Celebrate your child’s accomplishments and throw the best high school graduation party to mark this milestone occasion.
Graduating from high school is a major achievement worth celebrating.
Throwing a memorable party for your child is one of the best ways to acknowledge their hard work.
But with countless graduation party ideas out there, it can be hard to know where to start.
Maybe that’s why you’re here on our blog.
If you’re planning a graduation celebration then you’ve come to the right place.
Between Anne and I we’ve planned parties for all six of our Simply2Moms teens so we’ve had a little experience in this area.
Our youngest S2M kid, my daughter, Emma graduated last year.
So today I’m sharing all the easy and affordable ideas I used to throw Emma a beautiful neutral rustic graduation party.
Although many of these ideas are a bit feminine the concepts can be incorporated into a more masculine theme for your son.
- Where to Have a High School Graduation Party
- How to Choose a Graduation Party Theme
- How to Decorate for a Neutral High School Graduation Celebration
- Neutral Rustic DIY Party Decorations
- How to Personalize a Party for Your Graduate
- Guest Signing Board
- Where to Include Classic Party Decorations
- Styling with Farmhouse Chalkboard Signs
- What Should You Serve at a Graduation Party
- How to Set up a Self-Serve Drink Station
- How to Display a Graduation Cookie Bar
- What Activities Are Fun at a Backyard Graduation Party
- Click Here for More S2M Graduation Ideas
Where to Have a High School Graduation Party
If you have enough space having your graduation party at home is the most affordable option.
Backyard home parties are the perfect place for a casual gathering where guests can spread out and relax.
Other options would be to rent space at a local park, community center, banquet hall, or restaurant.
No matter where you choose to host your party the most important thing is family and friends coming to show their love and support for the graduate.
How to Choose a Graduation Party Theme
There are so many themes to choose from when planning your celebration.
Probably the most common and simple idea would be to incorporate school colors.
This is what we did for both of my sons’ grad parties by decorating in blue and white.
But Emma wanted something different so we decided to go with a feminine rustic neutral theme with a touch of boho style.
Rustic neutral parties are all about natural materials and simple elegance.
You can use wood, burlap, and mason jars to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.
And by keeping the color palette neutral, you can add pops of color with flowers, candles, and other decorations.
How to Decorate for a Neutral High School Graduation Celebration
A fun and sentimental graduation party idea is to take a trip down memory lane with a nostalgia fest.
Gather old pictures that showcase the graduate’s journey to this point and display them throughout the party space.
I love decorating my home with photos so it only seemed right to incorporate this huge pallet picture display at Emma’s graduation party.
To add even more of that neutral rustic vibe I made a few burlap and ribbon banners that I hung from the photo display fireplace mantel.
Another pallet is filled with school photos of Emma from kindergarten through senior year.
I set this pallet outside on our back deck for guests to see how our grad has grown through the years.
Here’s another fun idea to display photos of your graduate’s childhood.
Neutral Rustic DIY Party Decorations
Our fireplace is a rustic style with stacked stone and a thick wood mantle.
Displaying the picture pallet walls in front of the fireplace was the perfect spot for them.
On the mantel, I placed a canvas of Emma’s favorite picture of her and Marley from her senior photo session with Anne in front of a vintage window frame.
The DIY upcycled jute twine graduation year numbers look great with all the other neutral elements in our family room.
How to Personalize a Party for Your Graduate
You can save lots of money on decorations by making them yourself.
I’m not super crafty so I kept all of these project ideas really simple.
Purchase paper Mache letters and numbers to add more fun decor around your space.
This easy DIY decoration can be made in under an hour with just a few craft supplies.
Incorporate the graduation year and spell out words like grad, congrats, or even the graduate’s name to personalize your decorations.
These cute wood tags are great to hang from vases or sprinkle around on table tops throughout your party.
They’d also be awesome attached to a gift or goody bag.
Our friend from PNW Farmhouse Design Co. made these graduation year ornaments for us.
Contact Katrina here if you’d like to order your grad year tags and don’t forget to tell her we sent you.
Guest Signing Board
Allow guests an opportunity to write messages to your graduate with a personalized guest signature board.
I created Emma’s personalized foam board online at Walmart in a 16 “x20” size for less than $20.
And if you order soon…it’s on sale so you’ll get it even cheaper than I did last year.
A signature board is a wonderful keepsake that will bring back happy memories for years to come.
Where to Include Classic Party Decorations
Does anything shout party more than balloons?
Building a balloon arch is a super fun way to incorporate color into your celebration but it can be time-consuming to make.
If you want to keep your party decorations more simple like I did just order some helium-filled balloons from your local party store.
I ordered a bunch of plain white balloons and just a few decorative foil balloons.
Plain latex balloons are less expensive than foil designs so you can save some money by mixing them together.
I grouped four white balloons with one foil balloon then hung the bunch of five together throughout the party space both outside and inside.
Styling with Farmhouse Chalkboard Signs
Have you noticed the chalkboards in any of the photos yet?
Well, keep reading because I included a bunch of chalkboards in all different shapes and sizes.
Chalkboards are a fantastic way to decorate your rustic neutral graduation party by adding quotes, messages, or instructions.
What Should You Serve at a Graduation Party
The food you serve will depend on the time of day your plan your party.
You can’t go wrong with finger foods and appetizers.
Some ideas for finger foods include cheese and crackers, fruit, vegetables, and mini sandwiches
Serving some of your graduate’s favorites is also a great idea.
Since we had family from out of town staying with us, I didn’t want to spend a ton of time preparing food so I made it super easy on myself and had most of it catered.
Emma’s favorite is Mexican food so we order from a local restaurant and set up a buffet table with all the fixings to make your own burrito bowls.
Be sure to have simple yet delicious food so you can enjoy yourself and everyone will most definitely enjoy the yummy spread!
How to Set up a Self-Serve Drink Station
Just like the buffet table for your food set up a self-serve drink station for your guests.
This allows everyone to help themselves to beverages so you can spend more time mingling instead of serving drinks.
Cans of soda and water bottles with ice keep drinks cold in galvanized tubs.
Emma’s favorite signature drink and infused water were in these pretty beverage dispensers.
Then in a different area, I set up a makeshift bar for adult beverages.
Keeping it simple again I just served wine, beer, and seltzers for the 21 and over crowd.
How to Display a Graduation Cookie Bar
Can you believe Emma doesn’t like cake?
But she does love cookies so we created a cookie bar station for her graduation party.
A fun upcycled chalkboard hung above announces She’s One Smart Cookie.
Thank goodness for friends you have beautiful handwriting because Anne did all the lettering and art on the chalkboards for us.
What Activities Are Fun at a Backyard Graduation Party
It was super hot the day of Emma’s grad party so we told everyone to bring their bathing suit and towel because the pool would be open.
So all the kids had a ton of fun swimming!
We also set up a ping-pong table in the garage.
And we finished the night with a friendly game of kickball in our front yard.
Other backyard activity ideas:
- ladder toss
- giant Jenga or Connect Four
- badminton or volleyball
Click on any image to shop items from this post
Sources: beverage dispenser | burlap banner | votive candles | tiered tray | small bucket with handle | small chalkboard | wood slices | mason jars | oval galvanized tub | paper Mache numbers | white chalkboard stand | wood trivet riser | A-frame sidewalk chalkboard | round galvanized tub | wood crate
Emma’s high school graduation party at home was a huge success.
She loved the neutral rustic style, and it was easy to put together with some DIY decorations and simple yet delicious food.
Everyone had the best time celebrating this special occassion with her.
Congratulations to your graduate!
If you have any questions or suggestions, contact me or leave a comment!
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