College graduation party ideas and planning tips

College Graduation Party Ideas


When someone graduates from undergraduate or graduate school, they deserve to party, and party big! Use these easy college graduation party ideas to celebrate your grad in a big way!

College Graduation Invitations
Make the graduate the center of attention from start to finish. They've earned it! The invitation should match the style of the graduate. Tray one of these great ideas:

  • A personalized graduation invitation will set the tone for the party. I'd also put some graduation confetti in the envelope!
  • Consider a completely custom caricature invitation. These are truly unique, and the caricature can be used for your life size cutout, candy bar wrapper and more. Incorporate the things that make your graduate special.
  • It would be fun to base your caricature on a famous college movie, like The Graduate or Animal House. Have your caricature drawn as a movie poster!
  • We love these photo graduation invitations where you just choose the color and add a picture of the grad.  Perfect for an easy college grad party!

Whatever you decide, make sure to send out your invite 6-8 weeks in advance.  Guests' schedules quickly fill up with other graduation parties, weddings, showers, etc.  You don't want your friends and family to miss out!

Graduation Decorations and Party Supplies
Make sure you choose a few easy decorating ideas to help make your venue stand out! To start, hang a graduation banner outside on your house so that that everyone knows where the party is!

A few more of these decorating tips will really set the tone for your grad party:

  • Inside decorate in gold and silver tones, which look sophisticated but are still fun! Try the graduation cap garland for your ceiling, and the golden star garland everywhere else!
  • Use your caricature art and have create a 3-sided centerpiece base with the art. Fill the base with shreds and have balloons coming out of the top. Or, you can fill the base with flowers for a fun and formal look.
  • A life-sized cutout is the perfect way to greet guests at the front door! If you are not going with a caricature, have it made into a cutout.  Or how about one made to show off their chosen profession, like our male doctor and female doctor life-sized cutouts, or a favorite hobby, like this fisherman? Take a look through our full selection of life-sized cutouts.
  • Make sure to have a sign-in table where guests can leave their gifts in a grad cap cardbox and write their well wishes and advice on a graduation sign-in board!
  • If you're hosting an evening party, light up your walkway with graduation luminary bags which you can personalize with the grad's photo.

Don't stop decorating at your party's entrance!  Make the rest of your venue pop with amazing table decorations.

Graduation Table Decorations and Menu
Your graduate deserves a delicious meal after working so hard for their degree, so spoil them with a fantastic fare at your event. Make your life easier and have everything catered. See if the grad's favorite restaurant does catering, and you're good to go!

You also don't necessarily need a formal sit down meal. A nice selection of passed appetizers and food stations would be wonderful, too. Or just have heavy hors d'oeuvres.
Since many of your guests will be over 21, your catering company may be able set up a beautiful bar if you like. Ask them to mix up a specialty drink and name it after your graduate! If you're serving champagne (for the inevitable toasts), put balloon bouquets with champagne bottle balloons at the bar to let guests know where to find the bubbly! Light up champagne glasses are a nice touch, too.
These college graduation party ideas for centerpieces can really add flair to your tables:

Sprinkle some graduation confetti on the tables to finish off your look!

Graduation Party Games Activities

Usually graduation parties are all about socializing, reminiscing, and congratulating the graduate, and activities are not necessary to keep your guests mixing. But a few cames can be essential if you are going to have a large number of people who have never met, or just want to add something fun for your guests to do.

Here is our favorite college graduation party ideas for activities and icebreakers:

  • Trivia Sheets - Create trivia sheets with questions that pertain to the grad's area of study. English major? Try matching the author with their famous novel. Did the grad just get a master's in mathematics? Set out logic problems. A new doctor is in the house! Anatomy identification anyone? Just print out activity sheets and leave out pencils; everyone will be mingling in the hopes of finding someone who has the answer to #8!
  • Graduation Photobooth - Set up a photo booth with a Class of 2015 photo op! Print the pictures before guests leave as favors.
  • Memento Table - Older family members especially love to reminisce, so set up a table filled with photo albums and scrapbooks of the grad.  You might choose to display school pictures of the guest of honor (from kindergarten through grad school!).  Hang them on a clothesline or have them framed.  Guests will love leafing through everything!
If you're hosting an open house or outdoor party, consider setting up a few of our outdoor party games!

Graduation Party Favors
Personalized graduation candy bars are the best kind of favor, the chocolate-y edible kind! You personalize the wrapper with info about your grad (and many styles allow for a picture too) so that it is just one more way to show how special the graduate's accomplishments are!

Or pass out one of these other great personalized favors:

Don't forget to handout personalized graduation favor bags so guests have somewhere to put all of their goodies! 

Good luck planning your college grad party, and congrats from the Party Girl!