Graduation party: black balloon with the word CONGRATS designed on it

It’s a big year for someone extra special — they’re becoming a grad! It’s time to get started with party planning to throw them an incredible graduation party that honors all their achievements on the journey so far.

If you’re ready to start planning a graduation party, you’re in the right place. Explore our best party planning tips, ideas, inspiration, and recommendations. Here’s to celebrating your new grad in style!

How to Throw the Best Graduation Party

Planning a grad party is a lot like planning any other party. You’ll need to decide on your guest list, set a date and time, and find a fun venue. Beyond that, there’s the entertainment, decor, menu, and party favors to consider. Here’s how to plan an incredible graduation party, step by step.

1. Choose a Fun Venue

Your graduation party can’t happen without a venue, so let’s tackle that step first. Think about how many people you’ll be inviting, what kind of activities you might want to do, and whether you want to host at home or hire a venue.

Most people host graduation parties at home, in their backyard, or at a family member’s home. Another great option is to hire a venue like a community hall, local pool, or the grad’s favorite restaurant or hangout spot. You could also get together with other grads’ parents and throw a shared grad party to celebrate everyone together.

2. Give Your Graduation Party a Theme

Graduation parties don’t need a theme to be fun, but having one can help you with party planning. Consider your guest of honor’s favorite things, colors, and interests, and include them as you approach your graduation party theme.

For an easy college or high school graduation party theme, stick with the school colors. Black, white, and gold also work well as a color scheme — you can pair this with imagery of graduation caps and tassels for a classic vibe. You could also choose a party theme like pastels, florals, nautical, or tropical to inspire your event’s look and feel.

3. Send Personalized Graduation Party Invitations

Graduation party: Simple Script Invitation

Design: Shari Margolin Design

Let your party guests know all about the exciting grad party you have planned with personalized invitations. This is a lovely way to honor your grad’s style and personality right from the start.

We have a beautiful collection of graduation party invitations for your big celebration. They’re all customizable, too, so you can play around with the layout, fonts, colors, and wording until you have an invite that’s as unique as the new grad.

Choose an online invitation design that features a graduation cap and a diploma, one with space for a smiling photo of the guest of honor, or one that highlights the graduation year and their achievements. We love this simple script invitation as it has plenty of space for everything you need.

Our collection of invites complements our graduation announcements and graduation cards, too, so it’s easy to keep all your celebration stationery in the same theme or style.

4. Decorate Your Venue in Style

You don’t have to get too complicated with your graduation party decorations. Often keeping things simple works the best.

Think about the venue space and how you can decorate it and create different party zones. Use your theme and color scheme to inspire centerpieces like bouquets, world globes, or photos of the grad growing up. Style the walls with bunting, garlands, or string lighting. Construct a DIY balloon arch in the school colors, and add some styling above your dessert table.

5. Plan a Delicious Menu

We love that anything goes when it comes to a graduation party food menu. You can hire a food truck to serve tacos, order pizza for everyone, or serve up a feast of delicious home-cooked dishes.

Get some inspiration from these graduation party food ideas if you plan on cooking, or review potential places to order takeout or catering from. Add a fun dessert option alongside the main dishes, too — think ice cream, milkshakes, or candy bars.

6. Capture the Graduation Celebration in Photos

You want your grad and their friends to remember this day forever. What better way to encourage this than by creating plenty of places and opportunities for them to take photos together?

You might hire a photo booth and an event photographer or set up a photo backdrop area where friends can pose for photos together on the big day. Help everyone create a memorable graduation party with fun styling, props, and reminders to be in the moment but snap a memory too.

7. Celebrate Your Grad’s Achievements

Celebrating the Grad Invitation

Design: Jen Montgomery

A high school or college graduation can feel like the end of an era, but it’s also the start of an exciting journey. Be inspired by this to share some of your favorite moments from the guest of honor’s journey so far.

Display a guest book where people can leave thoughtful graduation wishes. Display photos from their graduation ceremony on a photo garland or projected onto the walls. Put together a scrapbook of their best memories so far that they can enjoy forever as a keepsake.

Matching invite: Celebrating the Grad Invitation

8. Make a Toast to the New Grad

This is a time for celebrating, which calls for a toast! Choose an age-appropriate fizzy drink and hand everyone a glass so they can join you in toasting the new graduate.

Prepare a short speech or toast to say congrats to the new grad. Celebrate their hard work, achievements, and amazing attitude. Share your excitement for the next stage of their journey, and ask everyone to join you in wishing them well. If you’re giving them a thoughtful graduation gift, this is also a lovely moment to present it to them.

9. Enjoy Some Live Entertainment

Class Of Invitation

Design: Laura Bolter Design

A graduation party is filled with joy and excitement, making it the perfect bash to feature some lively entertainment, music, or party games.

Ask the grad for their preferences and plan some live entertainment to match. You could ask a friend’s band to play at the event, play DJ and invite everyone to dance, or host an open mic night where the grad and their friends can play songs, sing, and hang out together. Another popular option is to play graduation party games together.

Matching invite: Class Of Invitation

10. Hand Out Graduation Party Favors

When it’s time to say goodbye to your lovely guests, hand them a thank-you gift for spending time celebrating your guest of honor alongside you.

Themed party favors are always a hit, but you can also keep them classic and simple. Cupcakes with grad-themed toppers, personalized candy bars, mini glass tumblers, and personalized keyrings are all fun options.

Celebrate the Moment with These Graduation Party Ideas

Hosting a graduation party for a loved one or friend is an honor. It’s a party dedicated to celebrating their achievements and wishing them well as they embark on a new journey. Use these graduation party ideas to help you plan the kind of celebration they’ll love and remember forever.

Once you’re finished with your party planning, let your guests know they’re invited to the best bash in town with our graduation party invites. Choose a design, customize it to suit your guest of honor, and get your invites out to friends and family members wherever they are.