DIY Graduation Party Ideas

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If you’re throwing a graduation party this year, I have lots of ideas, recipes and tips to help you throw the best DIY Graduation Party!

DIY Graduation Party Ideas - It Is a Keeper

*Disclosure: I was provided with items to facilitate this post.  All opinions are 100% my own.  You can read my disclosure policy here. 

Whether it’s graduation from preschool, high school or college, I have lots of tips, recipes and ideas to help you throw an affordable and fun DIY Graduation Party!

Watch me Share My Tips on WNEP Morning News with Ryan Leckey

I shared a bunch of my best tips and tricks with Ryan Leckey on the WNEP morning news (my local ABC affiliate) a while back.  Check out the clips here!

Mongolian pork on plate
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DIY Graduation Party with Ryan Leckey WNEP

Tips for Planning Your Party

  • Download a copy of my free Party Planning Checklist.  You can print it out and use it to stay organized.
  • Skip the pricey “graduation themed” décor and go with your school colors — you can reuse any leftover tableware and decorations for future parties.
  • Shop at restaurant supply stores. You can score some great deals on colored tableware, bulk food and serving pieces.  You can even find chafing dishes and warmers.
  • Don’t forget about clean up!  Purchase clean up items before the party so you’re not stuck when the guests leave.  Grab items like garbage bags, paper towels and antibacterial wipes to have on hand.

Feeding a Crowd

My favorite way to feed a crowd is using deli and bakery platters from Giant.  They have so many great options — sandwiches, cookies, cupcakes, produce and even seafood.

You can also grab everything else you need to throw an amazing graduation party at Giant.  Check out the cute diplomas I made from snack cakes and the chocolate graduation caps made from candy and cookies!  I got everything at Giant.

Giant provided all of the deli and bakery items featured in my segment on WNEP.  Aren’t they awesome?!


Here are some more tips:

  • Not sure how much food to make for your crowd?  Download my free How Much Food to Serve at a Party Cheat Sheet.
  • Need recipe inspiration?  Here are my 50 Best Recipes for a Party.  Most (if not all) can be made ahead of time.
  • You can easily make my Puppy Chow recipe and use your school colors!  It’s easy to make and always a crowd pleaser!
  • Skip the traditional desserts and offer a S’mores Bar or and Ice Cream Bar with all of the toppings!
  • Save money on catering by using store bought party trays.  You can supplement them with additional items such as adding other veggies to a store bought veggie tray, add peppers and olives to a store bought cheese and cracker tray, etc…
  • Add cute graduation-themed printables to cupcakes, water bottles, containers, favors and more! Download free ones here.
  • Plan your menu early so you can shop the sales for discounts on food and drinks and buy food in bulk at restaurant supply stores for deeper discounts.

DIY Graduation Party Ideas - It Is a Keeper

Decor & Fun Activities

  • Use photos for personalized decorations – there are many great options from CVS
    • Make banners and signs with pictures of the grad from each grade
    • Use photos of your grad in their cap and gown for invites & thank you notes
    • Use photos on centerpieces
  • Roll silverware to look like diplomas
  • Set up a photo booth for your guests to use! I love this one and it’s under $40!  Or you can make your own – check out the ideas on my Pinterest board. And, don’t forget the photo booth props! Here are some great ones and I love these cute photo booth sayings!

DIY Graduation Party with Ryan Leckey WNEP

  • If your guests will be posting on Instagram, use this fun Instagram Hashtag Sign printable to share your unique party hashtag with your guests.
  • Create a Memory Jar so your guests can share a favorite memory with the grad.
  • Visit your local dollar store for great deals on black and gold party ware or your school colors.  They also have great graduation-themed decor items.
  • I love mason jars!  You can use them:
    • To hold silverware
    • As candleholders with colored rice
    • As centerpieces, filled with colored candies

If you want even more ideas for decorations, food, games, activities and tips, check out my Graduation Pinterest Board!

Get More Ideas From my Graduation Pinterest Board(s):

Follow It Is a Keeper {Christina} ‘s board The BEST Graduation Ideas on Pinterest


2 thoughts on “DIY Graduation Party Ideas”

  1. These are wonderful ideas Christina. My oldest daughter is graduating in two weeks. Thank you for this great post.


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