Your graduation party is an event that marks the end of an amazing chapter in your life. After all your hard work in high school or college, you deserve a celebration worth remembering. When planning an epic grad party, you’ll need to start thinking about themes and decorations. Some parents may want to organize a small gathering with family and close friends, while the graduate might prefer a huge outdoor event in the backyard. Whether you’re a high school senior going off to college or a university grad becoming a professional, it can be a challenge choosing from all the different decor and theme ideas. To inspire you with fun and creative designs, we’ve compiled a list of the best graduation party ideas that will ensure you celebrate in style. From great food and drinks to cool photo booths and cute centerpieces, explore these party themes and decoration ideas to find ways to take your graduation to the next level.
College Graduation Party Ideas
Create A Photo Booth
To capture the best moments of your graduation party, set up a quirky photo booth. Depending on your budget, you can either rent out a professional booth or create a DIY booth with cute curtains! The printouts from this photo booth will be treasured for years to come.
Use School Colors
Show your school spirit by decking out your space with decorations that match your college colors! For added peppiness, create a deluxe food spread with themed desserts and drinks. Throw in a school chant session to send out the grad in style.
Hang Graduation Banners To Decorate Spaces
Graduation banners are cheap to create and liven up any space. To add character to your party, drape colored “congratulations” banners around your home to mark the occasion. Dated banners make an adorable keepsake and are great options if you can’t find banners that match your party theme.
Make Picture Centerpieces
Photo centerpieces don’t require much work, and they are a fun way to display your favorite college memories. A table centerpiece with pictures can add a cute personal touch to your party decorations and will elevate simple floral arrangements.
DIY Party Entrance Signs
To announce your graduation to the world, place DIY party entrance signs on the lawn! You can easily craft these yourself using a blackboard, chalk, and artistic vision. A personalized yard sign is also a cute way to direct your guests to the party.
Use Large Balloons
Large celebration balloons are one of the easiest ways to liven up a party space. You can either place them around your venue for decoration or use graduation year balloons to create a trendy photo wall for your guests.
Cute Paper Straws To Decorate Drinks
Construction paper and straws are all you need to level up your drinking glasses. With these adorable straws, you won’t need a push to keep up with your refills all night long!
Construct A Chalkboard Photo Backdrop
A chalkboard photo backdrop is a cool way to set up a photo opportunity. Place props around the area for your guests to use and encourage them to strike their best pose. Leave a stick of chalk and an eraser next to the booth for guests to create their own unique backdrops.
Decorate Your Backyard with Lights
If your graduation party is being held outside, hanging lights will keep things alive long after the sun goes down. White or muted yellow lights are safe options that work with any party theme. Adding lights can transform an area, so don’t be afraid to deck the place out.
Desserts are a must-have at any graduation party, and a variety of different sweet treats will go over well with your guests. To add flair to your food, stick graduation cocktail flags into each dessert to mark the occasion!
Have An Open Bar with A Bartender
An open bar is appreciated at any party and having a bartender on hand to mix incredible cocktails will make your graduation party one for the books. If you have any underage drinkers attending, have non-alcoholic options stocked behind the bar.
Get A Taco Truck
Everyone loves tacos, and a fully stocked taco bar is ideal for college students. A taco truck ties in well with a “Taco Bout a Future” theme if you want to take the concept further. Make sure to serve up chips, salsa, and margaritas for a fun night.
The Places You’ll Go Map
Show off the places you’ve been and where you’ll go next with a world map centerpiece. This idea is especially meaningful to grads who are heading abroad for their next chapter. To include your guests, set up a pin system at the door and ask each attendee to mark where they’ll be traveling next.
Organize a send-off for the graduate with the release of beautiful lanterns. Ask your guests to write well-wishes on the lanterns and watch as they are let go. To get involved with the ceremony, write your future hopes and dreams on a lantern and release it alongside your guests.
Graduation Themed Snack Labels
If you want to improve your snack table, graduation-themed labels can be fun and creative. You can either make these yourself or head online for ready-made options. Find witty label ideas like “O-fish-ally Graduating”, “Reach for the Starburst” and “Aren’t You A Smartie”.
High School Graduation Party Ideas
Frame Inspirational Quotes
Framed inspirational quotes are sure to get people excited for things to come. If you use chalkboards, your quotes can be changed throughout the day to keep people interested. To involve your guests further, set up a large chalkboard and ask them to impart their favorite words of wisdom.
Create A Wisdom Jar For Advice
High school graduates are still trying to figure the world out, so a wisdom jar is a great thing to create at a grad party. Lay out pencils and slips of paper at the door and have your guests write down their top tips for college and beyond.
Decorate With Your College Colors
If you want to get hyped up for college games and events, decorate exclusively with your college colors! To take this idea to the next level, scatter printed college logos and flags around your venue.
Hang Confetti Balloons
Any graduation party will feel special when you have confetti balloons to match your theme. After your party has ended, you can pop the balloons and shower your guests with confetti as they leave. Just don’t forget to clean up!
Get A Tent For A Backyard Graduation Party
To hold your party outside without being a slave to the elements, set up a tent in your backyard for an outdoor graduation party. A simple white tent can be transformed into a party haven with hanging lights, themed balloons, and photo displays. In most cases, a backyard party gives you more space to work with and the ability to decorate creatively.
Design A Polaroid Photo Booth
A Polaroid photo booth is an easy way to create a photo opportunity for your guests. Since Polaroid film can get expensive, setting up this cute alternative is a great way to keep costs down. Decorate the area with flowers and balloons for extra flair.
Have A Popcorn Machine
Nothing says “party” like a popcorn machine. To keep things popping all night long, have kernels on hand and store popcorn bags next to the machine for people to help themselves.
DIY Gift Bags
DIY gift bags are easy to make and will add a personal touch to your graduation party. Sturdy paper bags, a “Class of” sticker, and a peg to keep things together will have this idea sorted in no time.
Class Photo Banner
For a fun and easy decoration idea, create a class photo banner. Choose photos that run from kindergarten to graduation to show just how far you’ve come. Take note of how much your style has changed over the years.
A commemorative video is sure to get tears flowing. Before the grad party, get each high school guest to submit their favorite memory to you and edit these together before the big day for a touching tribute.
Party Hashtag Frame
Having a dedicated Instagram hashtag for your party is a fantastic way to keep track of everyone’s pictures. Make sure your guests know what hashtag to use by placing party hashtag frames around your venue.
Sweeten up your high school grad party by serving endless s’mores. If you can, set up a small campfire or BBQ to let your guests roast to their heart’s content. As with any snack bar, keep an eye on stock levels throughout the day!
If you want to remember all the fun and special times you’ve had with your friends, take a trip down memory lane with a dedicated memory jar. For this idea to work, you will need paper slips, a large jar, and a signpost. When the night is over, you can recount the many amazing experiences that made your high school and college years memorable.
Keys To Success
Learn how to succeed in college by getting motivational tips and advice from your guests. Stick a large pin board on the wall and place plastic keys on a table underneath the frame for your guests. As your guests leave, ask them to share their best secrets to becoming successful in life. They can write their thoughts on a slip of paper and hang it on the board with a key.
Baby Photo Banner
A baby photo banner of your graduating class is a funny idea that everyone will appreciate. If possible, have a central organizer who collates the photos so you can guess who’s who during the party.
Graduation Party Ideas For Daughter
A Polaroid guestbook is a beautiful memento for any graduating high school girl. Set up a Polaroid guestbook near a wall and ask guests to sign the book with heartfelt messages that your daughter can read after the party.
Heart Drop Photo Frame
A heart drop photo frame is another unique souvenir for any high school graduate. Wooden hearts, a slim frame, and a black marker are all you’ll need to make this happen.
Bright Future Bulbs
Make creative and cute DIY graduation souvenirs by giving your daughter’s guests a light bulb filled with candy. Cheap jars shaped like light bulbs are readily available for purchase online, and you can unscrew the caps and fill the bulbs with meaningful items. Attach a witty note to your gift and everyone will remember your amazing grad party.
Flowers are a must if you’re planning an outdoor graduation party for your daughter. Simple floral arrangements will do wonders for plain party tables, and any girl will appreciate seeing her favorite flowers on display.
Walk Down Memory Lane
Decorate the front of your house by lining your driveway with adorable pictures of your daughter growing up. Not only is this a great way to signpost your house and party, but guests will adore watching your little one grow up as they head to the front door.
Now that your daughter has moved the tassels on her graduation cap, it’s time to use them as decoration. A DIY tassel garland is easy to put together, and bright colors that match the party theme or high school colors are terrific to use as bunting.
To keep mess to a minimum, celebrate your daughter’s huge milestone with a cupcake stand. Chocolate graduation caps or year markers are cute cupcake toppers, and there’s no cutting required so guests can just grab their cupcake and go!
Graduation Party Ideas For Guys
Guys love to grill and eat so celebrate your success with a backyard graduation BBQ. Just be sure to check in with your guests beforehand to account for any allergies before you turn up the heat.
Collect all the class photos captured over the years and craft them into a DIY graduation wreath. If your party is being held outside, laminate the photos to stop them from getting damaged in a downpour.
Chalkboard Speech Bubble
A chalkboard speech bubble will quickly turn your graduation party into an Instagram sensation. Encourage your guests to get creative and see what fun phrases they come up with.
Have A Bar Area
A drink stand is a great centerpiece for any guy’s graduation party. Fill your bar with signature cocktails, whisky, vodka, tequila, beer, and wine. For guys and girls who don’t drink, offer the option of mocktails, juices, and water.
Spice up your dessert station with dazzling diploma cookies. To make your treats look like scrolls, wrap a small ribbon around the center of each long wafer cookie and place them neatly on a plate!
Pin The Tassel on The Grad
Throw things back to your early fifth birthday parties with Pin the Tassel on the Grad. Featuring the same rules as the traditional game, this is a fun party activity that any graduate will love. To encourage friendly competition, award a prize to the person who gets closest to the edge of the cap!
Jenga Block Memories
Make a game out of your guest book with a Jenga block memory tower. After they try their luck, ask them to write down their favorite memory of you and put it in a box for later. If it topples, just stack it back up again!
Graduation Party Themes
One Smart Cookie
This graduation party theme is one of the sweetest around. Not only is this a cheap theme to pull off, but it’s an original idea that everyone will love. Make your cookie table a focal point with large chalkboards, scales, and milk jugs!
A sports theme is a memorable idea for any student who played for a team at college. To celebrate reaching your graduation goal, decorate your venue with team memorabilia, sports colors, and themed snacks.
Rose Gold Themed Decorations
A rose gold theme pairs perfectly with floral elements and will make the graduate feel like a princess for the day. A rose gold balloon garland, foil flowers, and glitter are must-haves for this party theme.
A tropical island party is ideal for grads who love piña colada (and getting caught in the rain). Make your party special with prawn cocktail glasses, coconut serving bowls, and tropical table runners. Bright balloons and Hawaiian leis are excellent decorations as well.
If you’re not ready to let go of college life, bring the good times back with a school spirit party! Decorating with your school colors is a wonderful way to remember your college career and your friends will appreciate the familiar décor.
Shoot For The Stars
This graduation theme is both cute and classy. Celebrate the universe being at your fingertips with trendy decor in black, gold, and silver. Large confetti balloons and star lamps are lovely extras to include on your central table.
Donut You Forget About Me
Food-based themes are all the rage right now and offer cute and edible decor that your guests can enjoy. If you don’t want your grad party to be forgotten, then deck the place out with pastel pink and gold balloons. On your central table, use bright tassels and lights to draw attention to a sprawling display of donuts, pastries, and all types of desserts.