College Graduation Party Entertainment Ideas

Graduation season marks the end of a fantastic chapter in a student’s life. The investment of hard work (and money) calls for a celebration that will allow the graduate and their loved ones to cut loose and have a great time. Hosting a college graduation party is a perfect way to celebrate the new graduate’s accomplishments and make new memories with friends and loved ones before moving on to the next adventure. Here are some college graduation party entertainment ideas to make your graduation party a remarkable celebration worth remembering. 

Book a Photo Booth

Strike a pose! A photo booth is always an excellent addition to any party, but for a graduation party, it is a must. Photo booths are great for a graduation party because they will create the opportunity for fun interactions amongst guests. Most graduation parties are a little informal, so this is the perfect opportunity to take silly pictures and create genuine memories.

Depending on your budget, you can rent out a professional booth or create a DIY booth with a cute or custom backdrop. Note that when you rent a professional photo booth, most vendors provide sharing features that are included in the package. For instance, most modern photo booth vendors have the ability to print live photos for guests to take as keepsakes. Most modern photo booths can also share the photos via email or social media so guests can get their photos immediately. Finally, there are newer features on photo booths like the new 360°Photo booth camera — a 360-degree camera that spins around a person (or people), which generates a spinning image or video of the people in the middle. 

Construct A Chalkboard Backdrop

A chalkboard photo backdrop is a simple but fun addition to a photo booth or area for guests to take photos with their phones. Guests can write different messages on the chalkboard and personalize their pictures to their liking. You can easily create your own chalkboard photo backdrop for a low price. To make it, you will need a drop cloth and chalkboard paint. By creating your backdrop with a drop cloth, it will be reusable for many events to come. The process to construct your chalkboard photo backdrop is simply painting the chalkboard paint on the drop cloth. Be sure to place a trash bag under the dropcloth while you paint it to avoid the paint from soaking through the fabric. After a good few coats, please wait for the drop cloth to dry completely before hanging it up and using it. Once the backdrop is done drying, you can place props around the backdrop area for your guests to use and encourage them to “Say Cheese.” Be sure to leave a stick of chalk and an eraser next to the booth so your guests can create their own unique backdrops for their photos.

Don’t forget the photo booth props

If you decide to rent a photo booth or go your own route to create your own, remember to include plenty of props and costumes. Guests like to make their photos stand out with outrageous and silly props like signs, oversized glasses, hats, and more! Here are some ideas for photo booth props

  • Small Chalkboard. (chalkboards are great for writing personalized messages) 
  • Hats (e.g., Cowboy hats or hats that match your party’s theme)
  • Masks (Great for a masquerade or Great Gatsby-themed party)
  • Feather boas (Always a fun addition)
  • Wigs
  • Oversized sunglasses

Decorate Using the School Colors

Show school spirit and pride one last time at the graduation party! When you decorate your venue, you can use the graduate’s college colors as the party’s theme colors. Check with your local party store, especially one near the school. Many local party stores intentionally carry the local high school or college color combinations and paraphernalia to draw local customers. Make it simple – you can grab balloons, streamers, signs, and even floral arrangements from the local party store. Graduation banners are a great addition as well. 

Use Graduation Banners to Decorate 

What is a graduation party without any graduation banners? The banners are usually cheap to create, and they will surely liven up your space. If you want to add more character to your party, you can drape colored banners with the word “congratulations” around your home or venue to represent the occasion. You can also add a date to the banners to create an adorable keepsake and if you need help, search for pre-made banners online.

Hire a Professional

If you would like to go for a more polished look for the party, you can reach out to a party planner or event decorator to do the job and make sure everything flows the way it should. This will save you time and ensure the school colors, theme, and vision come together perfectly. 

Rent Add-Ons

Add to the school color combination theme by renting add-on props like lighting. Wondering why lighting is so important for any special event? Lighting has the ability to bring attention to details (like your school color combinations), and it also enhances the mood and helps with party safety and security. Talk to your planner or local vendor about your options. Simple details like lighting can make a huge difference in how your event looks and feels for guests. 

Make Centerpieces with Pictures

A table centerpiece with pictures of the graduate can add a charming personal touch to the party decorations and elevate other decorations that may otherwise be too simple. Think of the difference a photo centerpiece would make alongside a simple floral arrangement. You can order custom pre-made photo centerpieces or create them yourself. You can place the centerpieces in the middle of the tables and in different areas like the cocktail seating area or food tables. Liven up your party space and pay homage to the graduate with simple photos or photos of fun times during the college years. These centerpieces are also a great party favor if you don’t want to keep the pictures for yourself. 

Hire Live A Band

A party is not really a party without great music! Hire a live band and take the stress of coordinating the music off of your plate. You can eliminate the challenge of finding the right songs and put this task in the hands of a professional who has experience in creating a fun atmosphere for guests of all types. Entertainment Exchange has access to performers who have toured with national acts and celebrity performers. Combined with the agency’s 25+ years of experience, we book some of the best live bands on the east coast. When you use a professional agency or booking agent with this type of experience, you will ensure that your graduation party has the right music to set the mood and keep the energy going. 

Offer Graduation Themed-Snacks

Snacks are a great way to keep your guests’ energy up throughout the event and will help to curb their appetites. Even if you go the more traditional or classy route for your party, consider offering snacks during the cocktail hour or towards the end of the night. If you don’t have food-type snacks, you can also provide candy and desserts. If you can, try to cater the snacks to the graduate’s taste by incorporating their favorite ingredients, candy, and colors. 

Create Graduation-Themed Snack Labels

Graduation-themed labels are a fun and creative option if you want to improve and customize your snack table. Graduation-themed labels are a unique way to display your snacks with style and show the graduate’s personality. There are plenty of websites that allow you to create and download free labels for typical snacks. For instance, if your graduate likes Starburst candy, you can use a witty label like “Reach for the Starburst.” If they like Smarties candy, you can add a “Aren’t You A Smartie” label to the candy. If you cannot find the ones you want online, you can opt to make your own to complement the party’s theme.

Make Graduation Cap Cookies

Hats off to the graduate! Graduation cap cookies are a simple and tasty way to celebrate during the party. You will need a cookie cutter to create the hat’s shape and an edible food marker to make the cookies. Use the cookie cutter to create the type of cap you want to decorate; then, you will use an edible food marker to trace the sections on your cookies. After that, fill in your sections with frosting, one at a time, with a fifteen-minute wait in between to let each area dry. If you are using a stencil, you will place it on top of the cookie after it has dried, then use another color icing to color over the stencil. Once you complete that step, remove the stencil and repeat it until all your cookies are done. Depending on the size of the party and the size of the cookie, you should try to make about three to six cookies per person attending the event. This will ensure you have more than enough cookies for everyone to enjoy. This memorable but tasty snack will have your guests continuously coming back for more throughout the whole event. 

Celebrate with Graduation Lanterns

Organize a ceremonial send-off element for the graduate with the release of lanterns. Ask your guests to write well-wishes on the lanterns and watch as guests release them into the sky. Releasing lanterns during the party will affirm the graduate’s entrance into the next part of their lives. The graduate can also get involved with the ceremony by writing down their future hopes and dreams on a lantern and then releasing them with their guests. Acknowledging hopes and dreams during the graduation party is a beautiful and sentimental touch to the party. 

Set Out A Wisdom Jar for the Graduate 

Life after college can be scary, but you can help the graduate succeed with some solid advice. College graduates are still trying to navigate the pressures and process of learning about how they will show up in the world, and giving guests a chance to offer nuggets of wisdom is great for the graduate and the guests. A wisdom jar is a great way to get your guests involved and share those nuggets. In order to pull this off, you will need small paper slips, a large jar, and a few pens at the door to make it all come together. Guests will write down their top tips for surviving after college and beyond at the entrance or gift table. When the night is over, the graduate can take a moment to sit down, read each guests’ words of wisdom and use them as a guide for planning the next part of their journey.

Hosting a graduation party is perfect for recounting memories and creating new ones before a graduate starts their new journey. Graduating from college is an exciting experience and is a massive achievement that should be celebrated with the people who love and support the graduate most. Be sure to use these entertainment ideas to make your graduate’s party one for the books! 



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