with the theme and make banners featuring the traditional graduation caps and perhaps even rolled up scrolls representing their diplomas or degrees. Some simple floral arrangements on tables would also look nice and sophisticated, with tealights in glass holders that you can light when it starts to get darker in the evening. Fairy lights or bigger lanterns in your garden would also work well as decorative lighting when it gets dark too.


Although people’s presence at the party will be gift enough, it’s always nice to give someone a present on their graduation day. This will be something that they can cherish for years to come, whether it’s a thoughtful, sentimental gift or a goofy novelty gift that they can laugh at. Of course, you don’t need to make gifts mandatory for your guests, but some gentle encouragement saying that they would be welcome is worth doing. Look at these examples of the best graduation gifts if you need some inspiration.

Timing of the Party

If you will throw the party on the same day as their graduation, you’ll need to be wary of what time you tell people to come over. Find out as soon as possible what the graduation ceremony schedule will be on the day and whether theirs will be in the morning or afternoon. You’ll need to factor in the time it takes for photographs and perhaps a celebratory drink with their friends and teachers at the graduation venue itself before you can all go back to your place to start the party. Give yourself at least an extra half an hour to get home before people arrive, so you’re not rushing around or have people stuck outside your house because you’re not there yet!

If you want to show someone special how proud you are of them on their graduation day, throw them a party with all their friends and family so they can start the next chapter of their life in style.

Related posts:

  1. Suggestions To Simplify Home Party Planning
  2. Next-Level Kids’ Parties
  3. Get This Party Started: A Guide to Your Banquet Room Setup
  4. 11 Unique Baby Shower Party Favors That Your Guests Will Adore

About Author

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer. SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and “Grams” to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna’s fur babies are her world.

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How to throw a graduation party

How to throw a graduation party

How to throw a graduation party

Planning a graduation party? Follow these tips and tricks for How To Throw A Graduation Party At Home without breaking the budget.

How to throw a graduation party

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As graduation season quickly approaches, you may be starting to consider how you are going to throw your new grad a party. Throwing a graduation party can be a little stressful, especially if you’ve never done one before. But, a great way to save money is to throw it at home!

Your home can be a great party spot with a little extra work, and your guests won’t feel too crowded. Here are tips on how to throw a graduation party at home.

Tips On How To Throw A Graduation Party At Home

Set Your Party Budget

Before you start any party planning process, you need to have a budget in mind. Even if you don’t have an exact amount you want to spend, have a ballpark figure in mind. This will help you budget for each party item. This number will also help you determine how many people you can host.

How Many People Your Home Can Comfortably Hold?

The next big question you need to ask yourself is how many people can comfortably fit in your home. This may be dependent on several factors such as seating, how large a space you have, and if you will be utilizing both your indoors and outdoors for the party.

Where In Your Home Will You Host The Graduation Party?

Are you going to keep everyone outside or have them inside? You will want to keep in mind the weather as well. In a perfect situation, you want everyone outside, but if you need to move your party indoors, be prepared for the possibility. You can also utilize your garage and patio for serving areas or for helping you keep your party contained from the outdoor elements in a pinch. You may also decide to have a dual party setting where you utilize both indoor and outdoor spaces.

How to throw a graduation partyPlanning Your Party Menu

The next thing you need to plan is the food. Your guests will be hungry but when you plan your party can help you save a lot of money on food. Consider hosting your party around 2 pm if you want to really maximize your budget! This is the sweet spot where most people will have had a big meal, and smaller portions will satisfy them until the end of your party.

If you want to have them over for a meal, then plan for around 11 am or 4 pm. If you need cheap eats on a budget, consider bar-style food such as a taco bar, pasta bar, or baked potato bar. This will stretch your budget further and allow you to feed a lot of people for a lot less.

Also, cooking the food yourself will save a lot of money. Catered events are VERY expensive. I usually plan the menu ahead of time so I can keep an eye on the sale circular for our local grocery store. In addition, I shop at the wholesale club we belong to and buy in bulk.

How to throw a graduation party Plan the Ultimate Party! Grab your copy of the Ultimate Party Game Plan.

Decorating your Home for Your Graduation Party

You know where you’ll be setting up your party and what they’re going to eat, but now it’s time to talk about decorating for your party! The first step is to go through what you have! Do you already have paper plates, cups, and placemats? Use those! Work in additional decor to your party after you’ve already taken inventory of what you have.

This is a great way to save money and to help you throw your party on a budget. If you want to get a little fancy, consider heading to the Dollar Store to pick up graduation specific table decorations to make your party more graduation themed.

Another fun graduation party decorating tip is to display achievements, diplomas, old school photos, and artwork of the graduation.

Play That Funky Music

Ok, not really, but if you choose to have music at your party, you can either make your own play list or if your budget allows, hire a DJ. My kids usually take care of the playlist so we always save money in the music department.

These graduation tips are going to be timeless as your kids grow up and eventually graduate. Trust me, when you start planning your party, you’ll be glad you have these tips handy!

How to throw a graduation party

If you have a child graduating high school this spring, chances are you’re planning to mark the occasion with a party, as you should! Graduation is a time for parents to celebrate and show off their kids’ accomplishments, as well as a perfect opportunity to gather family and friends to mark a significant milestone. However, teenagers being teenagers, we know your grad might not be as excited as you are for a party with their parents. Here’s how to include the guest of honor in every step of the graduation party planning process, in a way they’ll actually enjoy.

Let Them Help with the Registry

If you’ve got a grad who’s reluctant to have a party, a reminder that family loves to spoil them is an excellent place to start. Make sure to include them when setting up a registry so you can work together to choose a good mix of practical items for their future plans and other fun things they really want. With Evite Donations, you can also set up a college fund together, or they can elect to give some of their party money to a cause they care about.

Include Their Favorite Guests

Traditionally graduation is an occasion for the family to celebrate, but you’ll want to make sure your grad knows they can invite some of their friends as well – it is their party, after all. If you’re concerned about having too many people over at once, it’s a good idea to stagger different groups. For instance, invite family and parents’ friends to come earlier in the day and let your kid’s friends join later on so they can take their “family” hat off and relax a little. If your kid’s friends are also graduating, you might want to impose a “no gifts” rule for them to keep things simpler.

Split Up the Party-Planning Decisions

When it comes down to it, a good grad party is about compromise. Your grad might be mortified if you let family members make speeches in their honor, but if it’s important to you, you can give them complete control of the playlist in return. Food and drink is another good area to let them make some decisions, whether that’s takeout from their go-to place or their favorite kind of cake. Ultimately you want to make sure everyone has a good time and your child feels heard and celebrated. But don’t forget to make sure they know they’re also going to participate in the party clean-up!

Ready to get planning? Browse free digital graduation invitations on Evite now.

How to throw a graduation party

Congratulations! It’s time to celebrate! Graduation season is upon us and we know you want to throw an incredible graduation party to commemorate this milestone. If you’re on a budget, never fear! There are ways to throw your dream graduation party without overspending. Here are eight ways you can celebrate without going bankrupt.

How to Throw an Awesome Graduation Party on a Budget

Confetti Balloons

How to throw a graduation partysource: Seventeen

Balloons are always a necessity at a graduation party, and they can be a very versatile decoration for such an low price tag. One way to customize your balloons is to stock up on clear balloons and fill them with confetti. Use confetti that is close to your school colors! You can grab a great deal on balloons here.

Use Books as Decorations

How to throw a graduation party

For cheap and easy graduation party decorations, use books! They’re a great symbol of education and will look great as part of a tablescape. When you go shopping for the party food, ask for paper bags and use the bags to make your own book covers. You can either leave the covers blank or put photos on them or write on them.

Have a Fun Guest “Book”

How to throw a graduation party

If you want to remember everyone who came to your graduation party, a guest book is a great idea. However, if that seems too formal for you, consider using an alternate idea – Jenga blocks! You can get a Jenga game for pretty cheap on and have each of your guests sign a block.

Dress Up Your Drinks

How to throw a graduation party

Whether you’re serving lemonade for a high school graduation or more adult drinks for a college graduation, dressing up your drinks is a quick and easy way to add a little bit of flair to your party. These adorable graduation cap straw toppers are fantastic little details that will give your party a sense of fun. Provide white markers for your guests to write their names on the caps so they’ll never have to worry about losing their drink.

Light It Up

How to throw a graduation party

What’s a party without fun lighting? Fairy lights are very stylish right now and you can easily use them in your graduation decorating. Get a few strings of fairy lights and hang them across a wall. Use mini paper clips to hang photos of the graduate on the lights.

Get Creative With Snacks

How to throw a graduation party

When it comes to party food on a budget, don’t worry about buying the nicest snacks available. Instead, pick up the cheaper ones and get creative with the presentation. Wrap ribbon around Pirouette cookies or Swiss rolls and turn them into edible diplomas.

DIY Photo Booth Wall

How to throw a graduation party

Chances are, your guests are going to be taking a lot of photos at your graduation party. You can easily make an inexpensive photo booth wall with chalk paint, oversized confetti in your school’s colors, or hang paper streamers. Bonus points if you make your own photo props and watch your guests have tons of fun.

Share the Love

How to throw a graduation party

Whether you do a photo wall or not, you should set up a hashtag so you and your guests can easily share photos of the party. Collect your favorites so you’ll be able to look back and see how far you’ve come.

Graduation season is here! Whether your child (or you) is graduating from high school, college, or even from grad school, this new milestone deserves a mighty celebration. Why not celebrate their accomplishments and hard work by throwing a memorable graduation party? To help you plan for an amazing graduation party, we’ve put together a checklist of everything you need to think about and everything you might need for a fabulous party.

Plan Ahead

A month before

Whether you’re planning a large bash or just a simple dinner amongst close friends and family, getting a head start on planning can’t hurt. It’s good to start planning more than a month before your party so that you can choose the best venue, pick the best date, pick your theme and come up with your guest list. It’s good to send out invites or let your guests know about the party about a month in advance so that they can take time out of their calendars for it. Also don’t forget to make reservations for venues, party tents, any activities, live music, or a catering company (if you’re using one).

To reiterate, one month before the party you’ll want to:

  • Pick a date. It doesn’t have to be the exact date of the student’s graduation. Sometimes, the weekend following that works better.
  • Set your budget. This will help you decide how much you want to spend on the venue, decorations, food etc.
  • Choose and book the venue (or if you’re hosting the bash at home, decide if you want to host it inside or outside).
  • Finalize your guest list. This will help you know the quantities of party supplies and food that you’ll need.
  • Pick your theme. A theme party is always more fun!
  • Make any necessary reservations for catering, live music, party tents, party activities etc.
  • Send out invites to your guests.

Honor the grad in your life with a creative party he or she will remember for years to come. Flip through our favorite food, game and decor ideas to get inspired for your graduation bash.

Related To:

Diplomas to Devour

Give your brunch table a festive, graduation twist with a stack of these delicious chocolate hazelnut diploma crepes. Recreate this scholarly snack in your kitchen by wrapping each individual crepe in black-and-white baker’s twine.

Host a Tailgate

Maybe your celebrated graduate is heading off to their first year of college this fall. Or, maybe they’re bidding adieu to their golden years on campus and entering the real world for the first time. Either way, a tailgate party is always a good idea. Deck out your backyard in their school colors, lay out your fave tailgate dips and provide guests with classic tailgate games, like cornhole or horseshoes. Don’t forget a few coolers (or kegs) of ice-cold brew for the 21-and-up club.

Turn to Tassels

Recreate this adorable, hanging tassel photo display for the party that doubles as a sentimental parting gift for your graduate’s dorm room or apartment. Showcase the tassel hanger at the grad party, and provide guests with an instant camera to take photos. Ask them to pin their pictures to the dangling tassels and by the end of the party, your grad will have a piece of home to take with them on their next chapter.

Serve Personalized Soda + Grad-Caps

Provide your graduate with some cute, post-grad pop! Give their favorite soda a scholarly makeover by adding a personalized label and topping each bottle with miniature graduation caps, complete with teeny-tiny tassels you can craft from card stock and thread. Cheers!

Decemeber Bonfire

December graduates deserve to celebrate too, right? Highlight their achievements by hosting a cozy bonfire for friends, family, and fur-babies. Provide guests with plenty of blankets, homemade chili and spiked apple cider.

Party Poolside

Your graduate may be growing up, but they’ll never outgrow a killer pool party. Celebrate your scholar by having all their friends and family over for fresh, summery sips and a sunny afternoon swim. Offer guests a spread of crisp sandwiches, fresh veggies with dip and a light, fruity dessert.

Leave Cooking to the Pros

Not at your best in the kitchen? Relatable. Graduation celebrations are no time for stress, chaos, or bad food, friends. Sidestep all the potential kitchen drama altogether. Host a joint party with fellow graduate parents, and go in together to hire a local food truck to cater the event. The guests will love the interactive experience the truck creates, and you’ll rest easy knowing that no one will be forced to eat your (burnt) baked beans.

Creative Cooler

Skip the unsightly plastic cooler, and roll out this creative, cooler alternative for your graduation celebration. Fill a (clean!) wheel barrow with lots of ice, then create groupings of your fave beverages within. Hot tip: Consider the color palette of the party, and select sips that reflect that for a cohesive overall design.

Champs + Charcuterie

Delight your December college grad with a sophisticated champagne and charcuterie soiree. Pile your serving board with fancy cheese, Italian meat and fruit aplenty. Display bottles of bubbly front-and-center on your bar cart, and be sure to add a generous selection of red, white and blush blends to serve varied tastes.

Fiesta With Friends

They turned their tassel, now it’s time for them to turn-up with tacos and guacamole, galore. Host a vibrant backyard fiesta for your graduate, and don’t skimp on the colorful details. Drape your tables with punchy patterns, add a basket of chips with salsa, and create centerpieces from fresh, fuchsia blooms. Oh, and a DIY margarita station is guaranteed to earn praise from college grads and guests alike.

Sweet Brunch

Celebrate the day with a post-grad brunch, complete with a tower of sweets. Order a few dozen donuts, and create a sweet statement piece for your brunch buffet. Add a bucket of iced soda on one end of the table and a bunch of fresh, summer blooms on the other for a balanced design. (Brownie points if you add a platter of extra-crispy bacon somewhere in there, too.)

Show School Spirit

Our go-to, foolproof graduation party plan is decking out the event space with the rising freshman’s college colors. This green-and-white table showcases how sticking with two hues throughout the tablescape can yield spirited — yet sophisticated — results.

Scholarly Seafood Boil

You don’t need to live by the coast to host a killer seafood soirée. Use your graduate’s accomplishments as an excuse to host a summer shrimp boil, oyster roast or clam bake for your loved ones . Roll out all the stops with fresh corn and potatoes, bright lemons, horseradish and melted butter for days.

Add a Hot Dog Bar

Elevate the beloved and budget-friendly hot dog to a Pinterest-worthy party display by creating a self-serve hot dog bar. Set the table with a classic picnic tablecloth and provide guests with a sea of fresh toppings, homemade chili and unique dipping sauce like Sriracha.

Create a Collaborative Graduation Gift Basket

Collaborate with family members to create a one-of-a-kind, practical gift basket for your graduate. Use a colander as your base, and fill with other kitchen essentials, family recipes and a few sentimental notes of encouragement to bring a smile to their face.