Gold-colored flowers from the blog post about graduation party ideas.

Ideas for Graduation Party

Inspiring ideas for your graduation party, from flowers and food to outfits and activities. Let me help make your party planning easier.

Graduation Party Ideas 2023

Is there a future graduate in your house? Maybe it’s this year, or maybe it’s next, but perhaps you feel a party coming on? 😁

Yes, it’s exciting, but it can also be stressful. Don’t fall into overwhelm! I’m prepping a checklist for you, and I’ve got lots of tips and suggestions too.

So, take a deep breath; you’ve got this!

A graduation party celebrates the hard work and dedication a high school or college graduate has demonstrated. It’s also an excellent way to gather friends and family to show their support.

We recently threw a party to celebrate Zhengzheng’s graduation. I want to recap some details that went into planning the party to illustrate how you might customize it to fit your graduate.

If you’ve been following along with me for a while, you may know that Zhengzheng (Dave), from Shanghai, China, is our former international student.

Zhengzheng lived with us during his junior and senior high school years. This spring, he completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.

Themes for a Graduation Party

Choosing a theme is the absolute best place to start when planning your party.

You might begin by asking some questions about the graduate. What do they like? Sports? Tacos? Theatre? Plants? How can I bring these interests into the theme of the party?

Narrowing in on one idea will help guide your vision and the party’s overall look and feel.

Choosing a Color Palette

Once you’ve decided on a general theme, next, let’s pick a color palette.

A limited palette will help you easily select the party decor, from floral arrangements and table coverings to balloons and banners.

It’s easy! Simply stay within the palette to achieve overall visual consistency.

Consider choosing the colors of the school the student graduated from, the school they’re going to attend (if college is their post-high school plan), their favorite colors, or the hues that convey the party theme itself.

Pick one primary color and 1-2 complementary colors. For ZhengZheng’s party, we chose maroon and gold as our primary colors as those are the collegiate colors of the University of Minnesota.

Decoration Ideas for a Graduation Party

When decorating for a graduation party, you’ll want to choose items that make your space welcoming but not draw too much attention from the rest of the party.

Ideas include:
Table runners and/or tablecloths
• Candles
• Confetti
try biodegradable confetti (MUCH easier to clean up), flower confetti, or white circle confetti
Photo displays of the graduate
• Awards or accomplishments
of the graduate
• Balloons
spell the year in number balloons
A designated photo area
with props

Make DIY handcrafted gnomes for great grad gifts, then add them to your party decor.

Graduation Flowers

Flowers and plants bring a fresh element to any party and are a fantastic way to pull in your theme colors!

As you can see, we chose various red and yellow flowers that incorporated the University of Minnesota colors.

Limiting yourself to only two kinds of flowers in your two theme colors is not necessary.

Feel free to use a variety of flowers. Have fun; mix and match the textures and combinations to create a pretty bouquet that still carries through your colors.

Party Food Ideas for Graduation

Food is the centerpiece of every graduation party. The possibilities are truly endless, and it’s an opportunity to bring in the graduate’s tastes and preferences.

Here are creative ideas for foods that feed a crowd:

Burrito Bowl Bar or Walking Taco Bar
Waffle Bar
Pizza Bar
Sandwiches, salads, and fruit
Catering from the graduate’s favorite restaurant
Pasta Bar
Champagne Bar for a college graduation

Graduation Dessert Ideas

Regardless of what you choose to serve as the main course, dessert is always a good idea. 

You could go the traditional cake route, but several other options are a bit easier for grab-and-go. 

For example, cupcakes are a fun and portable cake option, while DIY dessert bars like this Ice Cream Sundae Bar are unique and interactive. 

We opted for a simple homemade dessert bar with several different bars and cookies so our guests could choose their favorites. Or more than one favorite. 😂

Graduation Party Outfit

Pinterest is full of outfit inspiration for the grad, but what about mom, who likely spent hours coordinating and planning the party?

Here are some Amazon options I think you’ll love! Most are available in many colors and prints. Just click on the photo to check them out.

Opt for something casual enough not to outshine the graduate but still a bit more formal than your everyday wear.

If the graduation party is in the spring or summertime, remember that you’ll likely be running around and want something that keeps you cool.

Graduation Party Activities

Keep your graduation party guests entertained with fun games and activities. 

I created trivia printouts with questions about the graduate. It was fun to see people engaging and comparing answers. 

Don’t forget to buy door prizes for the winner(s)!

I also prepared small note cards for the guests to share words of wisdom or advice for him—something personal for the grad to reflect on for years to come.

Consider yard games like bean bag toss, ladder golf, bocce ball, or giant Jenga (Affiliate links are underlined.)

A “photo booth” with a backdrop and photo props is always fun. Alternatively, a polaroid guestbook would be a great keepsake for the grad.

Jot down advice or favorite memories with the graduate, write them on strips of colorful paper, and put them in a jar as a gift for the grad.

Bubbles are fun for kids and adults alike! (Affiliate links are underlined.)

No matter what you choose to do for your graduation party, I hope these tips help inspire your celebration.


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