Congratulations! You have a graduate! Whether it’s high school or college its such a great feeling. Today I am going to share with you lots of Graduation Party Ideas that will take your party to the next level!
The first thing I want to say is congratulations to you Mom and Dad. It’s not easy being a parent, especially in this social media day and age. If you made it through then you deserve a party yourself!
Graduation Party Food
The first thing you need to tackle for the party is deciding what food to have. If I do one thing for you today then I urge you to decide NOT to do all the food yourself. Why? Because you don’t need to be running around all day prepping food and dealing with it during the party. You will be exhausted before your guests even get there. For a few hundred dollars you can have someone do the food for you and you will be so glad you did.
For my first daughter’s grad party we went with a Taco Truck. You see, while in high school she basically lived at Chipotle. I thought it was very fitting for her to have Dos Hermanos cater her party. They have a booth at the North Market which is downtown Columbus. If you are ever in Columbus you have to go to the North Market!
They brought a cart and hauled it to my backyard and served all the guests. They had about 5 different things to choose from and it was fabulous! All I provided was chips and salsa, and drinks.
For my youngest daughter’s party, she decided to have Chris’s cakes come. They serve pancakes (and flip them in the air to you), sausage and orange drink. We had her party in the morning from 10-1 so it was perfect. All I had to serve was drinks, fruit, and dessert.
Graduation Party Desserts
There are so many options on desserts! We got a cake from the local grocery store for my oldest. Cupcakes are also very popular.
Have you seen those cookie cakes? We do one for my kids birthdays, and have for about 10 years now. They love them and I make it myself. I save soooo much money by making it myself. I just take a premade cookie dough log from the store, spread it out evenly on my Pampered Chef round stone and bake for about 25 minutes. Then I ice it myself.
This year cookies are all the rage. I have been seeing sugar cookies everywhere with either the high school on them or the college the kids are going to. I make a ton of cookies at Christmas and sugar cookies are one of my specialties. (Hint – I use the Betty Crocker sugar cookie recipe and double it, then the Martha Stewart Royal Icing recipe. You’re welcome 😋)
So I cut the cookies into squares and rectangles, baked them and put white icing on them. When that was dry I used green icing to write Ohio or OU, depending on how big the cookie was. (My daughter will be attending Ohio University in the Fall and Green and White are their colors.)
Graduation Party Decorations
Warning, I go a little overboard here. I am a picture fanatic! When my kids were little I had their pictures done very often to capture how much the change over the months and years. I also always had my camera at the ready. So here is what I did for pictures:
First I took every school picture from 1st to 12th grad and hung them like a banner.
I took the picture and cut a piece of black cardstock around it leaving a little extra at the top to write what grade it was. Taped the picture on it and hole punched a hole in each top corner. I then strung a piece of twine through the holes and attached to my mantel. My daughter loved this, she said her hair went from blond to dark then back to blond! 😂
I took presentation boards that fold open and created three picture boards out of them. One had “The Early Years”, which was basically from infancy through preschool.
The next one was “Elementary School” and the third was for “Middle School” and “High School”. We had so much fun going through all the old pictures and creating these boards. We had forgotten some things and found the cutest pictures. I think this was my favorite part of the whole graduation experience.
If your kids are like mine they tried a lot of sports over their young lives. So I created a sports board across the room from the other three boards. I put pictures of all the sports they did, even if it was for just one season. I also laid out any team pictures or statutes that they got.
Finally, for high school, all the teams in our district create boards for their Senior Night. I created a Cross Country and Track board for my daughter incorporating all the running pictures I had from her first race as an elementary schooler through high school. I had forgotten that she wore a headband around her forehead in middle school. She wanted to be known as the headband runner! LOL
Photo taking backdrop
The kids love it when there is a cute background or photo book with fun disguises to take pictures with. We created a pretty place in our dining room as a backdrop to take photos.
That board and batten I did myself last year. I love how it turned out and made a great place to hang these decorations.
Other Party Necessities
Some things you need to consider are whether you need a tent, table, and chairs. If you live in an area that has strong sun or lots of rain a tent can be invaluable!
When we had our first daughters graduation party we got a tent and I waited so long that I had to rent a tent that was a little bigger than I needed….or so I thought. We had a ton of sun and everyone congregated under the tent. Then at the end of the party, a storm blew through and my husband’s coworkers hung out there and all sat and talked.
Tables and chairs, even if you don’t need a tent you might want to invest in some tables and chairs. Our party that we just threw we didn’t need a tent. I now live with a ton of trees and no area that a tent could really be put up. But we did get 6 round 48-inch table and chairs for our guests to relax in. We were so glad we did!
If you rent tables you will want to get some plastic table cloths. You will also need some plates/cups and silverware. I like to go with black and white here because it can be used for more than just a grad party (in case you have leftovers).
Centerpieces are great for the tables. I pick mine up at a local store called Meijer. They always have great little plants. I added my daughter’s senior picture to a craft stick and stuck it in the plant to personalize it.
That’s the ticket really, personalizing everything to make your graduate feel special. It’s their special day!
I have to give my husband credit. He cleaned the deck and patio a zillion times in preparation for this party. The trees above were not cooperating! As you can see too we had to have some work done on the deck. These stairs got replaced the day before the party! Not gonna lie, I was totally freaking out. But it all worked out in the end.