At Home Graduation Party Ideas: Decorations and More

Graduation ceremonies are full of pomp and circumstance for a reason:  they mark the transition from one stage of life to another. 

Recognize the importance of this milestone and celebrate your student's achievements from the comfort of your backyard or family room.  When the graduate looks back on their school days, your home celebration will stand out like a bright and shining light.

Here are ten ideas to make your home graduation party a highlight.


1. Decorate your home/backyard with school pictures.

Sure, you were there to see your child grow up.  But few things are sweeter than looking at a progression of their school photos.  

Whether you decorate with the original photos, print out digital favorites or even set-up a screen show and do a multimedia presentation, your guests will love seeing the student grow up before their eyes.

Just a warning...

The kindergarten picture is guaranteed to be adorable, as will the younger grade school years.

The upper grade school years will show significant developmental milestones.  Get ready to see their smile before braces and the beginnings of acne.

High school photos will cement the transition from child to adult.  Be prepared to see their faces blossom into adulthood.  Do not think about how much older YOU must look.  😉


2. Celebrate their class with giant number balloons 

Oversized numeral balloons are always fun.  Plus, they have the added advantage of serving as a timestamp for the photograph.  

Imagine yourself, several years from now...

Someone might ask you, What year did your kid graduate? 

You'll stop for a moment and think...

What year was that?

[Looks at picture with balloons]

Oh yeah!  Got it!

No access to balloons, giant or otherwise?  You can make giant numbers out of paper!


graduates and balloons


3.  Use large scale items to highlight features in your backyard.

Every backyard has features that you notice first-whether it's a stunning tree, a gorgeous arbor or even just a cool picnic table.

Decorate the best features in your yard and make it look even more festive!

graduation scrolls



4. Use graduation banners to decorate the table, kitchen island or fireplace.

Banners are a fun and easy way to decorate a space.  They typically take up a significant amount of space so they create impact.  Additionally, they look great in pictures!

Most banners are a pain in the arse to hang--you need tape, nails, a ladder. YUCK.

This centerpiece from Birthday Butler solves the problem of where to hang the banner by providing a beautiful stand to hang it from. At nearly 2' high and 3' wide, it will be the first graduation decoration your guests notice.

Graduation centerpiece

Want the easiest decorating ever? Get this graduation centerpiece here.


5. Display a memory board of special moments for your graduate.

Take your graduate down memory lane!

Get a bulletin board or a piece of foam board.  Attach any memorabilia of significance---favorite art work from pre-school, first report card, award for Best School spirit.

Your student will enjoy seeing how far they've come.  Additionally, whatever items you include on the board will be memories that get reinforced.


6. Create a wisdom jar for the graduate.

Turn a jar into a treasure trove of advice from friends and family.

Those celebrating in person can write their insights on slips of paper. 

Given the current restrictions on social distancing, you may also want to reach out to classmates, friends, teachers and family to see what guidance they have to offer the graduate.  Even a simple post on Facebook or Instagram can generate dozens of responses.

Compile all of the individual responses into one document.  Print the file and cut each message out individually.  Put the slips into Wisdom Jar and let your graduate benefit from the collective insights.

Who says all the wisdom has to be from people the graduate has met in person?You can also include quotes from famous people (see below).


7. Incorporate items from their future alma mater into the decor.

Decorate your party space with school specific swag.  You can use a sweatshirt from their future university as part of the table display, display some pennants, or even make a collage of images from their upcoming school.

To play up the theme even more, incorporate the colors from their future alma mater.

graduation flowers


8. Print out social media photos and arrange to spell out GRAD.

The pictures will capture a more candid side and can be a fun way to see the graduate in different environments.


9.  Serve their favorite meal 

Everyone has a favorite and what better way to indulge your grad than to serve their most loved food! 

If they are headed off to college in the fall (pandemic not withstanding), they'll appreciate every opportunity to savor good cooking...or good take-out, paid for by someone else.


10.  Create graduation cap serving trays. 

It wasn't until I had to decorate for a graduation party that I realized a bowl and a plate are just waiting to be transformed into a graduation cap.

Simply turn the bowl upside down and put a plate on top of it. 

Voila!  A graduation cap serving tray.

A few suggestions to make it more obvious:  use a bowl and plate that are black in color and add a tassel to a corner of the plate.

Don't own any black plates or bowls?   

Grab a piece of foam board and cut a 6" wide strip about 10-12" long.  Bend it into a ring and tape to secure.  Next, cut out a 12" square of foam board.  Spray paint both pieces.  Glue the square to the ring.

grad cap tray

11. Incorporate graduation party quotes to live by

Words can not only inspire, they can be awesome decorating tools!

Print these out as table scatter. Use as napkin rings. Hang them on the bathroom mirror.  

“You are educated. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world.” —Tom Brokaw

“Instruction ends in the schoolroom, but education ends only with life.” —Frederick W. Robertson

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” —Benjamin Franklin

“Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead.” —Nora Ephron

“Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.” —Martin Luther King Jr.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson