Are you planning a high school graduation party (or any graduation party, for that matter) and want to make it a bit unique? Whether it’s your daughter, son, relative, or even you that is wrapping up the last days of school, it’s time to celebrate! Earning a diploma is one of life’s big accomplishments, and a graduation party certainly deserves special planning. We’ve put a list together of today’s unique party planning trends that we know will make your high school graduation party memorable.
Whether you are hosting a party at a home or at a restaurant or venue, these are some one-of-a-kind things you can do to make this momentous celebration stand out.
First, let’s talk about decorating for the big event! No matter where you are hosting this graduation party, the decor is key to setting the scene for uniqueness.
Be sure to consider your decor budget, theme, and how you will go ahead and get it done. Work with what you have and make sure your decor complements the location. If you are having the party at a venue, consider their space and ask about what you are allowed to bring and hang up for decorations. When choosing items, make it as easy as you can for all to set up and clean up.
Many people who throw parties go all out and buy a lot of generic decorations. You’ve attended those parties where the room is full of coordinated colors and decorations. However, if you take some time to plan and execute thoughtful decorations, it can go a long way with less. Maybe you have a few items for decor, but they are less common and more impactful. Whether the soiree is inside or outdoors, in your home or at a venue, here are some special decoration ideas that we think will make your gathering one-of-a-kind.
- Hang large-size graduation, school, or dream-inspired quotes and images.
- Use balloon clusters and columns or specialty balloons in the shape of a word, the year, or anything!
- Use photos or signs on the back of guests’ chairs.
- Add funny napkins or straws (Etsy has some cute photo options).
- Find or create a backdrop for photos. We think it’s really cute to string up tassels as a backdrop or a modern floral wall. Or, if you are ambitious, create a photo booth with props!
- Use creative lighting. Fairy lights are great since they aren’t too bright or difficult to set up.
- Repurpose items for decor. We thought a vintage suitcase set up for collecting cards was adorable. We’ve also seen DIY painted globes as a decor item. Reusing wood pallets makes great boards to hang photos.
The guest of honor will surely recognize that their graduation party is special to them if you add personalization. Add their name, image, or any other personal favorites to the invites, menus, place cards, decor, gifts, and cake. This will create a memorable impact for everyone at your event. Incorporating photos, personal favorites, or even themes that fit the graduate will go a long way. Here are some ideas for these special touches.
- Create a photo poster board (we like using Command Strips for walls to avoid damage.) Or make a hanging bunting/banner of photos and include current photos of the grad and childhood.
- Buy double-sided frames or cube frames for table centerpieces.
- Order face cutouts or even life-size photo cutouts. These are sure to make everyone smile.
- Light-up customizable signs are a great way to display a name or personal messages.
- Provide instant cameras to have guests take photos of the special day. Have a photo book on hand to place the photos.
- Create a memory clothesline as this creative blogger did. You can include old outfits to span years. Include a baby outfit, a little league uniform, prom attire, and a graduation gown. Or, you could use the line to string other items as well.
3. Food and Beverage
No matter where you are holding this special party, you’ll undoubtedly be serving food and drink to your guests. Make sure to serve items that make sense. If you are having an outdoor cookout, certain foods and drinks work better than if you are serving a sit-down dinner. No matter what, consider making your food and drink a little more notable and delicious. Many venues and caterers will work with you to customize the menu, and if you are preparing the meal, take your recipes up a notch. Here are some suggestions we think are great.
- Food Bars: Think burger, taco, macaroni, and cheese, or candy bar with ALL the fixings!
- Add some flair to make things look great. Think about roll-up sandwiches that resemble diplomas or cookies that look like graduation caps. Consider displaying towers of food or using creative or beautiful dishes. Make your food appealing and memorable.
- Individually served items are not only convenient but also fun. Consider veggie crudités in cones, skewers (apps, main course, fruit), wrapped cookies-to-go, and even cupcakes.
- Add a special twist. Consider reinventing standard beverages like lemonade or iced tea and add something to make it unique. We love the sound of a lemonade infusion. Give a little unexpected to traditional recipes, and this will make your grad party much more notable.
Last, providing your graduate and your guests with something to do will surely make your event spectacular. Make sure your activity is suitable for all guests and short in duration. If you are having your event at a venue, check first with them to see if having an activity will work well with the space, timing, and logistics of the event. Here are some trends in graduation party activities that we think are amazing.
- Pass around a Wisdom Jar or Keys for Success to have guests offer written words of advice.
- Have an object (a buoy, Jenga blocks, wooden letter wall-hanging, college t-shirt, etc.) for guests to sign.
- Play Graduate Trivia. Have all the party guests write down their answers, and the person with the correct answers wins the game. (Make sure to have a prize.)
- Make an Instagram hashtag sign and have guests send party photos or their advice and best wishes.
- Create a video compellation of the grad through the years for all to watch and enjoy.
- Get the graduate a special gift and present it. Perhaps it is time or money towards a cause that is important to them or even a vacation.
Celebrate Your Unique Grad
Congrats on your graduate! Now that you know what party trends can make a high school graduation celebration truly special, consider finding an awesome venue to host your event on EventUp, the leading global venue directory with more than 15,000 restaurants, hotels, and unique venues perfect for any graduation party.