How to Throw a Graduation Party

group of graduates throwing their hats into the air against a dark blue sky

The tassel’s turned, diplomas are in hand, and it’s time to celebrate! Before you dive headfirst into post-grad life, a graduation party offers the perfect chance to reminisce with loved ones, toast to achievements, and step into the future with celebration and support. Are you ready to throw a bash that your grad and their guests will never forget? Let’s get planning!

Throwing an Unforgettable Graduation Party

After years of academic work, a graduating student deserves a festive send-off to prepare for life’s next big step. Whether your loved one is graduating from high school or college, we can help you plan a celebration to remember. A great place to start after establishing a budget is with a theme. It adds a fun touch to your event, and will also guide your decorating and menu planning. Is your grad a beach bum, a tech wiz, a history buff or an athlete? Choose a theme or color scheme that reflects their personality and interests. 

Let’s be real, when it comes to grad parties, activities and decorations are fun, but what everyone seems to care about the most is food. Decide between homemade delights, a potluck contribution from guests, or hiring a caterer, keeping in mind potential dietary restrictions and of course group size. A guaranteed crowd pleaser is opting for a food truck, plus it eliminates the prep work and clean up process. Don’t forget about dessert! Opt for a classic grad cake or get creative with a themed design like donuts, cupcakes or cake pops which are also popular options.

Pick a location for your party; rent a venue, host it at home, or in a park if you don’t have a ton of entertaining space, and then comes the fun part decorations. Balloons, banners, school colors and photo collages are always crowd-pleaser. Create a slideshow or video showcasing your grad’s journey through school years, filled with photos and funny anecdotes, and instead of a traditional book, have guests sign a grad cap, a photo album, or even a piece of furniture the grad can cherish. Keep the party lively with a DJ or curated music, and lawn games, board games and a photo booth stocked with fun props.

Choosing the Perfect Moment for Your Graduation Celebration

The confetti has settled, diplomas are in hand, and it’s time to celebrate, but what’s the best time of day for your celebratory bash? The timing for your grad party may be impacted by the time of the ceremony itself, unless you’re planning on holding the event on a different day entirely. Here are some popular times that’ll help you decide what’s best for your event. 

Morning Magic (10am-12pm)

  • Pros: Ideal for outdoor gatherings, taking advantage of warm sunshine and avoiding the evening chill. Guests are likely well-rested and energized, and ready for lawn games and mingling. Brunch-style food options are light and also budget-friendly.
  • Cons: Might clash with other morning commitments or the ceremony itself, especially for working guests. The celebratory vibe might feel less lively compared to later times.

Afternoon Delight (1-4pm)

  • Pros: Offers flexibility for both indoor and outdoor celebrations, and guests have had time to relax after work or other commitments. The atmosphere can be more casual and family-friendly, perfect for backyard barbecues or pool parties.
  • Cons: Depending on the season, the sun might be at its peak, requiring shade considerations.

Early Evening Elegance (4-7pm)

  • Pros: The golden hour casts a beautiful light for photos and outdoor decorations, and guests can come dressed up and ready to party. It’s perfect timing for a sit-down dinner followed by dancing and socializing.
  • Cons: Can be more expensive due to higher catering costs during dinner hours, and venues might be booked up on weekends, requiring more advance planning.

Night Owl Extravaganza (7pm-10pm)

  • Pros: Creates a sophisticated and festive atmosphere ideal for dance-heavy celebrations with DJs or live music. Guests are likely to let loose and have fun after a day of winding down.
  • Cons: A later start time might not be suitable for guests with early curfews and noisier celebrations might disturb neighbors, requiring venue considerations.

Don’t forget to delegate tasks and consider throwing one party to honor multiple graduates. Dividing responsibilities amongst family and friends will make the planning process smoother and ensure no one gets overwhelmed, and don’t forget to capture the magic with photos and videos that will forever twinkle in your grad’s memory box. The more personalized you can make it, the more special and memorable your graduation gathering will be. 

Historic Acres is a wonderful venue in Hershey PA for graduation celebrations. You can choose to have your event inside or outside, and we can accommodate parties of all sizes. Give us a call at (717) 298-6340 to learn more, check dates, or take a tour.