How to Host a Memorable Graduation Party

graduation party themed cupcakes
lll0228 / Getty Images
  • 01 of 22

    Party Like a Pro

    Three girls in graduation caps and gowns
    Erin Drago/Stocksy United

    Throwing a memorable graduation party does not require a professional event planner. Things to consider, such as location, invitations, party food, and decor, are merely starting points and easy enough to tackle on your own.

    It's not every day you have the chance to celebrate a graduate. A graduation is a momentous occasion where friends and family gather to make and share memories. To allow yourself to indulge in festivities along with everyone else, it's best to have a plan beforehand. With a couple of party planning tips, you will be on your way to creating memories that will last a lifetime.

    Here are some simple ideas for hosting a memorable day that your graduate will appreciate.

    Continue to 2 of 22 below.
  • 02 of 22

    Party Planning

    Woman reading folder at desk in living room
    Kevin Dodge/Getty Images

    Planning ahead and creating a timeline are essential to remaining within your budget. A great first step is to write down all the expenses for your party. This will help prioritize the order of your tasks. After you have your list of items to buy, look at your usual schedule and make an actual timeline of when you can accomplish these tasks.

    Party Planning Checklist from The Spruce

    Continue to 3 of 22 below.
  • 03 of 22


    Woman at table paying bills
    Gary Houlder/Getty Images

    A budget is the least fun aspect of party planning but may be the most important. A budget will keep your buying in check and allow you to get only what you need for the party. Etsy and are great resources for graduation party essentials that you can buy without leaving your home. Planning a graduation party on a budget is made easier by buddying up with the graduates' companions or close friends. You can also try making most of your decor and party favors to cut down on costs.

    30 Graduation Party DIYs from The Spruce

    Continue to 4 of 22 below.
  • 04 of 22


    House Exterior
    Paul Bradbury/Getty Images

    Location, location, location as they say. Have you thought about where you will be hosting this momentous occasion? Your own family home might be large enough to host the event, or maybe a friend or family member is open to sharing their home. Another popular option is renting a hall or country club for the occasion. With this option you can include caterers and planners to handle the details of the event for you. 

    Continue to 5 of 22 below.
  • 05 of 22


    Graduation Invite
    mattjeacock/Getty Images

    Printing and paper costs can add up if you plan on throwing a large graduation event. Spreading news of your graduate is important but does not have to break the bank. A host can always do traditional announcements through the post. There are definitely some beautiful print options, even free ones! More recently, a popular option is sending invites to a graduation party via email or Facebook, a cost-effective choice.

    Continue to 6 of 22 below.
  • 06 of 22


    High angle view of a party dinner table
    Jeremy Pawlowski/Stocksy United

    Reference your budget to make a grocery list to cover your food needs. You'll need to figure out what kind of food you'll be serving: Is it a backyard BBQ? Potluck style? Will you serve snacks and desserts only? Order pizza?

    It's also useful to make a list of people you can count on to help you prepare food for the big day. Set assigned tasks to help things move along smoothly. A shared google doc is an easy way to organize your troops.

    Continue to 7 of 22 below.
  • 07 of 22

    Rice Krispies Treat Graduation Cap

    In the case that your graduate is not a big cake person, consider this life-size cocoa krispies treat graduation cap for your celebration. The only downside is that this looks almost too good to eat!

    Cocoa Krispies Treat Graduation Cap from Hungry Happenings

    Continue to 8 of 22 below.
  • 08 of 22

    Sparkling Sugar Cookies

    To grow your dessert table offerings, we suggest these sparkling sugar cookies. If you are considering gift bags to hand to your guests, these glitter cookies would make a great addition. 

    Sparkling Sugar Cookie from Kristi Murphy

    Continue to 9 of 22 below.
  • 09 of 22

    Candy Cup Hats

    These candy cup hats are adorable to surround your dessert table. Hand these out to your guests as they arrive to get the party started. These will be a hit, especially with those chocolate lovers who prefer a peanut butter center.

    Candy Cup Hats from Bakerella

    Continue to 10 of 22 below.
  • 10 of 22

    Edible Image Cake

    This trick is for the host trying to save time and money but still wants a creative cake for their graduate. Edible images can be anything from a phrase or quote to your graduate's actual face. The edible image is a satisfying project for those bakers-in-the-making. 

    Edible Image from The Cake Blog

    Continue to 11 of 22 below.
  • 11 of 22


    Cocktails on a party table
    Kevin Klein/Stocksy United

    An RSVP count is helpful when it comes to planning beverages and the bar. Some questions you might need to ask include: How many children will be attending? How many adults and teens? How many people will be drinking? Within the drinkers, how many prefer beer, wine or cocktails? Do you even need to serve cocktails or should you just serve beer and wine? What about punch? Don't panic! Here is a helpful guide for calculating the number of drinks you need and what to buy.

    Estimate Alcohol from The Spruce

    Continue to 12 of 22 below.
  • 12 of 22


    Graduation decor is fairly specific. One staple at the event is a table sharing the graduate's achievements and some memorable photos through the year. A graduation is a wonderful time to reflect through all those special moments and welcome new ones.

    Graduation Decor from Kristi Murphy

    Continue to 13 of 22 below.
  • 13 of 22

    DIY Balloon Superlatives

    Everyone wants to win 'best hair' for the yearbook. Use this fun decor idea to assign all your guests a special superlative. Put the superlative on display with an assortment of balloons. 

    DIY Balloon Superlatives from Studio D​IY

    Continue to 14 of 22 below.
  • 14 of 22

    School Colors

    Decorative Balloons And Ribbons Hanging During Party
    Mridul Cp/Getty Images

    Often graduates like to have a theme for their bash while others might stick with traditional school colors. Either way, it's important to make sure your school and class are represented in the decor.

    Continue to 15 of 22 below.
  • 15 of 22

    DIY Balloon Tassles

    Don't settle for ordinary balloons for your graduate. This festive DIY balloon tassel trick is a playful way to proudly show off those school colors. Balloons are a great cost-effective way to bring color into your party.

    DIY Balloon Tassels from Kristi Murphy

    Continue to 16 of 22 below.
  • 16 of 22


    It's a party, so your guests will be interested in some sort of entertainment. Yard games are a great way to keep everyone having fun. If your yard is big enough, set up a volleyball net for a big group to enjoy. Music is always welcomed by party goers as well, and a photo booth is a good idea for graduates to commemorate the day. If your budget is a bit tight for a photo booth, a selfie stick and backdrop can go a long way.

    DIY Yard Games from The Spruce

    Continue to 17 of 22 below.
  • 17 of 22

    Photo Booth Printables

    Photo Booth Printables

    Props for the photo booth are always a great idea! Print these in advance for photo fun the day of your party. A backdrop is a really cute addition to your DIY photo booth as well–this could be made of simple supplies such as streamers, balloons or a brightly colored fabric or wrapping paper.

    Graduation Photo Booth from Evite


    Continue to 18 of 22 below.
  • 18 of 22

    Gradutation Filter

    Friends taking self portrait through mobile phone
    Morsa Images/Getty Images

    Did you know you can create your own social filter for your graduate? A graduate filter is a great tool to pair with a DIY photo booth. Guests can create their own special keepsakes to remember the graduate and their special day. Take it a step further by adding a printer to your setup.

    Continue to 19 of 22 below.
  • 19 of 22


    Friends with arms in the air at festival concert
    Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

    Make a playlist in advance. Music can be the last thing on one's mind when deep into party planning. Music helps guests feel comfortable as they enter a room. It also helps the party move into the night. Spotify is a great option. It has some easy and helpful playlists already made for you.

    Continue to 20 of 22 below.
  • 20 of 22


    At the end of the day, it's all about the graduation money. Try this money confetti poppers DIY as a playful way to surprise your graduate. They will receive plenty of cards at the party, so have your generous monetary gift stand out with confetti.

    DIY Surprise Money Confetti Poppers from Studio DIY

    Continue to 21 of 22 below.
  • 21 of 22


    Messy room after party

    Keep things organized by keeping a garbage can and a recycling bin out during the party so guests can easily dispose of their cans and bottles. Disposable dishware and serving platters are your friend. If you are hosting the party, this simple tool could save hours on clean up. If you're worried about the environment, opt for eco-friendly materials.

    Tips for Post-Party Cleanup from The Spruce

    Continue to 22 of 22 below.
  • 22 of 22

    Thank You Notes

    Thank You Note
    SchulteProductions/Getty Images

    The best part of the party for the graduate is getting the gifts! Kindly remind them to send out individual thank you cards to each guest who has attended and contributed to the party. Guests will be full of gratitude for the sweet gesture and feel proud to have helped your graduate in the next leg of their journey.

    Writing an Unforgettable Thank You Note from The Spruce