some of the party girl's favorites...
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 best 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 who, when and where details -
- When planning a graduation party, timing is everything! June is a busy month for parties... other graduations, weddings and summer parties. Ask your most important guests (Grandma, Grandpa, Aunts and Uncles) to check their calendars beforehand to make sure they will be able to be there.
- 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 better the turnout will be!
- An open house party is where guests are expected to come and go as they please, and can span a longer time to accommodate different schedules.
- Invitations to a graduation party can also be mailed with graduation announcements (save a stamp).
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!
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 she 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
- Balloon arch in school colors over the driveway/entrance to the party
- Gigantic "Congratulations Graduate" banner for the garage door
- Graduation Custom Yard Signs
- Grad Corrugated Yard Stakes
- Twinkle lights on the porch and around the trees, pair with a wecome banner and balloons
- Sign that says "Please join us around back/inside"
- Line the walk with tiki torches
- Stencil a school logo on the front lawn with grass paint
When you decorate your graduation party, go with school colors! Usually people choose the colors from the high school, but if the graduate is heading off to college then those colors are another great choice.
Make sure to use one or two of these entrance decorations:
- Up the driveway or leading to the walk to the party entrance, think about putting 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.
- Or, go with these custom graduation luminary bags with the grad's picture!
- Next to the cutout, set up a memory table that is filled with 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. Have it 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.
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 designate important congregation points (food, beer, games, etc.) They also help define a space. Tie small bunches along the fence or perimeter of the space.
- Graduation Wall Decorations - Easy, colorful and fun! Great for outdoor areas too (cover that boring fence, decorate the door)!
- Put together a video of the graduate growing up and play it over and over on the TV. Photo slideshows set to music are fun, too!
- Speaking of pictures... designate someone with your camera to get pictures of your graduate with guests, grandparents, aunts, uncles, special friends, etc... you'll be much too busy and you'll appreciate having the pictures later!
- Class of 2017 Glasses - Not just for New Year's parties! These are great for graduation!
Just keep the decorations colorful, fun, and simple and it will look great. Check out all of the 2017 graduation party supplies for more easy ideas.
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.
- 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!
- Tabletop Graduation Photo Lanterns - These vinyl lanterns are personalized with your photo and wording, and come with an LED candle!
- Balloon Bouquets - Make balloon bouquets from latex balloons in the 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 lined with colored napkins, or bowls - Filled with chips and pretzels, these are tasty and practical centerpieces.
- Personalized Centerpiece - If you like the personal touch this three-sided centerpiece lets you personalized the wording and add a photo!
- Graduation Confetti - Sprinkle confetti in the grad's school colors across the tabletop for added sparkle!
Food is important. Select a menu 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
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:
- Custom Candy Bars and Wrappers - Tie your whole theme together with matching candy bars... a sweet party favor guests will love.
- Personalized Lollipops - How many licks does it take to finish off this colorful party favor? 2017!
- Personalized Mint and Candy Tins - A great party favor that can be customized with your choice of wording and even a photo!
- Personalized Water Bottle Labels - These are fun at the event and people can keep their “empties” as a keepsake.
Have a fantastic graduation party, and give my congratulations to the guest of honor!