This post is all about how to throw the best graduation party.
You’ve thought about your graduation party for years now, but its finally time to actually yours. You have thought back to previous years and wondered what made those “best grad party of the year” parties so great.
When I graduated high school two years ago, I was so concerned about having a grad party that would be remembered by everyone.
I sat on Pinterest for house looking to find some inspiration (which btw, Pinterest has like no good grad party inspiration!!). After throwing my own grad party and attending what feels like 100 others, I have come up with the 10 things that all the best and most memorable graduation parties had.
This post shows you 10 ways on how to have the best graduation party of the year.
1. Food is the most important part.
Let’s be real, everyone always cares about the food. If your decorations suck but the food was amazing, people will remember your party as a great time. So, if you’re going to nail one thing, have it be this ;).
There’s a lot of different directions you can go about what type of food to have. The best parties I have been to had a full meal (and not just little snacks). For my graduation party, we had a ton of different dinner options for people to choose from (and I am almost positive there was vegetarian options as well). We had a sandwich of sorts (I believe baked ham), chips, fruit, and salad. We then catered in a few things like BBQ pulled chicken, mac n’ cheese, and another fruit salad. Ya know classic party food that people always like.
For my sister’s graduation party last year, they ended up getting a ton of different pizzas and displayed them on really cute cake platters. They had a bunch of different sides that went great with pizza and it was a big hit (while being super easy!).
HOWEVER, if you’re willing to fork out some cash, a food truck is so much fun!! We tried to get a food truck at our party but they were all booked so if you’re considering doing that decide now to book it! Yes, it could be a little more expensive but if you and your parents don’t want to deal with the food part of the party, get a food truck. It makes a statement and is (usually) so good. Honestly, the parties from my high school that had this, got a ton of talk about how good it was just because of the food truck.
2. Have decorations from start to finish.
I had the same theme for my party from start to finish. On the invitations, I carried the same “logo” of sorts into a bunch of other parts of my party.
I had my graduation party with my friend at her house (she has a beautiful backyard!) which was in the middle of the neighborhood. While most people did know where her house was, I made signs that you could put at the front of the neighborhood streets letting all the guests know that this is where the party is. Below is a picture of what I am talking about. If money and time weren’t an issue, I would have done flowers draping on top of it, instead of balloons.
We also incorporated our theme through all the lettering and even our Snapchat filter. I went on Pinterest and found a font that I really liked and downloaded that to my computer. I then printed it out how big I wanted it, and would trace it onto all the wood that I wanted to paint for signs. It was a cute way of making everything look like it belonged together.
Moral of this all, try to keep your theme constant! It will make it look much more put together.
3. Incorporate a photo wall.
Having a specifically decorated wall that people can take pictures in front of is so cute AND gives them something to do. People also will put the pics on social media and make your party look really good.
You can make a photo wall super easily, so I would look at Pinterest for inspiration. For mine, I wanted to incorporate the year I graduated and wanted it to be big enough for enough people to fit in. I also didn’t want it to be too “busy” so I kept it pretty simple.
My friend I had the party with is an amazing artist, so she actually made this. She made it by going to Home Depot and getting two boards of wood. She then painted them with the design we wanted and we put them together leaning up against a wall that had enough room.
We didn’t have a ton of extra props for the wall but Target did have some in their party section that had champagne, a mustache, congrats sign, etc. So check there if you are looking for something like that!
4. Have really freaking good desserts.
Here it is again: the food! I think we can all agree that desserts are a must at a graduation party. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant but you need something.
For my graduation party, we got desserts catered in, had my boyfriends mom make her famous Rice Krispies, and got a sheet cake from Costco. Nothing too fancy, but all delicious.
NOW, for my sister’s graduation party, I wanted to do something that was a little “cuter”. So, I made a donut wall! I got a peg board from HomeDepot cut to the size I wanted and then put little dowels where I wanted the donuts to go. It was really cute but I think people were scared to eat a donut and ruin the look of the wall, SO if you are going to make this for your party take one or two off in the center so people know that they can take it off and eat one :).
5. Give your guests things to do.
There is nothing worse than bored guests. Sure, guests will just talk for a little bit after a while, they want something to do.
Some of the best activities I had at my party or that I have seen done is yard games, volleyball court, karaoke (so fun, especially if people are a little tipsy), blowup jump houses, and bowling. At my party, we also had a video slideshow going of pictures of my friend and I while growing up (I think this is pretty standard at graduation parties now).
It doesn’t have to be anything over the top, you just really don’t want guests to be bored.
6. Have a memorable wall for guests to look at of you growing up.
The whole part of graduation parties is to celebrate how far you have come and almost the “ending” of your childhood. Almost all graduation parties have pictures from when you were growing up, so figure out a way to present it that is super cute!
Since my party was for two people, we both each got our own board. The boards I made were put together from pallets and then were stained. We got our pallets from my boyfriends’ dads company, but there are literally pallets everywhere so check around and you will be able to find some. We stained the pallets with a color we liked and then nailed our pictures into it. I also got another piece of wood where I painted our names and where we were going to college. Here are two pictures of my board and then my friend’s board (below).
7. Decorating the eating tables with some type of centerpiece.
First things first: If you can figure out a way to NOT use plastic table clothes, you are a serious winner. I know they are much more expensive, but it looks so much better!
Now to the main point, put something in the center of your eating tables to make them look a little better. It could be flowers, pictures of you, your high school mascots, really anything!
It will make it look a lot more interesting than just not having anything there.
8. YOU NEED GOOD MUSIC.
Seriously, music is so important. I personally suck at music, but my friend has a killer music taste so she put together the playlist. You can read the Prime Sound reviews from here to know about the various music services that they offer.
Make sure that your songs go the length of the party (or loop them if they don’t) and that you have loud enough speakers! Have some “cool” songs in there but also add classics like Sweet Caroline and Brown Eyed Girl. I also personally wouldn’t add any inappropriate songs because of adults and families but hey, if that’s your thing, then go for it!
Check Spotify for stations too. I am sure hundreds of people have created playlists for their grad parties that you might be able to use for yours.
9. Places for people to sit.
This one is simple, but make sure that your party has enough seating for everyone! At first, people will be standing and talking, but after awhile they will want to sit down and eat.
Nothing is worse (dramatic, obviously;) than not having seats for all your guests so they have to eat standing up or sit on the floor. Just a little thought that not everyone thinks about!
10. Have alcohol.
I may get some stick with this one, but I am very serious. The graduation parties where there was alcohol were the best parties. I know that you are not legally old enough to drink BUT from my own grades experience, parents loosen up an insane amount about drinking after you graduate high school. And, since most graduation parties have families there, the parents of the kids will probably be there.
And honestly, drunk parents are so much more fun than sober parents.
At my graduation party, we had jello shots and a margarita bar. OF COURSE, the high schoolers weren’t “allowed” to drink the alcohol but mysteriously a lot of it disappeared and the adults claimed they didn’t drink it all so someone had to have… you get it;).
Obviously, this is not a must, but I would at least ask your parents if they would consider serving alcohol.
There are a million things happening for all of you graduating, so don’t let your graduation parties stress you out!
If you follow these tips, you’re guaranteed to have a successful party. And a little food for thought, no one cares about graduation parties as much as it seems in the moment. Just remember, enjoy your time with all your classmates, the truth is that you probably will never see half of these people again.
These 10 tips will show you how to throw the best graduation party of the year and the one people talk about years later.
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