Inspiration Blog

Graduation Party Tips: How to Celebrate in Style

Whether high school or college, graduations are an occasion to celebrate. It’s a way to bridge the gap between one chapter in your child’s life to the next. No doubt emotions run the gamut, but pride is sure to be at the top of the list. Here’s how to plan and throw a grad party that communicates just how proud you are!

Grad Party Tips

Who makes the list…

Who will be on the guest list? Is this a party for only family members or will you extend the invitation to classmates and neighbors? Budget and space constraints will drive this decision.


The when and where…

When will you hold the party? The date and time need to be strategic, because you may need to consider summer vacations and other classmates’ parties. Regarding the latter, an open house style is best because people can come and go without feeling obligated to stay for hours and miss out on other engagements. An all-day party from noon to 6 pm may be convenient for guests who want to have the evening free.


As for the venue, you might consider transforming your backyard into party central, if space allows. Tents can provide shade and shield guests from potential rain. Plus, fresh air is never a bad thing. Don’t forget about the linens, tables, chairs, and other must-haves!


If you’d rather not host at home, alternatives include neighborhood clubhouses, local restaurants, and event venues. (Just know that you may be required to work with a specific caterer if you go this route.) You will likely need to put down a deposit to save the date, so plan accordingly.


Casual or formal…

Will the party be laid back and casual or more of a formal affair? The style and theme you select will help as you plan the other elements of your party. For example, you might opt for a Hawaiian luau theme, Mexican, or think outside the box by playing on the graduate's future plans.


Invites or E-vites…

Will you send formal invitations in the mail, Facebook, or an E-vites platform to manage RSVPs? Whichever, make sure the invitation reflects the theme and communicates any important details. For example, if hosting a pool party, you’ll need to ask guests to bring towels.



Whether you enlist help or plan to give it a go, you’ll need to have a game plan. If your party is centered around a theme, like a luau or a fiesta, the food should reflect that. Think pork sandwiches on sweet rolls, pineapple, and mango dip, and a taco bar for the latter. If you don’t have a particular theme in mind, a meat and cheese platter and veggie tray are classic standbys. The same goes for chips and dip.



Balloons, streamers, and flowers are safe bets. If you have a theme, plan your decorations based mainly around the theme. For instance, a class themed party will call for incorporating school colors OR the upcoming collegiate institution’s colors. But you don’t have to stop here. Some parents like to break out the baby pictures or home videos. (Just make sure to clear it with the graduate to avoid any unintentional embarrassment).


Band, DJ, or Playlist…

Will there be a live band to entertain your guests? Are you using a DJ for your party? Maybe it’s as simple as a speaker and your favorite playlist? Summer schedules fill up fast, so you’ll need to make a deposit as soon as you have a date set.


Here’s to throwing an EPIC grad party!

For more, check out our Budget-friendly Graduation Party Ideas blog article!

ALSO – AAYS has tent rentals for pickup and drop-off! Download our DIY Tent Setup Instructions and plan to do it yourself - so easy!

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