90+ Graduation Party Ideas for High School & College

The school year is at an end, which means that it’s time for a new class of graduates to walk across the stage, receive their diploma and throw their graduation cap into the air. If your son or daughter is graduating this year, celebrate this huge milestone with a fun party. To help you plan your perfect party, we’ve collected 100+ graduation party ideas below; plus a great video for anyone who is thinking to DIY their grad party. For more ideas continue to read on and learn more about the great personalized Graduation products Shutterfly has to offer.

From creative gradation party ideas to tasty graduation cap and diploma-themed desserts, there are ideas here that are great for every graduation party. Explore below to help you discover fun graduation party ideas. Whether you’re throwing a high school graduation party or a college graduation party, you’re sure to find food, decoration and favor ideas here that you’ll love.

With the drinks, appetizers and desserts all selected, don’t forget to make a matching graduation party invite and customized graduation announcements that will delight your guests and your grad. Say congratulations to your graduate with these graduation party ideas.

1. Shadow Box

photo balloons

Source: Shutterfly

Make floating thank you cards. Get pictures of your graduate out where your guests are, by printing the images on thin, 4×6-sized, lightweight paper, and then attaching those images to festive, helium-filled balloons as thank you cards your guests can take home.

2. Tissue Paper Decor

This year sign is easy to make, and it’s perfect for a graduation party. Simply glue tissue paper in the color of your choice to foam-board numbers.

3. Memory Jar

memories jar

Source: Shutterfly

A memory jar is a great way to celebrate the good times of high school. All you need is a decorative mason jar, some pens or pencils and enough strips of paper for each guest.

4. Graduation Cap Cupcakes

graduation cap brownie bites

Source: Lil Luna

Pay homage to the traditional graduation cap with homemade cupcakes — featuring a chocolate cake base, a chocolate graham cracker top and a licorice tassel. The graduation caps will be as tasty as they are festive.

5. Photo Book

photo book

Source: Shutterfly

Contact your graduate’s friends and ask for any and all photographs that show the time that they spent together during their school career. Collect the photos and memories beforehand, and use them to create a professionally printed photo book.

6. Soft Pretzels

For a fun snack, try pretzels twisted into graduation caps. Not only are pretzels a popular snack, they’re easy to serve and won’t make a mess. Provide dips like mustard and cheese as an extra treat.

7. Graduation Candy Class Rings

Looking for inexpensive graduation gifts? On your dessert table, put out sweet and delicious “class rings” for your guests to enjoy.

8. Pretzel Graduates

For something sweet and savory, chocolate-covered pretzel pops are easy to make and delicious. Dip your pretzel sticks in chocolate and use fondant to create mini graduation-themed shapes.

9. Festive Graduation Cupcakes

Whip up a batch of vanilla or chocolate cupcakes. Add a festive flair by using toppers that say the graduation year and “Congrats, Grad.”

10. Fruity Diplomas

If you have little guests, hand out fruity roll diploma favors. Tie them up with a black ribbon or a sweet piece of licorice.

11. Pendant Grad Centerpieces

Add zest to your table centerpieces by creating striped boxes filled with colorful and glittery pendants. Incorporate school colors or the graduate’s favorite hues for a personalized feel.

12. Cupcake Stand

If you’re looking for graduation decoration ideas for your dessert table, check out this adorable graduation cap cupcake stand. Create tiers so you can display layers of delicious cupcakes.

13. Custom Cake

Make your cake just as festive as the rest of your party. Proudly add your child’s graduation year using candy, frosting or candles.

14. School Mascot Decor

Add some school spirit to your graduation party by decorating your desserts with your graduate’s school mascot. Personalize the look by pinning photos of the graduate behind the table.

15. Graduation Cap Treats

Fill champagne flutes with tasty candy to celebrate your smart graduate. Top them off with traditional graduation caps made of cardboard and string.

16. Graduation Pretzel Pops

Create delicious graduation pretzel pops by first covering pretzel rods in white chocolate. Then, attach your graduation year and give each of your pretzels a little chocolate cap.

17. Donut Stand

Donut forget the sugar! For an easy dessert table, grab some colorful donuts from your favorite shop and arrange them on cute platters and cake stands.

18. Spring Colors

A pink and orange dessert bar will make for a bright and beautiful backdrop for your graduate’s party. Add some cotton candy, streamers and macarons to make your setup pop.

19. Taco or Nacho Bar

Host a taco or nacho bar. Perfect for fiesta- or pool-themed graduation parties, taco and nacho bars are delicious and easy to put together.

20. Graduation Cap Toppers

These graduation cap cupcake toppers are too cute to toss into the air! You can easily make them by using black cardstock and a painted bottle cap.

21. Hanging Lights

Use the outdoors as part of your party’s decor. Hang some lanterns or lights on the greenery in your backyard to cast a soft light over your party.

22. Geometric Cake

This graduation party cake takes its inspiration from geometry class with its triangles and squares. Opt for vibrant tones like purple and teal for extra personality.

23. Streamers and Balloons

balloon year tassles

Source: Studio DIY

If you’re looking for a way to make your balloons more festive, attach the graduation year and some colorful streamers. Use this decor as your centerpieces or place the balloons next to your dessert table.

24. Instagram Highlights

This Instagram graduation party idea is perfect for every social media lover. You can use Instagram photos in a banner, as part of your centerpieces and on your invitations.

25. Graduation Cap Tassel Garland

graduation party ideas tassels

Source: Pizzazzerie

Nothing says graduation like tassels — and a diploma, of course! Make your own tassels in your party’s color scheme and use them to add color to any wall or table throughout your event.

26. Soda Bottle Toppers

graduation party ideas diploma hat bottles

Source: Fuzzled Joy

Graduation bottle cap toppers are a cute and inexpensive way to add detail to your child’s party. All you need are a few colorful foam sheets and a hot glue gun to create these fun shapes.

27. Grad Quote Board

Share inspirational quotes with your guests by creating a lovely “Words to Live By” wall decoration. Try a simple color scheme, like black and white, to make the words stand out.

28. Happy Balloons

Celebrate your child with some money-filled graduation balloons. Cut black and gold vinyl into graduation shapes and roll up a few bills to place in each balloon.

29. Feminine Tones

To decorate a large empty space or wall, create this pink and white balloon garland to add color and dimension. Use a silver or holographic fringe to fill the space in between.

30. Photo Trifold

Display your graduate’s photos on your home’s shutters using twine and small clothes pins. Combine the photos with a few inspirational graduation messages for an uplifting display.

31. Arrow Straw Toppers

straw decor

Source: Kara Allen

Point your graduate in the direction of their dreams with these creative arrow straw toppers. Serve your straws with a fun drink like punch or flavored iced tea.

32. Walking Tacos

Everyone loves a taco bar! Set a table with various ingredients like tomatoes, lettuce and avocados. Display a letter board to tell your guests how to build their own taco.

33. Cookie Wreath

Let all of your guests know that your graduate is a smart cookie with this cute wreath. Bring cohesion to the party by choosing cookies as your main dessert. Offer chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin or coconut macarons for variety.

34. Happy Tags

bright future party favor

Source: Love the Day

This bright tag makes for a great addition to a favors bag — filled with anything from candy to a deck of cards. The cheeriness of the yellow tag will make guests smile all the way home.

35. Photo Letters

Create a unique photo collage of your graduation by attaching black and white photos to papier-mâché letters that spell out ‘Grad.’ Your guests will enjoy looking through the favorite memories — from sports season highlights to hangouts with friends.

36. Cake Roll Diplomas

Give your guests delicious cake roll diplomas to enjoy by filling the middle with vanilla frosting. To make them look like real diplomas, tie a ribbon around the center.

37. Cap And Diploma Sandwiches

graduation party ideas diploma shaped food

Source: Sweetology

These delicious graduation cap and diploma sandwiches are perfect for a graduation tea party. Use garnish as tassels and serve on floral dinnerware to tie the theme together.

38. School Color Treats

Celebrate your graduate’s new school by using the school’s colors in your graduation party desserts. For inspiration, take a look at these sweet blue and white Oreos.

39. Photo Bouquet Centerpiece

If you’re looking for graduation decorations ideas for centerpieces, check out this lovely display that shows the graduate growing up. Select photos of sports seasons, school plays and friendly hangouts.

40. Paint Can Party Favors

If your graduate is going to art school, include paint cans as a cute graduation party favor. You can also add a cap and tassel to the top of the can.

41. Words of Wisdom

A graduation party is the perfect opportunity to gather some valuable advice. Create an advice tree for your guests to write some inspiring words for your graduate.

42. International Cookie Buffet

Celebrate your smart cookie with a dessert table filled with different types of cookies from around the world. Try macarons to represent France and almond cookies to represent China.

43. Diploma Cookies

Rolled up chocolate cookies are a great addition to a dessert table. With a ribbon tied around them, they look just like diplomas. All your guests will feel accomplished when they eat one of these treats.

44. Chips and Dips

On your food table, display the graduation year on clear plastic cans or jars. Then, fill the jars with chips and offer tasty dips like queso and guacamole.

45. Yummy Diploma Rolls

Create delicious diploma roll appetizers by filling wraps with a mixture of salmon, cream cheese and spices. Finish with a chive ribbon for flavor and style.

46. Candy Bar

Get your graduate excited about going out into the real world with this cute “The World Awaits You” banner. Hand make each letter out of cardstock and a pen.

47. S’more Sticks

Get pictures of your graduate, guests and other memorabilia from the day to decorate a shadow box. Have guests sign the back of the box with thoughtful messages. Your graduate can take it with them to decorate their dorm room.

48. Silver and Turquoise Scheme

If you’re looking for grad party ideas for girls, take inspiration from this beautiful dessert table featuring sparkly silver and turquoise decorations. From your garland to your graduation card box, deck everything out in this stunning color combination.

49. Cute Grad Cookies

Turn cookies into the perfect graduation party dessert by attaching a cute, edible smiley face with a graduation cap. Balance your dessert spread by offering cupcakes or a fruity dessert like chocolate-dipped strawberries.

50. Dollar Bill Caps

Fold up bills into graduation caps for a creative way to give money to a graduate. Your graduate will appreciate a fun gift that also doubles as an investment.

51. Graduation Cap Cake

Tip your cap to this creative graduation cake idea. Customize it by including school colors and a message to the graduate.

52. Graduation Wreath

photo wall

Source: DIY Beautify

A graduation wreath is a great way to display fun photos of your child growing up. Be sure to top the wreath with a paper graduation cap.

53. Cheery Vibes

For a spring or summer celebration, aim for a light and airy color scheme. Blend together yellows and whites for a carefree vibe that delights guests.

54. College Pennants

Get your graduate excited about their next step with these college-bound cupcakes. Add mini college pennants using toothpicks in your child’s school colors.

55. Fortune Cookies

As your graduate takes the next steps toward their future, invite your guests to look into their own futures with decorated fortune cookies. Fill the cookies with little slips of paper donning favorite quotes and positive messages.

56. Double Graduate Decor

If you’re celebrating two graduates who are going to different colleges, create two food tables decorated with each school’s colors. Streamers, garland and balloons make for great, easy accents.

57. Framed Photo Booth

graduation party ideas balloon frame

Source: Fun Squared

Nothing says party like some fun photo props. Get everyone excited to take photos with a balloon frame made of your child’s school colors. These snapshots will become memories for a lifetime.

58. Cheerful Color Scheme

Add brightness to your graduation party dessert table by decorating with cheery yellow sunflowers. Match your treats to the color scheme by offering lemon cookies and yellow-frosted cupcakes.

59. Happy Colors

Add a pop of color to your graduation party by filing number-shaped dishes with bright chocolate candies. Include other vibrant colors in your decor — like yellow flowers — for a truly festive feel.

60. Beloved Blue

If you want your graduation party to have a serene vibe, cover some large props in mesmerizing blue. Add smaller accents like frames and table decor in the same color throughout your party.

61. Money Cupcake Toppers

graduation decorated cupcakes

Source: Lil Luna

For a creative cupcake topper, add an accordion-folded dollar bill. To make it graduation-themed, attach a cute sticker with uplifting words or a graduation cap symbol.

62. Coordinating Desserts

Whether it’s your child’s school colors or a classic black and gold color scheme, easily incorporate your party’s colors into your desserts with frosting and edible sugar decorations.

63. Painted Wooden Sign

Let your guests know where the party is with cute, custom street signs. Decorate your signs in your party’s color scheme and add a few balloons to make it eye-catching.

64. Sunshine Treats

Put out a spread of chocolate bars in adorable blue and yellow wrappers that feature sun illustrations. These treats will surely brighten your guests’ days!

65. Outdoor Celebration

For a rustic outdoor party, all you need are vinyl tablecloths, floral centerpieces and some candle jars. To incorporate your child’s school colors, add a pennant to each centerpiece.

66. Straw Accessories

Create a fun graduation topper for your straws using black cardstock and construction paper. Finish with a little gold tassel. Whether you’re serving sangria or lemonade, these accessories will be a big hit.

67. Frosted Cupcakes

decorates cakes

Source: Brooke Lark

College is where the graduation cap plays the biggest role. Incorporate the cap as a symbol in your decor is a great way to recognize the importance of what has been achieved.

68. Memory Blocks

Create a sweet keepsake for your graduate by inviting guests to write memories on wooden blocks. Your guests will enjoy helping you build fond memories and a fun, timeless game.

69. Graduation Party Favors

smarty pants candy favor

Source: Love the Day

Thank your guests for celebrating your smarty pants with this bright favors tag. Fill the bag with goodies like matching colorful gumballs and candy.

70. Garden Party

Create a garden on your graduation dessert table by using flower cookies and flower pot decorations. Accent with fresh blooms or fabric flowers.

71. Memory Board

For a graduation decoration idea, try displaying a memory board with some of your graduate’s favorite memories from school. You can include other keepsakes like ribbons, medals and tickets to the school play.

72. Ice Cream Sundaes

Provide single-serve ice cream sundaes. Fill individual mason jars with a scoop of ice cream, and then add various sundae toppings before securing them with a lid and placing them in a cooler.

73. Weather-Friendly Locale

Since the weather can unpredictable, throw a semi-outdoor graduation party under a tent or in a garage. Whether it’s sunny or drizzling, you’ll be prepared to handle both.

74. Graduation Pendants

mason jar flowers

Source: Robb Restyle

Colorful pendants are a great idea for a school-themed centerpiece. You can also combine your pendants with bright flowers and photographs of the graduate.

75. Burger Bar

Burgers are a versatile and delicious addition to a graduation party. You can even make them go with your party’s theme by using creative and cute signs.

76. Colorful Cookies

At the end of your party, give your guests colorful graduation cap cookies to take home. Wrap each cookie in plastic and attach a clever tag.

77. Pencil Centerpiece

If your graduating student has some old No. 2 pencils left over from their school days, attach them to a pencil canister. Fill the decorative vase with fresh blooms for a creative centerpiece.

78. Cupcake Castle

Use rolled wafers and store-bought chocolate to create graduation cap and diploma shapes for your desserts. Use them to top off your cupcakes and place them in a layered pattern on your dessert bar.

79. Framed Invite

For a lovely piece of decor, frame one of your graduation party invitations. You can also have guests sign the frame to create a wonderful keepsake.

80. Graduation Lanterns

Create some fun lanterns as centerpieces for your graduation party. Pick the materials in your chosen color scheme and add a cute graduation cap at the top to tie it all in.

81. Global Get-Up

If your child is ready to travel the world after their graduation, use their dreams as inspiration. Incorporate globes, maps and adventurous quotes to nurture their wanderlust.

82. Luau Theme

Hula skirts, flower leis and a variety of island-appropriate food — up to and including a luau-style pig roast — are the staples of a great luau themed party.

83. Quirky Decor

For the outgoing graduate, get creative with over-the-top decorations. Blend bright colors, patterns and feathers to make your props stand out. A custom party will be one your graduate never forgets.

84. Chocolate Treats

graduation cap candy sticks

Source: Bakerella

To make sweet and delicious graduation cap candies, attach a small chocolate bar to a mini peanut butter cup. Finish with a colorful candy tassel.

85. Glittery Cookies

Select a sugar cookie or shortbread recipe to make picture-perfect treats. These glittery gold graduation cap cookies are almost too pretty to eat. The white tassel is a lovely finishing touch.

86. Photo Wall

black and white photo wall

Source: Tidy Mom

For a sweet and nostalgic decor idea, decorate your walls with photos of your son or daughter growing up. Your photos will bring guests right into the action and make them feel even more connected to the graduate.

87. Photo Wreath

To make a lovely graduation decoration, frame a few of your favorite small photos of your graduate. Hang them up on a black cardboard wreath and place the wreath near the dessert or gift table.

88. Memory Jar

Invite your guests to write down some of their favorite memories with the graduate. Have them place the memories in a decorative jar. The graduate will feel the love as they read through these special notes.

89. DIY Picture Frame

Attach a sparkly frame and a classic tassel to a small chalkboard for an adorable graduation decoration idea. Decorate your frame with the graduation year and an encouraging message.

90. College Color Decor

Your graduate’s new school is a great theme idea for a graduation party. For inspiration, take a look at how this party incorporated University of Mississippi decor into their dessert table.

91. Dollar Dessert

graduation party ideas money cake

Source: Maria Kang

There’s nothing we love more than cake — unless it’s a money cake. Celebrate your graduate with a bang by gifting them some cash for all of their hard work and accomplishments.

92. School Color Scheme

Try providing some food items that match your graduate’s school colors, like this party that incorporated black and red tortilla chips. Coordinate your signage and other decor with your color scheme.

93. Candy Graduation Caps

Give each of your guests their own candy graduation cap to take home by attaching a piece of black paper to a wrapped candy. Finish with a ribbon in your school’s colors.

94. Vintage Style

If your graduate is a lover of all things vintage, adding a few old items like some hardcover books and a trunk will do the trick. Use them as decor or as a fun backdrop for your photos.

95. Lit Graduation Sign

Add brightness to a graduation year sign by decorating it with white holiday lights. For a lush look, surround the numbers with fresh greenery and flowers.

96. Confetti and Color

Break out the confetti for this colorful graduation year sign. For even more festiveness, place gold party horns in front of the sign. The best part? The display creates a beautiful backdrop for photos of the graduate and their friends.

97. Photo Table Runner

Incorporate special moments you’ve captured throughout your graduate’s childhood as part of your party’s decor. Create a table runner or place a few frames on your dessert bar to celebrate your child’s journey.

98. Graduation Yard Signs

congrats class of yard sign with four images with congrats grad messageCelebrate your grad with a customized yard sign that will make them feel special and appreciated. You can display this at their grad party and have guests sign it for a more memorable graduation keepsake.

99. Graduation Selfie Frames

grad party celebration selfie frame in black and gold with starsMake the pictures you take at your graduation party stand out with this personalized graduation selfie frame. Customize your own personalized frame that will give an extra decorative design to all the pictures you took at your graduation party.

Final Thoughts on Graduation Party Ideas

No matter which desserts and decor you choose, the most important aspect is celebrating the graduate. Create a photo book to showcase special memories and commemorate their journey. Display the photo book at their party and give it to them as a keepsake to treasure for years to come. Make this party extra special for your grad with these fantastic graduation party ideas. For more inspiration, check out our graduation ideas Pinterest board.

Additional Resources:

Shop Shutterfly’s Graduation Headquarters

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