Ideas for a Graduation Party

These ideas for a graduation party will help you plan an exciting event to commemorate your graduate's special milestone.

Ideas for a Graduation PartyGraduation Day

Graduation is a rite of passage. It marks the end of one era and the beginning of another. 

Reaching this point has taken hard work and commitment. Your graduate has probably faced unexpected challenges, reached some great achievements, experienced a few embarrassing moments (the yearbook pictures prove that, right?), and built a lot of amazing memories along the way. But, they did it! Graduation has finally arrived!

A party is the prefect way to highlight all their past accomplishments and celebrate with family and friends as they prepare to embark on their journey toward future dreams.

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Graduation Party Invitation Ideas

Whether simple or elaborate, standard or theme-based, invitations set the stage for the party. They light that little spark of excitement, so it is always great if they are unique and creative.

  • Roll the invitation up like a diploma, tie it with a tassel, and attach a mini graduation cap. You can even write the party information on a photocopy of the graduate's diploma.

  • Make a photo post card using pictures of the graduate or graduating class. They can be serious poses or fun and silly shots. Not only is it a more personal invitation, but it will also make a great keepsake.

  • Use little keys (old-fashioned/skeleton ones work great) and attach a tag with the party info on one side and a space on the back for guests to write words of wisdom or a “key to success”. Have them bring this tag with them to the party so their advice can be given to the graduate.
  • Create a road sign invitation that says “Bright Future Ahead” or “Success At Next Intersection”.

  • Buy mini chalkboards and use white paint or permanent ink to write the party details.

Graduation Party Activities

  • Have a few fun icebreakers or trivia about the graduate or graduating class.

  • Have a dance.

  • Show theme related movies.

  • Have a DIY photo booth. Use a chalkboard for the backdrop so guests can write sayings or pictures before they pose.

  • Have a Keys To Success table. If you haven't used this as an invitation idea, you can still give guests an opportunity to share their advice and wisdom.
  • Have a Jenga guest book. Rather than a traditional guest book, have guests put their name and a short message on a Jenga block that can be built later as a great memento for the graduate.

  • Include theme based activities: limbo for a Hawaiian luau party, kite flying contest for a Sky's the Limit party, water volleyball for a pool party, dance-off for a dance party, etc.

Graduation Photo Booth Props

Graduation Party Decorations And Food Ideas

Decorations and food will probably depend a lot on the theme that you choose, but there are some ideas that will work for almost every type of party.

  • Decorate your venue in school colors.

  • Use chalkboards to label food or mark activity areas.

  • Display pictures of your graduate or graduating class, showing milestones and special memories that have taken place throughout their school career.

  • Play lots of music, and have an area where guests can dance to their favorite tunes.
  • Make a cake or cupcakes in the shape of a graduation cap. You can also make grad hat pops that fit perfectly into a vase or jar to create a tasty centerpiece for tables.

  • Make diploma cookies. 

  • Roll cold cuts up like diplomas and tie them off with the green part of a green onion.

  • Serve non-alcoholic cocktails in champagne glasses with graduation themed swizzle sticks.

Graduation Party Favor Ideas

Sending guests home with a small token or memento is a great way to thank them for being part of your celebration. Some ideas could include:

  • A grad hat shaped candy box filled with Smarties

  • A picture frame

  • A memory box. Have the guest(s) of honor include a personal note to each person recounting a special memory or the role they have played in helping them reach this milestone.

  • A champagne glass etched with the graduate's name and/or the graduating class year.

  • A telescope to symbolize looking into the future.

There are so many ideas for a graduation party, and your event can be as unique and special as the guest(s) of honor. Show them how proud you are of their accomplishments by sending them into the future in style!

Graduation Party Theme Ideas

The theme will depend on the guest(s) of honor, the venue, or even the weather, but here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

Backyard Barbecue

After years of assignments, projects, and final exams, it can be fun to celebrate with a casual, low key party. Guests can swim in the pool, play outdoor games, and then talk about past memories and future dreams while roasting marshmallows around a campfire.

Dance Party

Who doesn't love to dance? The popularity of shows like Dancing With The Stars or So You Think You Can Dance has brought the passion for this pastime to a whole new level. Hire a professional instructor to teach a favorite style – hip hop, ballroom, Latin, or even Bollywood – or host your own dance competition so guest can show off their skills.

Red Carpet Gala

Honor the star(s) of the show by rolling out the red carpet and inviting guests to attend this exclusive Black Tie affair. Interview family and friends as they arrive, and be sure to film it! After serving champagne (non-alcoholic, of course) and fancy hors d'oeuvres, you can show a theme-based movie such as The Graduates, Class Act, Accepted, or General Admission.

The Sky Is the Limit

As they face the future, encourage graduates to reach for the stars and dream big. Have kite flying competitions or remote control airplane/helicopter races. Host the party outside or transform your venue into a star-filled night sky. You may even want to film classmates talking about their dreams and hopes for the future, and how they see themselves in 10 years. Shoot off fire works or have guests release lighted paper lanterns. The sky is the limit!

More Theme Ideas