Shop
Ideas and Inspiration for Every Occasion | Shutterfly

College Graduation Party Ideas and Themes

So, your scholar has made it through college and that in itself deserves a big celebration. It’s time for the real world which, for a college graduate can mean off to more schooling or the job market both very exciting next steps in life. But before we get ahead of ourselves, we need to celebrate the bittersweet ending of this chapter. Your college graduate deserves a big celebration for their academic accomplishments. We’re here to help inspire you to throw the best party of your college grad’s academic career. Use these college graduation party ideas to celebrate your grad in a big way.

Of course, the overarching theme for the party is going to be ‘graduation,’ but you’re going to need a little more detail to pull a whole party together. So, the first step is to decide on a theme for the graduation bash. After deciding on a theme, it will be easier for you to go out and find party supplies, themed food, desserts, pick out the proper graduation invitation wording and more. We are excited to share some of our favorite grad party ideas below.

Major Specific Bash

Show off what your graduate has just spent the last four or so years studying with a graduation party that is specific to his or her major. This is a really great way for guests to know exactly what the guest of honor has been up to and what he or she is going to be up to with their college degree. If you’re struggling with what colors to go with for this party, a great idea is to choose the colors of the college your grad went to. If he or she has just graduated from nursing school, you can go with a red colored theme. It is all up to preference. Say your grad just got his or her teaching credential; you can add fun décor like shiny red apples and rulers throughout the celebration. Get creative when celebrating your graduate with this exciting grad party.

Glitz and Glam

Your grad deserves a flashy celebration to say the least, it really takes a lot of hard work and determination to earn a degree and it’s time to celebrate in style. Gold and silver are the perfect colors to use when decorating for a glitz and glam themed college graduation party. These colors look sophisticated, but still have that fun element every party needs. Hang banners around the venue and incorporate stars for a little extra detail. These college graduation party ideas are just what you’ve been looking for.

Then & Now

This fun grad party idea is a true celebration of the graduate and the party décor will revolve around him or her, just like it should. Print and show off old photos and make a timeline from when the grad was younger until now. Set up a table at the party with old diplomas or accomplishments and also the grad’s college diploma. What a fun look back on everything your special young scholar has accomplished. Not to mention, your guests will get to enjoy looking back on just how far the grad has come.

Job Specific

Where to next? That’s the question that will dictate everything from the décor to the food at this graduation celebration. Your college grad has his or her degree in hand and is ready to take on just about anything. If your graduate has committed to an employer after graduation, why not celebrate where they will be next? You can print the company’s logo and even have cupcakes made with the logo of where he or she will be working. It’s so exciting and definitely something that your grad is proud of and wants to share with friends and family.

Follow Your Dreams

As one door opens and another door closes, it’s important to be reminded to follow your dreams and chase after what you want. Recent college graduates deserve to hear that again and what better way to tell them then with a follow your dreams college graduation party? When it comes to party décor for this dreamy theme we know that streamers are a must. Go ahead and attached clouds and stars to the ends of the colored streamer and hang them above the dessert or snack table. It’s also fun to have the ‘follow your dreams’ sentiment stylishly shown off at the party. Design the sentiment on a sleek metal print or a framed canvas print and place it where everyone will be able to enjoy it. When it comes to picking out the party food think gold star shaped goodies and finger foods if you’re not planning on serving dinner.

Classic Black & Gold

With so many graduation party ideas out there, it can be hard to choose what the perfect way to celebrate your grad is. A classic theme to go with is black and gold, the perfect combination of mature and fun. There is a lot of graduation party décor and supplies out there in the colors of black and gold, which make it easier to plan out this themed bash. Incorporate photos of your young scholar throughout the party and his or her year of graduation too. Frame the photos in black or gold colors and hang them from colored balloons. When it comes to the desserts, you can find black and gold cupcake toppers for that extra special touch that the guest of honor deserves. For some more celebratory toppers, you can easily find graduation caps to stand on your sweet treats.

The Graduates College Colors

Show off your college spirit with a graduation party that incorporates the colors of your graduate’s alma mater. Incorporate the colors in the party supplies and decorations. One of our favorite college graduation party ideas is to hang banners that showcase the year of graduation as well as a few graduation wishes. You can also incorporate your mascot when thinking about the party décor. What’s important to remember here are all things about where you’re receiving your diploma from (think colors, think mascot, think degree.) Use these elements when decorating the party set-up, choosing graduation party invitations, and ordering the grad’s cake. If you’re sending out graduation announcements as well as your invitations, assure that you are using the proper college graduation announcement wording to create flawless graduation correspondence.

Hotter by One Degree

This theme is definitely a fun way to celebrate your grad, who just got hotter by one degree (funny, huh?) Think orange, yellow and red colors when it comes to décor details and party food. Snack foods like orange Jell-O and individual veggie trays, featuring bright vegetables like carrots and bell peppers, make for great fire-like party snacks. For the sweet treats, make cookies that look like diplomas and add the year of graduation as well as some flames with frosting. Speaking of diplomas, show off the one your grad earned at the party so everyone can enjoy it. Balloons are a graduation party must-have! Some trendy party balloons include having giant numbers for the year of graduation. Go ahead and add some red, orange and yellow balloons in there as well to complete the look with hot hues.

Backyard BBQ

If you’re looking for some easy party ideas then a backyard BBQ theme is what you’ve been missing out on. All you really need for this celebration is a couple of items to throw onto the grill and party decorations. If you don’t want to go out and splurge on a lot of party supplies just use items related to the graduate that you can find around the house. Hang old photos and maybe your grad’s senior pictures around the party location, you can also showcase the grad’s diploma and other academic achievements

Beach Themed Graduation Party

We’re bringing the sun and the sand to the party with these beach-y grad party ideas. If your young scholar enjoys the beach as much as we do, then they are sure to enjoy this bash. Add seashells to the party tables and utilize bright blue hues in the party décor. Fill clear glasses with sand and add candles for the perfect beach-y centerpieces. Utilize sand boxes as snack holders, which makes the theme a little more playful. Speaking of playful, it wouldn’t be a party without streamers. Don’t forget to hang these around the party location for that extra touch.

Sweet Ending to a New Beginning

This party idea is all about the sweets (need we say more?) As one door opens and another closes it is fun to look back on the amazing memories and welcome the sweet ones to come. Display the sentiment ‘sweet ending to a new beginning’ around the party. Incorporate bright colors into the décor like red, yellow and blue. You can also incorporate the colors of the school you’re graduating from for a more regal feel. It wouldn’t be a sweet ending without candy galore. Have a candy bar at the party and utilize bright colors in the décor to say goodbye to the grad’s sweet college career.

Classic Congrats Graduate

This theme is where you can have fun with the colors you choose for the party, you can even use your grad’s favorite colors. Hang bright banners around the location of your party and go crazy with the desserts. You can easily find grad party supplies with graduation quotes and sayings . These classic graduation party ideas are the perfect way to say congratulations graduate.

Make the graduate the center of attention from start to finish when planning the party because in all honesty, they deserve it. Graduating from college is no easy task and requires tons of hard work and determination. If you are sending out announcements along with your tri fold graduation invitations, reference our guide to college graduation announcements etiquette to make sure you’re following proper protocol. 

After all the planning is done and the party is in place, don’t forget to enjoy this time with your college graduate and celebrate all of his or her accomplishments. You should also be sure to send out graduation thank you cards with the proper wording to thank your guests for celebrating with you. We hope you enjoy these college graduation party ideas just as much as we do. Happy party planning!