High School Graduation Party Ideas

A graduation party is all about celebrating the new graduate! We wanted to share some of our best high school graduation party ideas with you so your can plan the most memorable grad party of the season!
Graduation party Invitations
Before you decide on what kind of invitations to send for your party, you need to know what you will put on them and who you will send them to! Here are a few things to think about as you are hammering out the details of who, when and where:
  • When planning a graduation party, timing is everything! June is a busy month for parties... other graduations, weddings and summer barbecues. Ask your most important guests (Grandma, Grandpa, Aunts and Uncles) to check their calendars beforehand to make sure they will be able to attend.
  • If you can host a large party then go for it! Such a major milestone should really be celebrated! I always start with my holiday card list to cover family and family friends. Then add other important people in your grad's life... neighbors, the graduate’s friends (and the parents of close friends), favorite teachers and even coaches.
  • Decide on the guest list, date and time as soon as possible. The earlier you send the invitations, the better the turnout will be!
  • Consider an open house party. Guests can come and go as they please at an open house, so your party can span a longer period of time and accomodate a variety of schedules.
  • Invitations and announcements can be mailed at the same time! Saves a stap and the extra effort.
Now that you have a plan, you can decide on graduation invitations! Since the highlight of this party is to celebrate the graduate, it is only natural to select an invite that features a photo and school colors of the guest of honor! Here are some of our favorite options:
  • Graduation Color Photo Invitation - Perfect for a High School graduation party with a school colors theme. Choose from 6 bright colors, customize the text, and add a photo!
  • Custom Graduation Party Invitations - With many great themes to choose from, you will find the perfect invitation for your party!
  • Photo Ticket Graduation Invitations - The perfect ticket to the hottest graduation party! Add a photo and choose your color. One of our most popular designs!
  • Graduation Announcements and Photo Cards - Don't forget to send along the perfect announcement! You can either send it along a few months before the party, or just stick it in the envelope with the invitation. Whichever you choose, make sure to use the grad's senior picture!
Another great option are our caricature invitations. We just did an invitation of a graduate wearing a t-shirt under an open graduation gown that had the name of the college he was going to in the fall. He had a basketball under one arm, he was standing in his bedroom, his computer screen showed NASA (he's into space travel), he was wearing a stethoscope around his neck (he wants to be a doctor), his dog was at his feet and loads more. It was fabulous and got raves. Plus, the grad's mom said she's going to frame one for her and one for him! Nothing is more personal or more fun, and it screams, "This party is going to be fabulous!"
Graduation Decorations and Party Supplies
Wow your guests right at the entrance and let everyone know where the party is! Pick something bold and eye-catching for the front yard -
  • A life sized standup made from a photo of the graduate is perfect! Add a speech bubble with a welcome message.
  • Go all out with a balloon arch in school colors over the driveway/entrance to the party!
  • Hang a personalized graduation photo banner on the garage door or over the front entrance.
  • Pair twinkle lights on the porch and around the trees with a welcome banner and balloons in the grad's school colors.
  • Make sure to include a sign that says "Please join us around back/inside!"
  • Stencil a school logo on the front lawn with grass paint.
When you decorate your graduation party, go with school colors! Choose the grad's high school colors, or if he's going to college, decorate with university logos, mascots and colors instead.
Make sure to use one or two of these eye-popping entrance decorations:
  • Try lining the walkway leading to your front door with school pennants! Just attach them to sticks and put them in the ground to wave everyone to the front door. Use high school or college pennants depending on which way you decide to go. (Pennants make great favors to take home, too!)
  • Set up a memory table near the entrance that highlights mementos from the grad's life and school years, such as school pictures, academic achievements, awards and honors, sports trophies and even art projects from grade school. Everyone will love looking back and reminiscing!
This general area is also a great place to have a sign in. There are many great ways to set this up, here are a few of our favorite high school graduation party ideas -
  • A graduation sign in board is a classic way to let guests leave a message for the grad. Make sure to match your invitations and favors to pull the theme through the entire event.
  • A guest book photo frame is also fun... guests sign the matte surrounding a senior picture of the grad. Make sure to buy smudge free markers!
  • For a grad who is going away to college, have guests fill out postcards! Then, you can mail them a few at a time to the dorm.
  • Set up a small photo booth area with props and an instant polaroid camera. Guests can take photos and them put them in a nearby photo album.  Have them write well wishes and advice next to their photo for a fantastic party keepsake for the grad!
At your sign in table, have guests write down words of wisdom, hopes for the future, or what they think will become of the graduate so he or she can look back on it in 10 years for a laugh.
Decorations should be simple and coordinated. Here are a few high school graduation party ideas, decorations and supplies:
  • Graduation Balloons - Adds color but also designates important party hotspots (food, beer, games, etc.) They also can help define a space. Tie small bunches along the fence or perimeter of your home, yard or venue.
  • Graduation Party Decorations - Streamers, garlands, ceiling swirls, and hanging lanterns in the grad's school colors are an easy way to decorate your venue. Of course, you'll want them to match the grad's school colors!
  • Put together a video of the graduate growing up and play it over and over on a projector or television. Photo slideshows set to music are fun, too! 
  • Class of 2019 Glasses - Not just for New Year's parties! These are great for graduation! 
Keep the decorations colorful, fun, and simple, and your party space will look amazing!
Graduation Table Decorations
Your best bet is to use disposable paper goods at a graduation party. White Chinet is fine, but you can kick your decorations up a notch by using graduation themed paper goods. Even if you just go with themed napkins and dessert plates, it makes a big statement.
You can use the grad's high school colors for your theme or if the student is college-bound, you may want to use their college colors. Follow these tips for a school color's theme:
  • Layer two table cloths (one of each school color) on every table to create a layered look.
  • Also, have both color napkins at each table--every other place setting. 
  • Balloon bouquets in the grad's school colors make great, easy centerpieces. Add a custom graduation photo cutout of the guest of honor (we can make them mini!), and you're done!
  • Or, take a colored table cloth and put a clear one over it...in between put pictures of the grad with friends and family through the years. You can also include prom tickets, school choir programs, concert ticket stubs, awards, and what ever else you want people to see. The clear table cloth keeps everything from getting messy!

For centerpieces you have lot of fun options:

  • Balloon Bouquets - Make balloon bouquets from latex balloons in the grad's school colors. Always use an odd number of balloons to make the best looking bouquets. Don't forget the coordinating curling ribbon and the helium tank!
  • Baskets or bowls lined with colored napkins - Filled with chips and pretzels, these are tasty and practical centerpieces.
  • Cupcakes and Cookies - Fill a tiered cardboard stand with cupcakes and cookies decorated with frosting in the grad's school colors. It's a beautiful (and delicious!) centerpiece option. 
  • Personalized Graduation Centerpiece - If you like a custom touch, this three-sided centerpiece lets you personalize the wording and add a photo!
  • Graduation Confetti - Sprinkle confetti in the grad's school colors across the  tabletop for added sparkle!
  • Candy "Confetti" - Scatter candy confetti on your tables for a fun alternative! Hershey kisses, mini candy bars, and even individually wrapped mints are great choices.
When choosing a menu, select some of the grad's favorite foods, but remember to make it simple if you are doing the cooking. Who wants to be in the kitchen during the festivities? You can always buy trays of food from a local restaurant and supplement with a few side dishes made by you or some of your more helpful family and friends.
graduation party games and activities

Keep family and friends entertained at your high school graduation with games and activities that appeal to all ages.  Try a few of these party favorites:

Giant Lawn Games - They're all the rage right now! Giant Jenga, tic tac toe frisbee, Connect Four, chess and checkers are all fun twists on favorite classic games.

Bonfire - If you have a suitable out door space, set up an fire ring where guests can roast marshmallows and have smores. Make it a great place to sit and hang out with plenty of seating!

Group Games - Fun minute-to-win-it games are great for large groups that like to compete! Pass out graduation theme prizes, like flip flops, air freshener, a stapler... you get the idea.

Here is a fun game you can play with your guests. Set it up on a table and let everyone write out their answers on a slip of paper.

Name That school/dorm Item
  • Place items that relate to school in an opaque bag - pen, erasure, bottle of white out, flash drive, ruler, school ID, staple remover, highlighter etc
  • Seal the bag.
  • Then pass it around the group and have each person feel the items through the bags.
  • Have the guests write down their guesses.
  • Then open the bag to see how many are correct. Give the person with the most correct guesses the entire bag.
  • If the graduate is going off to college you can play "name that dorm essential" - flip flops, batteries, safety pins, command strips, bottle of pain relievers, shout wipes, mesh laundry bag, pack of raman noodles etc
Graduation Party Favors
It is always nice to hand out a party favor to let everyone know you appreciate them coming to celebrate your graduate. Send your guests home with something special to remember the guest of honor (and party) by: 
Have a fantastic graduation party, and congratulations to the guest of honor from the Party Girl!