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This post is all about outdoor graduation party ideas.

If you’re anything like I was when I graduated high school, then you’ve probably been waiting for the moment to start planning your high school graduation party for years!! I was so excited to plan my graduation party that it was all I thought about for months.

Even though it’s been many years since I graduated high school, I still have so many ideas of what I’d do with my graduation party if I were to redo it in 2024. If you’re a parent looking for ideas for your kid’s graduation party or just a super excited senior wanting to get a head start on planning, I am so excited that I’m here to help!

I’ve listed below 25 outdoor graduation party ideas that either I did at my own grad party or I would do if I was able to redo mine. From cheap and simple to expensive and extravagant, I have got you covered with allll the things high school graduation party.


1. Have a joint graduation party

The best way to have a super fun outdoor graduation party is to have it with friends! Outdoor spaces can be pretty large, so having a joint graduation party will fill up the space so much more.

2. Have an outdoor bar

An outdoor bar is a super fun outdoor graduation party ideas for guys (and girls) who have just graduated college! Guys typically love to drink and while they may not be huge fans of hosting parties, an outdoor bar would make any party so much more fun!

Of course girls can do this too!! I would’ve loved to have an outdoor bar at my college graduation party.

3. Show your favorite photos on pedestals or as centerpieces

Credit: @jevents__
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If there may not be many tables at your outdoor grad party besides the tables for guests to eat at, then showcasing some of your photos and memories on pedestals or stools in pretty frames is a great way to decorate outside.

4. Make signs to welcome people to your party

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This is an excellent way to show your guests how you want them to get to your outdoor grad party. You can also get super creative with signs: you can buy them online, make them yourself, or get them from somewhere local too!

5. Big balloon arches outside

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Most of the time there isn’t a ton of room for huge decorations inside, such as a massive balloon arch, so this would be the perfect thing to incorporate at an outdoor grad party! I don’t think these will ever go out of style, and the bigger they get the more fun you can have with them!

6. Put up a big event tent

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I think it is absolutely necessary to have a tent at any outdoor party, especially if you live somewhere that could be rainy, like I do. If you plan to have an outdoor party and it happens to rain, you don’t want to be stuck with everyone inside!

7. Serve sandwiches

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Sandwiches are one of the easiest graduation party food ideas, but I think they’re even more perfect for outdoor parties. Something about sandwiches and the summertime just goes together so well!

You can serve them really cute as well and they’ll look so great on your food table at the party.

8. Make it an outdoor dinner party

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If you’re not a huge party person then having a small dinner party with your close friends may be right up your alley! This idea has gotten really popular in recent years and I think it is so cute. A perfect outdoor graduation party ideas for daughter.

9. Put out lawn games for guests

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Outdoor graduation party games are an absolute MUST for any graduation party. It’s the perfect way to keep guests entertained and provide something super easy for anyone to do.

10. Serve BBQ food

BBQ at any outdoor event will always be a hit. If you’re looking for a super easy graduation party food ideas, get that grill going and do a little bbq-in’!

11. Set up long tables underneath the tent

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One of the great things about outdoor graduation parties is that there’s typically more room for guests to sit and hangout outside than there’d be inside.

You can achieve this by setting up long rectangular or circular tables underneath your tent. This also creates a lot more room for decorating ;).

This (with the tent idea) is definitely one of the greatest outdoor graduation party ideas of all time.

12. Go crazy with table centerpieces

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Once you’ve got your tables and chairs set up, you need centerpieces! There’s typically no wall space or other table space at an outdoor graduation party, so feel free to do whatever you want with centerpieces! Use photos, mirrors, flowers, etc. and make it as extravagant as you wish.

13. Put food and beverages inside

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If you live somewhere with lots of bugs or wind, it may be a good idea to keep food inside. Nothing wrong with keeping it all outside, but if it were me, I’d probably put a lot of my food inside.

14. Hang up outdoor string lights

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String lights are such a pretty idea if your graduation party is at night or goes later than you expected it to, and a great small backyard graduation party ideas. There are so many ways to hang string lights, and they can completely transform your backyard into a cozy little party space.

15. Hang school colored lanterns inside a tent

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It’s always a great idea to incorporate your high school or college colors into your graduation party decorations. If you’re not sure on a theme, this also makes an easy theme.

16. Rent a food truck

I love this idea!! If you want your friends and family to have the most fun at your graduation party, this is one of the best graduation party ideas outdoors for high school.

It also takes a lot of the work off your hands as far as planning, cooking, and shopping for food goes.

17. Use flowers as centerpieces

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Flowers as centerpieces are always an amazing idea, but I especially like to put them outside. They make an outdoor space even livelier than it already is and flowers always look so beautiful as decor.

Trader Joe’s is the absolute best place to get inexpensive, real flowers, but you can also purchase fake flowers from Amazon that will look just as good!

18. Present drinks in a cute way outside

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Canned or bottled drinks will make your life a lot easier while planning and buying food for your grad party. There are still so many ways to make them look aesthetic and match your party decor, like the metal buckets pictured above.

19. Utilize your garage

People always forget that a garage can double as a space for games and seating for guests. If you don’t want to rent a tent and have a big enough garage to use for the party, this is a great way to save money!

20. Have a separate, smaller tent for food

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If you have a large backyard I definitely recommend having a separate tent for food and beverages. It’ll fill up your backyard more and make the party look a lot more organized if the food is in a separate area.

21. Have a bonfire and s’mores station

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S’mores are an absolute must for graduation parties that end later at night. Everyone loves a s’more and I think this is just the perfect idea for nighttime grad parties.

22. Walking path of graduation photos/memories

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This is such a cute idea and can easily be done on the sides of a driveway as well (perfect if you have a long driveway)! This could also double as a path for your guests to follow to get to your backyard or wherever you’re hosting your party.

23. Big marquee lights

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If you’ve seen any graduation party photos recently, then you have surely seen these big “GRAD” marquee lights. They’re so trendy and make for the cutest decor and photo op area!

24. Make a cute bar station

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If you don’t want to buy pre-packaged beverages, you can definitely have fun with making a cute drink station! A couple fun beverages and some beverage dispensers will make such a cute bar station for guests.

25. Utilize a fence

If you have a backyard fence, don’t be afraid to incorporate it into your outdoor graduation party ideas and decor. Making a photobooth like this one is such a cute idea, but you can also hang photo banners, pendants, or lights on them to make it look like it’s a part of your party.


1. How do you plan an outdoor graduation party?

The easiest way to go about planning an outdoor graduation party is to begin by planning the basics like any other party. Then I would search for specific outdoor ideas on Pinterest and Google to see what things you can do with your backyard space. Putting these two ideas together will give you the perfect outdoor graduation party.

2. How do you organize a graduation party at the park?

Local parks are usually really easy to rent through the park’s website or the city’s website. Just search the name and you should find a way to rent a park or pavilion. All you really need to do is make sure you’re able to bring all of your decor to the park on the day of your party! I also recommend bringing yard games or other activities for your guests to enjoy! I think yard games (like corn hole) are the best part of graduation parties and definitely an essential for an outdoor graduation party.

3. What should I wear to an outdoor graduation party?

Since graduation parties are typically always in the summer, it’s always a good idea to dress warmly but not too casual. Especially for an outdoor graduation party, I’d recommend a sundress, casual skirt, or a cute top and jeans with white sneakers or sandals.

4. How do you plan an open house graduation party?

Planning an open house graduation party is just like planning a regular graduation party. The only thing I’d recommend is, if you’re having snacks and then an actual meal, do not put out the actual meal until 1-2 hours into the party. This is typically when most people are at an open house party so it’s the perfect time to put out the main course!

5. What is the best food to serve at a graduation party?

There are soo many amazing food options to choose from for a graduation party! Check out these blog posts I’ve made on the best graduation food ideas and graduation party food ideas.

6. How many hours should a graduation party be?

I think graduation parties shouldn’t be any longer than 3-4 hours. Typically people won’t stay the whole time anyway, but the graduate can get really tired socializing with everyone they’ve ever met for more than 4 hours, lol.

This post is all about outdoor graduation party ideas for high school.

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