25 Graduation Party Ideas for High School or College Grads

Congratulations—on beginning the planning process, that is. Whether you are organizing your own graduation party, or you’re in charge of designing an awesome shindig for your soon-to-be high school or college graduate, we are excited to guide you through the process. There are many decisions to make between venues, food, decorations, and party favors, and…

Congratulations—on beginning the planning process, that is. Whether you are organizing your own graduation party, or you’re in charge of designing an awesome shindig for your soon-to-be high school or college graduate, we are excited to guide you through the process. There are many decisions to make between venues, food, decorations, and party favors, and we have ideas to take your party to the next level.

10+ Great Graduation Party Location Ideas

graduation party golf course
Before you determine the day-of specifics, you’ll need to find a venue that suits the amount of guests in attendance, as well as ensuring the space is large enough for whatever activities and decor your grad has in mind. Pick a place your grad will be excited to show off and, of course, feel special—this day is all about celebrating them! While some choose to host their party at home, this can add an enormous amount of stress to what is supposed to be a fun, exciting endeavor. Skip the added work of cleaning and perfecting your home, and find a venue that can take care of the heavy lifting.

High School Grad Party Location Ideas

College Graduation Venue Ideas

We can help you in finding the perfect location for your event. With elegant indoor and stunning outdoor venues all over West Michigan, from Muskegon to Cascade to Saugatuck, our spaces suit your party needs, no matter the size of your guest list. As grad party season is always busy, reach out early to inquire about the beautiful venue you’re interested in booking.

Top 5 Graduation Party Food Ideas

Graduation party food
Now that you’ve found your venue, it is time to determine what you’re serving your guests. Let’s be honest: while everyone is there to celebrate the graduate, food is always one of the most anticipated parts of grad party season. Aim for flavorful, easy to serve appetizers, dishes, and sweets—bonus points if your grad’s favorites are on the menu!
  • Taco bar: Enjoy this Mexican feast with all your favorites—hard and soft tacos, salsa, sour cream, cheese, and of course, cilantro lime rice.
  • Slider bar: Every delicious slider you can imagine—brat, burger, cheeseburger, chicken salad, club, fried chicken, hot dog, Italian sausage, turkey… your taste buds and your guests will thank you.
  • Pasta bar: You can never go wrong with pasta! Pick two options—baked ziti with pomodoro & a medley of cheeses with penne, cavatappi primavera, or chicken broccoli alfredo with penne. With caesar salad and garlic bread, this is a graduation party meal everyone will love.
  • Sandwich buffet: Keep it classic and delicious with two of your favorite sandwich or wrap options—turkey, ham, or Italian sandwiches, or club, caesar, veggie, or chicken salad wraps. We serve these with kettle chips & choice of potato salad, pasta salad, fruit salad or garden salad to ensure a filling, balanced meal.
  • Dessert table: Don’t skimp on the sweets! Think doughnut, sundae bar, cupcakes, or something else that’s fun, yummy, and memorable. Consider which treats your grad loves, and go from there.
When you choose an inclusive event space like ours at RedWater, the food is completely taken care of by our in-house caterers, making your planning responsibilities much easier. Between dietary friendly starters like veggie spring rolls, delicious buffet meals, tons of yummy sliders, and top-notch doughnuts, cookies, and cupcakes, our open-house menu has a wide variety of flavors to impress every grad and their guests.
graduation party donuts

7 Graduation Party Decoration Ideas

Deck out the space so it is unique to your grad, allowing their personality to shine through. Highlight school spirit with related decor, and provide incredible photo opportunities that will last a lifetime.
  • Entrance sign: Grad party season is busy! There is a good chance your party will fall on the same day as another. An eye-catching sign, brightly colored or strung with balloons, will help guide your guests to the correct gathering. 
  • School photos: A memory board featuring every school photo is a sweet way to reminisce on how far your grad has come. You can also display these cute pictures by lining the entryway to your venue, allowing your guests to take a trip down memory lane.
  • Table centerpieces: While not needed, table centerpieces are a wonderful way to add more personal touches to the day. Include a photo of your grad, mini-candies, and pretty flowers in mason jars for a beautiful tribute all your guests will appreciate.
  • Well wishes & advice jar: Providing a space for your guests to leave a note is a sweet and interactive way to include them in your grad’s next journey.
  • Twinkle lights: If your party is continuing into the evening, drape some sparkly lights around the area for mood lighting, illuminating a dance floor or fire pit.
  • Photo booth: Speaking of memories, give your grad the chance to make more with their friends and loved ones. Instagrammable photo opportunities are all the rage! Create a beautiful balloon backdrop (complete with those must-have 2022 balloons), hang school-color curtains to pose in front of, or set up a rustic pallet with a vintage couch—no matter what, a good photo op is a necessity.
  • School flag as a card table cloth: Add school spirit to the card table (where you can also place school-specific awards and a graduation cap) by draping your grad’s school flag over the top. This is an easy way for guests to know which school your grad is associated with, and is a great gift for your grad post-party.
At RedWater, we love to create special memory-making spaces that allow your grad to be celebrated for all their accomplishments. Our talented event coordinators are ready to help plan and execute decorations that your graduate and guests will swoon over.

3 Fun Graduation Party Favor Ideas

While not always expected, offering party favors for your guests is a fun way to thank them for supporting your grad.
  • Goodie bags: These easy-to-make favors can be filled with a variety of trinkets, such as school-themed pens, magnets, bottle openers, pop-sockets, and hand sanitizer. Add in some personalized treats, like these commence-mints, candles, and hilarious graduation temporary tattoos.
  • Class rings: Don’t worry—not the fancy, expensive kind you’re thinking of. A station filled with ring pops makes for a yummy treat your guests can enjoy on their way home.
  • Polaroid station: Leaving a Polaroid camera on each table or creating a designated station with fun props gives your guests the chance to create tangible memories from the day.

Planning Your Graduation Party

High school and college graduations are exciting life events that deserve to be celebrated in a way that will be cherished forever. Our team at RedWater is ready to help create the perfect place for yours! Reach out today to book a venue, learn more about our catering options, and begin planning the party of the year.

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