Graduation Party Themes: High School vs. College

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Gradation College and High School

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Graduation season is almost upon us and it’s that time of year when we celebrate the last four years and commemorate achievements. If you are planning a graduation party for a college or high school grad, you might be looking for some ideas. Whether it’s a classic backyard barbecue, big bash or smaller celebration, deciding what type of party you will have is important. The theme of your party will differ depending on if it is a high schooler or a college grad so we thought we would give you some ideas and tips to help with your planning!

High School Graduation Party Themes

Planning a high school graduation party is fun and easy. They tend to be more causal and laid back than a college grad party. Oftentimes the party involves simple and inexpensive food and drink items, such as pizza and soda, along with music, board games and decorations for easy entertainment. You should check with your teen first to see if they have any ideas or want to be involved in the party planning.

Here are some fun themes for a high school graduation party:

“Sail Away” Theme: Everything is red, white and blue! Use flower arrangements, balloons and center pieces to celebrate your grad’s upcoming departure to a new adventure. Place a sign-in station by the door so guests can leave a farewell note or gift for the graduate. You can decorate with globes and maps and have items that reflect where they are going. You can serve pasta, pizza, wraps or subs for munchies.

“School Colors” Theme: Use the graduate’s high school or future college colors for decorating inspiration. Tablecloths, napkins, cups and balloons in the two school colors will create a festive and fun atmosphere. A “make your own tacos” bar is the perfect idea for this theme. You can also decorate the cake with your graduate’s future college colors, mascots, or emblems.

“Smart Cookie” Theme: The whole party can center around this theme, with decorations, food and invitations all having a cookie theme. Guests can bring their favorite cookie to donate to the cookie bar or just enjoy the variety of cookies being served. Guests can also drink milk (or milk alternatives) out of mason jars with brightly colored straws!

“Barbecue” or “Luau” Theme: How about an outdoor barbecue or luau? The weather is bound to be nice and warm during the party so why not take advantage and hold it outside? There’s ample space, pretty scenery and fresh air! Invite your guests to come dressed in fun, tropical clothing. Place favors at each place setting for guests to take home or set up a photo booth. Serve hamburgers and hot dogs, macaroni salad and lots of fruit. A warm bonfire, complete with a s’mores bar is perfect for later on when it cools down.

College Graduation Party Ideas

College graduation is a major achievement and your grad might expect a more grown up celebration! Especially if they’re going straight off to grad school. If you are planning a college graduation party, the decorations, favors and food tend to be more mature and the parties a bit grander. Keep in mind that you can serve cocktails and other drinks at the party.

You might want to consider holding the party at a venue so it can accommodate more people and you can kick the fancy up a notch. At The Centre Escondido, we have a variety of fun venues perfect for graduation parties.

Contact our event coordinator today!

Below are some graduation party ideas:

“Major or Future Career”: The party can be in honor of the graduate’s major or future career. For example, if your graduate is going into education, give them a party centered on a theme of teaching. Red apples can be used as decorations anywhere, along with chalkboards, rulers, report cards and lesson plans. You can serve Caprese skewers and shrimp cocktail for appetizers, salmon fillets for the main course, along with apple pie for dessert.

“Open House” Theme: Consider having an open house where people can come and go as they please (keep in mind that there will probably be other college graduation parties going on at the same time as yours). Have a guest book for people to sign in and provide a jar for guests to write down favorite memories that they had with the graduate or well wishes for the future. Flowers, potted plants and balloons are classic party decorations that will help you transition your event space into a fun graduation party atmosphere. Food can be easy but mature: think stuffed peppers, gourmet pork chops and mouth watering cheesecake bites.

“Past, Present and Future” Theme: Ask your guests to bring college photos they have of themselves with the graduate. You can provide pictures from childhood and incorporate future photos such as cities they might live in, cars they might drive or trips they may take. Provide a blank photo album at the door so guests can add their photos and write a note inside.

Whether your graduation party is a small get together or a huge bash, truly successful parties are the ones that are planned out. Hopefully some of these tips will help you to plan to party to remember!

Another post from The Centre you might enjoy is How to Plan the Perfect Graduation Party.

At The Centre, the unique collection of experiences has been created for you to make the most of every day: Take in a concert, enjoy dinner with friends, host an event or an off-site meeting, drop your car off for service—all in one place.  We believe you will discover that time at The Centre is time well spent. For more information, contact us today!

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