17 Ideas for an Amazing College Graduation Party

Celebrate your graduate in style

African American family celebrating graduation with cake on summer deck
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College graduation parties are a great opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of your young adult. Give yourself plenty of time to get a date on the calendar and a menu planned so you can be relaxed and enjoy the pomp and circumstance of graduation day. Whether big or small, a graduation party should be all about the graduate and what he or she wants to do - but it's also a chance for parents to be proud and happy about their child.

If you need a few ideas to get you started, here are some that are sure to be crowd pleasers for any graduation celebration.

Decorate and Celebrate

  • Contact your graduate's friends and family and ask them to send photos of them with him or her, along with a sentence or two about how they met or a favorite memory. Create a memory board of these photos and memories for everyone at the party to enjoy. 
  • Order a life-size cutout of your graduate and have your guests sign it. It will be a fun keepsake and a great conversation starter. Get some metallic sharpies to make it especially festive.
  • Decorate your home or party venue with everything in your graduate's school colors. From balloons to paper plates, make it a rah-rah moment for your grad. You can even ask your guests to dress in the school colors if you think they would be up for it. 
  • Did your graduate go Greek? Be sure to have a few items on display with the fraternity or sorority letters and mascot. 
  • Create a timeline with class photos of your graduate to hang at the party. Label each photo with the grade and year it was taken. Your family and friends will love to see your graduate as he or she has grown through the years. 

Entertain and Enjoy

  • Ask one of your graduate's friends to put together a music playlist for the party featuring your grad's favorite songs. 
  • Everyone has advice to give to a new graduate, from how to manage their money to what to wear to work. Create an advice jar for this purpose. Get some colorful pens, small pieces of paper and a large jar, and ask your guests to share their best advice with the grad. This will also help to free up the conversation for more than just "when I was your age" conversations. Another fun option for this is a word of advice photo booth - rent a photo booth for the party and have your guests write one or two words on a chalkboard and take photos with it. 
  • What's a party without games? Graduation Madlibs are fun and easy to play. Another fun idea is "Who am I?" Have guests write down a memory they have of your graduate and then read them aloud to him or her to guess who the person is. 
  • Instant print cameras are all the rage - a little old school and a lot of fun. Pick up one, along with plenty of film and some graduation props, and let your guests take photos of themselves and your graduate.
  • Create an Instagram hashtag for your grad's party so everyone can share their photos on the app. For example, #Kelseygrad2016 or #MattMichigan2016. 
  • Hang a wall map and get small flags. Have all of your guests write their name and college alma mater on the flags or a piece of paper and stick them on the map. 

    Eat and Drink

    For the Guests to Take Home

    • Order business cards, inexpensive or luxe, with the graduate's new address, job info, email address, phone number, and their graduation photo. This is a fun way to give everyone the information they will want to keep in touch with your graduate.
    • Goody bags for guests to take home are a fun idea.

    One Last Thing

    • Be sure to order thank you notes for your graduate to use to write to all of the guests and acknowledge their gifts.