It seemed like this day would never come, and all of a sudden, it’s here. Full of smiles and tears alike, a graduation (from preschool on through graduate school) is a time for family to come together and celebrate the accomplishments of your one and only graduate … though it can be a little bittersweet for parents. While it can feel tempting to hold on to your graduate as long as possible, send them off in style with a backyard party to remember! They’ll thank you, and you’ll have tons of memories of the day to look back on. Below, we’ve collected tips and tricks from graduation parties to make sure your kid’s graduation party is as amazing as they are!

The Food


All blue custom celebration decor
Blue decor Party City

Especially if you’re not doing a full meal for guests, finger foods and candies can easily be coordinated to match either the grad’s school colors or the colors of whatever theme they choose. Use clear glasses to display M&Ms and licorice in any color, and match the cake or cupcakes too!


Delightful diplomas that are edible
Edible diplomas Celebrations

The diploma is probably one of the most important pieces of paper in your grad’s life right now, so why not play it up with the snack choices, too? Use this recipe to wrap nutella in diploma-shaped puff pastry or simply tie a ribbon around pirouette cookies to celebrate this incredible achievement.


Swimming pool coolers for a hot summer day
Swimming pool coolers KiethZarsPools

To keep soft drinks cold and stocked throughout the party, try this ingenious hack: blow up an inflatable kiddie pool and fill it with ice and the drinks! They’ll stay cold and guests can see what’s available without you having to constantly play host.

The Feel

Barbeque Blowout

Patio grilling in celebration
Patio grill OCMom

Backyard barbeques are easy for graduation parties - you can feed lots of people without having to remodel your kitchen just for prep purposes, and the feel is already laid back, giving you some time to relax and take in the day.

Pool Party

Swimming pool decor that you can do yourself
Swimming pool decor PartyPeopleECC

A little less traditional, but having a pool party can create a fun, silly atmosphere for your grad to “take the plunge” into adult life. Plus, decorations are fairly easy - think about theme-colored balloons floating in the pool, and especially if you’ve already got an outdoor kitchen, clean up is almost easier than planning.

Graduation Gala

DIY backyard grad decor
Backyard DIY DIYNetwork

If you’ve chosen to go the fancier route to celebrate, you can create an elegant feel with dimmed lights and classy music. Try decorating with confetti-filled balloons, and set up a classy drink station or even a sundae station. Don’t forget decorative straws and drink labels!

The Future

Card/Memory Box

DIY grad decor for your home's interior
DIY interior decor Pinterest

The future is really what the celebration is all about, isn’t it? But it’s important for your grad to look back on their past, too, and what better way to keep the memories close than with a card or memory box for guests to put their favorite memories into? Not only will it give you something to look back on after the party is over, but the memories will help your grad feel at home as they move on.

Key to Success

More DIY items around the home
DIY signs BitzofMe

A fun way to let guests leave advice for your grad is with this 'key to success' DIY! Find as many old-style keys as you can at a thrift store or craft store, and have guests write any bit of advice for your grad’s future on the attached tag. The frame can be displayed in a dorm room or new apartment, too!

Photo Booth

Get a photo booth to preserve the memories
Photo booth ideas Etsy

Guests will have tons of fun taking pictures with this at-home photo booth, which can be silly or classy but is super-easy to set up and keep with the theme. You can have guests use their phone and provide a selfie-stick, and props can be bought or made depending on the look you’re going for. Put up a sign with an Instagram hashtag so guests know how to post photos for you to save (and see the other photos you take)!

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