Easy Planning Tips for a Graduation Party - Christmas Tree Market Blog

Graduation Party Planning

June 10th, 2013

It’s graduation season and a great time to celebrate with those we love! We recently held a party for my mom who just graduated from college. Obviously, I’m a super proud daughter!

Here are some of my tips for throwing a memorable grad party:

Graduation Party Plan
Photo by Jennifer Lutz

Plan the Menu

Go with your favorite food. For our party, we started with guacamole, salsa, Ina Garten’s fabulous sun-dried tomato dip (not enough words to describe that woman — she is my go-to!), and fruit platters as appetizers. The main dishes were pork and beef, a delicious strawberry and mandarin salad, coleslaw, baked beans, cheesy potatoes, and rolls. And for dessert, we ordered a chocolate and lemon cake from my favorite bakery in Cleveland, Ohio, “A Cookie and a Cupcake.”

Pick a Theme

For her graduation party, my mom chose festive, celebratory colors as her theme, because when you graduate from college 55 years young, you celebrate! Red, green, yellow, orange, and blue were used for the party, giving us a variety of color combinations to work with.


Inspiration Board. Pin a few mementos from the graduate’s time in school on a corkboard to make an inspiration board. This is the perfect décor to welcome guests!

Balloons. Bright-colored balloons always bring out a festive mood!

Accent Pieces. Small additions can really liven up your party décor. To add height and a bit of character, we used an apple crate to display artwork, like the Live Your Life sign below.  Another easy way to add to your decorations is by using texture.  For this party, we went with burlap which is easy to find, affordable, and adds visual interest.


grad party decoratio
Photo by Jennifer Lutz


Table Settings

This graduation tablescape was simple to put together, and it really brightened up the room! For the centerpiece, something as simple as a pot of gerbera daisies with balloons can add a lot of color to your tables. And don’t forget your place cards!


table setting
Photo by Jennifer Lutz


Food and Drinks Table

Truly, the décor is in the details. The layout is an important part of any décor so think about how you want to set up your tables. If there is a lot of food, have separate tables for appetizers, main dishes, and desserts. Food platters present a great opportunity to decorate so use fun baskets and serving bowls for chips and dips. An easy, decorative touch is to print food place cards to match the invitations.


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Photos by Jennifer Lutz

 Same goes for the drink station. You can just place your drinks and plastic cups on the table or add to your décor by using glass jugs, galvanized buckets, and such for your drinks.

Great friends, festive decorations, amazing food, and good music are the basic ingredients for this memorable event. How would you plan a graduation party?

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  • Beth Maechner

    YOU, my dear, are AMAZING!!! 🙂 No , seriously Jen….GREAT job with this!!! I’m proud of you! You did a classy job with this!

  • Sue Harman

    The platters of food and the cakes are gorgeous, and they look delicious. I love how color coordinated the balloons, napkins, plates, etc. are. Will you plan my next party for me?