24 Graduation Party Ideas To Celebrate Their Achievements

Celebration ideas for grads of any age.

kindergarten graduation party

Sue Barr/Getty

Once the tossed caps settle, it’s party time. Whether the graduate in your life has newly completed pre-k, high school, college, or any milestone between, a celebration is due to mark their achievements. Honor your grad with a springtime bash full of their favorite people and foods to acknowledge all of their hard work. 

Because graduations often mark a time of change, throw a bash that celebrates not only what they have accomplished in the past, but where they are heading in the future too. Show them that you're just as proud of their next chapter as they are the one that has just closed. For example, if your high school grad is off to college, mark the occasion with their new spirit colors to demonstrate your school pride and pride in them for how far they have come. Gather up your loved ones eager to express their congratulations and get the party started with our best ideas for graduation parties.

01 of 24

Garden Party

Garden Party Table Setting with Pink Peonies
Robbie Caponetto

Take your festivities out into the garden for a lovely springtime graduation celebration. Continue the scenery into your tablescape with bouquets, cabbage ware, and sweet treats to munch on.

02 of 24

School Spirit

Mixed pattern tablescape
Robbie Caponetto; Styling by Buffy Hargett Miller

Decorate your party scene with colors that celebrate their achievements, past and future. Take inspiration from their school colors, whether that's the school they are coming from or heading towards next school year.

03 of 24

Thoughts That Count

Southern Living Wedding Present
Julia_Sudnitskaya / Getty

We all want to give gifts that will be appreciated and graduation parties give us a unique opportunity to succeed in doing exactly that. Here are some ideas on gifts that will help your grad onto their next step in life.

04 of 24

Favorite Subject Theme

Book page paper garlands


Celebrate your graduate's school days by honing in on their favorite part of those days. Take inspiration from their favorite school subject whether it's an english literature themed bash like this one, a science lab celebration, or anything in between.

05 of 24

Cap Cakes

Graduation cupcakes

Emiliya Lambeva/Getty

Bake cupcakes in your graduate's favorite flavor or try something new and special for the occasion. Top your cupcakes with cutesy decorations suited for a graduation bash.

06 of 24

Mimosa Bar

Mimosa Bar Ideas

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Unless your grad is celebrating their college degree, this suggestion is for the adults in attendance. Here's how to wow your guests with a make-you-own-mimosa bar.

07 of 24

Porch Party

Porch DIYs

If you've got a large and luxurious porch that's ready for company, this is the perfect excuse to take advantage of it. Host a porch party for stunning al fresco entertaining.

08 of 24

Party-Perfect Buffet

Kentucky Derby Party Buffet Recipes
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham; Food Styling: Erin Merhar

For entertaining a crowd on this joyous occasion, a buffet is an easy way to keep guests satisfied without having to prepare a sit-down meal. Choose small bites that are easy to grab and go so that upbeat guests can continue celebrating.

09 of 24

An A+ Menu

Bacon-and-Sweet Onion Jam

Hector Sanchez

Today is all about the graduate, so be sure to put some of their favorite meals on the menu. Here's more party-perfect dishes to earn you full marks at the event.

10 of 24

Champagne Toast

Christmas Table Decorations: Make a champagne bar
Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

Cheers to them! Make sure that everyone at the party has a glass of bubbly (champagne for the adults, apple cider for the kids) to clink after a heart-warming speech about how far your graduate has come.

11 of 24

Small But Special

Intimate Boho
Lindsey Marie Photography

For the shy graduates who have had enough attention on them that day for a lifetime, show them you care with an intimate celebration. Keep your guest list tight but make the moment memorable by doing something out of the ordinary like this lovely setup.

12 of 24

Brunch Bash

A Blushing Bridal Brunch
Dawn Elizabeth Studios

Host a morning or early afternoon celebration and serve up your favorite big-batch breakfast treats. We even have recipes you can prepare ahead of time for easy entertaining prep.

13 of 24

Smart Cookie Cake

Deep-Dish Skillet Cookies
Alison Miksch

We're not above a little light-hearted pun to suit the occasion. These deep-dish skillet cookies are tasty as can be and perfect to celebrate your smart cookie on their graduation day.

14 of 24


Hydrangea Flower Arrangement
Van Chaplin

With a little coordination, all of the flowers given to your graduate on their big day could become a centerpiece for the celebration thereafter. Hydrangeas will always be a crowd-pleaser and are sure to impress your grad and their guests.

15 of 24

DIY Spritzers

Summer Cocktails
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

A spritzer is just the thing to refresh your party guests during a hot spring day celebrating your graduate. Set up a station so guests to mix up one just to their liking with a fun Southern spritzer bar. It's both an activity and a refreshment.

16 of 24

Monogrammed Everything

Cocktail Bar
Photo: Erica George Dines

Your graduate is the star of the show during their graduation party, so it's only fitting to have their name and initials as a key part of the decor. Set up scenery with their initials or take the opportunity to break out some of the things you have had monogrammed for them over the years—because we know you have.

17 of 24

Refreshing Mocktails

Pineapple-Sweet Tea Punch
Johnny Autry; Prop and Food Styling: Charlotte L. Autry

Delight in champagne cocktails and spritzers, but be sure to include non-alcoholic options as well. Stir up some tasty zero-proof sippers that everyone can enjoy.

18 of 24


Graduates with balloons

Melanie Acevedo/Getty

Balloons are a classic bit of party decoration, and in our opion, you can never have too many. Balloons that spell out their name, future college, or graduation year are not only fitting decor, but a great photo opp too.

19 of 24

"Oh, the Places You'll Go!"

24" Dr. Seuss™ Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Hot Air Balloon Hanging Lanterns

Oriental Trading

No matter if your grad has just wrapped up elementary school or secured their degree, this theme is sure to be a hit. Inspired by a fan-favorite Dr. Seuss book, an "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" party with these lanterns is nostalgic and aspirational.

20 of 24

Show off Yearbook Photos

Natasha Lawler Butlers Pantry Christmas Garland
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Take your usual holiday card display ideas and repurpose them to exhibit your graduate's school photos throughout the years. The finished result will be a timeline of their growth that just might draw some tears.

21 of 24

Crowd Around The Campfire

Fire Pit
Alison Miksch

Host an intimate fire-side gathering for a day or nighttime graduation party. As they roast marshmallows around the fire, guests are sure to get nostalgic and share school days stories of their own.

22 of 24

Cool Off With Frozen Treats

Buttermilk-Peach Popsicles
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Whether your graduate's ceremony takes place in May or June, here in the South, odds are that it's going to be hot outside. Be prepared with lots of refreshments and homemade cooling treats to break the heat.

23 of 24

The Old College Fry

From-Scratch Oven Fries
Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Buffy Hargett

Fries are not only an excellent pun, but a great food for entertaining too. Whip up some homemade french fries for guests to munch on and set out your favorite dipping sauces, too.

24 of 24

Picnic Party

double wine tote

Courtesy of Dillard's

If you don't have a table or porch to accommodate all of your guests, a picnic is an adorable and resourceful way to celebrate. Pack some picnic baskets to drive home the theme and make for convenient party snacking.

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