Graduation from high school or college is an exciting time in anyone's life. It's a great accomplishment and we can't think of a better excuse for a party!
Fun Tip: You might consider combining your party with another graduate. That way you can share the work and finances required for a successful party, and sharing a common goal can be fun.
Pick A Theme
It's always a good idea to have a theme even though it is a graduation party and that in itself is a great theme. But try adding some interests or hobbies of the graduate and all of a sudden you've made it more memorable. These can include anything from sports, flying, gourmet cooking, dancing, to body building!
College Bound: Deck the walls with college pennants, banners and jerseys from the graduate's new school. Use the college colors as part of your decorating theme.
Rockin' Dance Party: Graduation's a big deal and everyone deserves to party and party big! A Rockin' Dance Party is a great choice if the graduate likes to dance and party. This works well when you are combining your party with another graduate's. Make sure to include a DJ!
Roast 'Em: That would be the graduate, not the burgers and dogs! Have a People Magazine Cover poster made of the graduate and put it on an easel near at the front of the room. Use an old photograph taken from years ago alongside a current color one, making sure it tells a story, humerous or otherwise! Or have a caricature drawn of the graduate depicting hobbies and interests, go to Kinko's and have a large poster made of it.
Try a Hawaiian Luau which is a relaxed and fun party. Greet your guests with leis, hang tropical fish from the ceiling and palm trees on the walls, have guests wear grass skirts and dance the limbo. Have hula contests and ground surfing contests. Serve grilled fish, roasted pork, salads, fresh fruit, and rice.
Barbecues are easy, tried and true, and everyone always loves the food. Set tables in gingham tablecloths, with matching plates and napkins and serve hotdogs and hamburgers.
Location, Location, Location
If you are not sure where to host your party, your theme will help point you in the right direction. Luaus and barbecues work great in backyards or parks, roasts are best in a private room in a hotel or club house where there is a sound system. A dance party could be held in a disco, nightclub or hotel as you will need a sound sytem and dance floor. College bound could be hosted in a private home or a rented room. Keep in mind that there may be a lot of guests coming and going due to the likelihood of several parties going on at the same time.
Compare calendars with your family and friends to find a date that works. Remember, weekends around graduation get pretty busy. Not only will you be competing with other graduation parties, but also weddings, baby showers, and team or club banquets. As soon as you've picked the date, let your out-of-town guests know so they can plan a trip and have others reserve the date.
Party invitations should be fun and simple and also set the mood for your event. You can use the many assorted pre-packaged versions that match your tableware design, have custom-made ones, or use your creativity and make your own. Here are a few ideas to inspire:
- Make a diploma invitation. Write your party details on a cream-colored sheet of paper with a black marker or calligraphy pen. Roll it up and tie a red ribbon around it.
- Create an invitation that reads like a final exam. Example: 1) If you were going to (name)'s graduation party, you would expect:
- A buffet with exotic foods
- A great Hawaiian punch
- A chance to do dance the limbo
- All of the above
At the bottom, fill in the party details
Use the school colors for the invitation, one color for the card and the other for the envelope.
Add a photo or caricature of the graduate to the invitation.
If you are going with a theme, be sure to carry it through to your invitations.
Decorating can be as simple as hanging crepe streamers and arranging balloon bouquets in the school colors around the room. Other ideas include:
Hang a "Congratulations Graduate" banner. Personalized banners can also be made.
Decorate tabletops with graduation confetti.
For a high-school graduation, hang up pennants and banners from the college they'll be attending. Decorate using school colors, alternating both colors for place settings.
For a college graduation, hang up want ads, brochures and advertisements from companies in the graduate's field, or highlight the company for which they'll be working.
Plant a yard sign with the graduate's name on it in front of the house to help guests find the party.
Use graduation caps as centerpieces and fill with candies or use as a weight for a balloon bouquet. If someone is into football, use that as a weight for your sports related balloons.
Don't forget to incorporate your theme into your party favors and decorations! If the graduate likes basketball, you'll find lots that you can tie-in, including nametags, confetti, napkin rings, centerpieces, and anything else you can think of.
For a variety of personalized products, announcements, keepsakes, photo albums, gifts and more, visit our online graduation store.
Decorate A Card Box
As the traditional graduation gift is money or a check placed in a card, it would be smart to create something in which to collect the cards. Wrap a medium size box in gift wrap and cut a large hole in the top to put cards through. Tie some balloons to it. Secure the box to the table and place it away from the door for security.
Have everyone sign a guest book. A great idea for such a special occasion. Have a space where they can leave personal messages for the graduate. Put down some ideas to get the ball rolling such as, "He'll be the first man to walk on Mars" or "I couldn't have had a better friend in high school". This will be a wonderful momento for the graduate to look back on one day!
Tableware Buying Guide
Use the guide below to estimate the amount of supplies you need for your graduation party. Don't get caught with a short supply.
|Beverage Napkins ||2-3/person |
|Lunch/Dinner Napkins ||1/person (sit down dinner) |
|Cutlery/Place Setting ||1/person (dinner party) |
(plus extra spoon/fork for dessert)
2/person (cocktail party, forks only)
|Plastic Cups ||4/person (cocktail/outdoor party) |
2/person (dinner party)
|Coffee/Hot/Cold Cups ||2/person (cocktail/buffet party) |
1/person (dinner party)
It's traditional to use plates, napkins and cups in coordinating school colors.
Personalize The Party
Honor the graduate by displaying some of their awards, trophies, accomplishments and old photographs. Don't limit the photos to just the graduate, but include friends, family and teammates. Post the photos and momentos on poster boards or eisels and dress them up with stickers, tickets, memorabilia and other decorations.
If you are having a luau theme party, check out some of our Luau Recipes.
Entertainment & Activities
Have a job interview. Have the grad's best friend prepare some tough questions as if giving an actual interview.
Drew's Famous Graduation Party Music is a great mix of songs for a grad party.
How much you want or can afford to spend should be set firmly at the outset, and the amount adhered to. For some, food may be more important than drinks. Others may want to spend more on entertainment or the location. Whatever your choice, bear in mind that an open house is usually less expensive, and easier, than a sit-down meal for a large number of people, especially if the meal involves renting equipment and paying professional staff to help. Borrowing tables and chairs, as well as using disposable tableware is a big saving.
Print out our Party Checklist.