17 Ideas for an Amazing College Graduation Party

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. Whether big or small, a graduation party should be all about the graduate and what they want to do. It also allows parents, friends, and family to celebrate. 

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

  1. Contact your graduate's friends and family and ask them to send photos of them with the graduate, along with a sentence or two about how they met or a favorite memory. Create a memory board of these sentimental moments for everyone at the party to enjoy. 
  2. 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 permanent markets to make it especially festive.
  3. 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. 
  4. Did your graduate go Greek? If so, have a few items on display with the fraternity or sorority letters and mascot. 
  5. Create a timeline with class photos of your graduate through the years to hang up at the party. Label each photo with the grade and year it was taken or play a game and have guests guess the grade and age.

Entertain and Enjoy

  1. Ask one of your graduate's friends to put together a music playlist for the party featuring your grad's favorite songs. 
  2. Everyone has some advice to give to a new graduate. To gather these words of wisdom in an organized way, create an advice jar Get some colorful pens, small pieces of paper, and a large jar, and ask your guests to share their best advice with the grad. 
  3. What's a party without games? Graduation mad-libs are fun and easy to play. Another fun game is "Who am I?" Have guests write down a memory they shared with the graduate, read them aloud, and have the guest of honor guess who wrote the memory. 
  4. Instant print cameras are 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. Tape them into a blank book for an instant memento. 
  5. Create an Instagram hashtag for your grad's party so everyone can share their photos on the app. For example, #Kelseygrad or #MattMichigan. 
  6. Hang a wall map and get small flags. Encourage all of your guests to write their name and college alma mater on the flags or a piece of paper and stick them on the map in the right location. 

Eat and Drink

  1. If your graduate spent a semester abroad, use that country as the theme for the food and drinks at the party. For example, serve a pasta bar for Italy, tapas for Spain, or fish and chips for England. 
  2. A signature cocktail named for your graduate is a fun idea. 
  3. Make a few fun graduatio-themed treats like colorful cupcakes or cap and gown shaped cookies. 

For the Guests to Take Home

  1. 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 need to keep in touch with your graduate.
  2. Summer-themed party gifts can be cute or practical. Mini sunscreens, beer cozies, or sunglasses are all great parting gifts. 

One Last Thing

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