Graduation season is upon us. Whether you’re a parent preparing to throw a celebratory party for your high school graduate, or you’re a college grad putting together a celebration for yourself, you’ll want to keep reading. Here, we’ll offer a guide for planning the perfect graduation party. From guest list to thank you notes, keep party planning easy with these tips.


Before getting to the fun party-planning, you’ll want to outline a budget. If you’re hoping to keep costs modest, consider throwing a fun backyard barbeque, and keep the guest list slim. If cost is no object, you may consider throwing an upscale dinner reception or renting part of a restaurant. Once you have an idea of what your financial limitations will be, it’s time to think about the guest list.  

Guest List

Start by deciding how many people you want to invite, and narrowing down your guest list to those you want to include. Don’t forget to think about relatives or close friends that live out of town. Graduations are a big deal, and there is a good chance you’ll have some attendees who are willing to travel for the big celebration.

Date and Location

Once you have the guest list sorted out, you will need to choose a date and location. Start by considering which friends will also have graduation parties, and make an attempt to avoid overlapping. Choosing the same date and time as a best friend could mean you’ll have to sacrifice attendees.

Will you throw the graduation party at home, at a park, or in a restaurant? Think about venue options, and find something that is offers availability during your party’s timeframe, that falls into your budget, and that can accommodate your size party.

Although many graduations fall in May and June each year, many people choose to throw their graduation parties in July or August to avoid overlapping with the parties happening in the weeks surrounding the graduation itself. Another fun idea is to throw your high school grad’s party in August, as a combination graduation party and going away to college party.

Regardless, the summer months make for an ideal time of year to throw an outdoor party. Whether you choose to host a backyard BBQ or take over your local park, there are plenty of outdoor options that allow party-planners to keep costs low and comfortably accommodate large numbers of attendees.


Sooner is better when it comes to invites. You’ll find that the weeks surrounding graduation season will quickly fill up with graduation parties, get-together’s, and open houses. The sooner you can get your party on the calendar, the more likely you are to have a good turn-out.

Food and Drinks

Depending on the time of day you’ll throw your party, you might choose to have some appetizers and snacks, or you may offer a full meal. Decide whether you’ll make and provide the food yourself, hire a caterer, or order from a restaurant. Consider choosing a theme to help narrow down your food options – for example, a barbeque theme, Italian theme, or Hawaiian Luau theme could make for delicious food and fun décor.

Don’t forget to provide drinks and a cake or other celebratory dessert!


Will you go with traditional ‘Congrats Grad!’ banners, balloons, and paperware, or will you choose a unique theme? Think about using school colors or mascots for centerpieces, banners, balloons, streamers, linens etc. If your party will be outside, we recommend keeping lightweight décor to a minimum. A gust of wind could rip your streamers to shreds or send a banner flying through the park.

Consider setting up a table with your graduate’s memorabilia, such as scrap books, letter jackets, pictures, trophies, sports gear, etc. for a personal touch.

Party Rentals

One way to keep weather at bay is to rent a party tent. Whether you plan to throw a party in your own backyard or in another outdoor space, these tents offer a reprieve from the weather, and keep guests comfortable. PartySavvy offers DIY party canopies you can set up yourself, or many other tent options that include delivery and set up. Also consider tables, chairs, grills, and tableware, depending on your party’s needs.


Corn hole, kickball, a DJ? Decide if you’ll organize any games or activities, or provide any entertainment during your graduation party. Some popular outdoor activities available for rent at PartySavvy include volleyball, horseshoe, and softball. Other ideas include slideshows or videos featuring the graduate and their family and friends through the years.

Thank You Notes

Don’t forget to send thank you notes for any gifts that are received. Thank attendees not only for the generous gifts, but also for their time and participation in making your graduation party a success!

For some party inspiration, check out our Graduation Pinterest Board or view one of our most popular photo albums, A Spirited Graduation Party.
If you are looking for rentals for your graduation party, give us a call at (412) 856-8368 or submit our simple Request a Quote form.

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