Get recipes and graduation party ideas for celebrating your favorite smarty.
Try this recipe: Grad Cupcakes
Graduation Party Ideas
No need to put on your thinking cap: we’ve got some graduation party ideas for celebrating your star pupil.
- Where and when? Start the festivities mid- to late afternoon, and if weather permits, set up seating outdoors and fire up the grill. Stuck indoors? Here's how to get that outdoor flavor from your indoor grill.
- Self-Serve. Set up the food buffet-style, with drinks on a separate table or in coolers. If you have room, place bowls of easy snacks like nuts, popcorn, or chips and dip on small tables throughout the party.
- School spirit. Decorate with the graduate's school colors -- balloons, streamers, pom-poms -- the works! And make sure that framed diploma is out for all to see.
- Most likely to... Make a bunch of name tags and let guests fill in the end of the sentence.
- Photo Booth An absolute must for a graduation party to preserve the memories for years to come. Set up a backdrop and a table of props. Make a sign asking guests to hashtag and share their photos.
- Bright ideas. Everyone wants to know: "What are you going to do now that you've graduated?" Why not take some pressure off the recent college grad and turn the tables? Ask each guest to write what they did the year after they graduated on a large piece of poster board, guestbook, or scrapbook.
Graduation parties usually include a pretty diverse crowd, so it's important to gear your menu to suit all ages and eaters. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Appetizers and Snacks
More crowd-pleasing appetizers and snacks:
These are your party buffet go-tos, and for good reason. They're easy to make ahead of time, and you can set out a variety so even the pickiest eaters will find a favorite. This Awesome Pasta Salad earns a graduate degree in deliciousness. And you know we have even more pasta salads, potato salads, caprese salads, fruit salads, and coleslaws to choose from.
More party-pleasing salads:
More summertime main dishes:
- Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs
- Chef John's Grilled Garlic and Herb Shrimp
- California Grilled Veggie Sandwich
Give your grad a big congrats with a homemade decorated sheet cake that's easy to slice and serve. Even if you're not confident of your cake decorating skills, you can still pick up candy lettering in the baking aisle of your grocery store, or simply frost the cake in school colors. This White Texas Sheet Cake gets rave reviews every time. (Just leave the nuts out of the frosting so it's easier to decorate.)
More diploma-worthy desserts:
Here's how to put together the ultimate make-your-own ice cream sundae bar.
These top-rated lemonade recipes are even better when they're spiked (for grown-ups only, of course).
You might also like...
- Check out our complete collection of graduation party recipes.
- Get our top-rated BBQ & grilling recipes.