Top Ten Tips for Planning a Graduation Party

by Ellen Ambrose in Author Highlight / 05.23.08

When I found out that I was in charge of planning my cousin’s high school graduation party, I felt like I was squeezing blood out of my turnip brain. I did manage to find a few drops. Here is what came out.

After searching through all the different theme party ideas such as casino night, luau, beach party, normal “You Did It” party, Dr. Seuss Oh the Places You’ll Go pary etc., I figured out that really what a graduate wants is to be the center of attention, have their friends think they are really cool and for their party to go down in history as the best ever.

Given that the graduate wants to be somewhat of a rock star for a day here are some things that you can do to make it happen:

1. Have a life size board cut out made of the graduate and have it at the entrance of the party.

2. Have your local photo shop blow up pictures so that you have huge posters of the graduate.

3. Have a custom banner made and string it across the room. Oriental Trading is a great resource for these banners.

4. Make custom confetti where the person’s pictures actually make up the confetti.  Very nifty!
Click here to visit Photofetti

5. Make hand fans/masks from the person’s face.

6. Make party invitations out of custom printed t-shirts.

7. For party favors, make custom dog tag necklaces with graduation details like Bridget’s Blow Out Bash 2008. If it is a small party you can include all the friends names in the group on the tags.

8. Have a coffee bar and include these rock candy coffee swizzel sticks as stirrers. They are all the rage right now. Most kids in high school and college drink coffee and these are sure to be a big hit.

9. Serve this Diploma-Worthy Sangria (with or without alcohol) as the signature drink at the party.


Apple juice, for ice cubes
1 1/4 cups (10 fl. oz) water
1 small bunch fresh mint
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
3 1/4 cups (26 fl. oz) dry white wine (substitute with white grape juice for a non-alcoholic version)
2 medium peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
2 small pears, cut into chunks
2 medium oranges, sliced crosswise
2 small lemons, sliced crosswise
3 cups (24 fl. oz) sparkling apple cider
Mint leaves, to garnish (optional)


  • To make the apple juice ice cubes, pour the apple juice into two ice trays and freeze until the sangría is ready to serve.
  • Combine the water, mint leaves, sugar, and cinnamon in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for several minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Once the mixture has cooled to room temperature, remove and discard the mint and cinnamon sticks.
  • Transfer the remaining mixture to a large serving bowl
  • Add the wine, peaches, pears, and the orange and lemon slices to the serving bowl. Mix well, and refrigerate overnight.
  • Immediately before serving, mix in the sparkling apple cider and the apple juice ice cubes.
  • Garnish with fresh mint leaves, if desired.

10. Last but not least, hire a DJ and have them rock out the party. Mix the songs up and have the DJ play some of the following graduation theme songs:

  • Time of Your Life by GreenDay
  • Forever Young by Rod Stewart
  • So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday by Boys II Men
  • Graduation by Vitamin C
  • Here’s to the Night by Eve 6
  • Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson
  • I Feel Home by Of a Revolution (O.A.R.)
  • Mrs. Robinson by Simon and Garfunkel
  • Revolution by The Beatles
  • Congratulations by The Rolling Stones
  • School’s Out by Alice Cooper
  • Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads
  • I’m Moving On by Rascal Flatts
  • Goodbye by The Corrs
  • Shout by The Isley Brothers
  • Photograph by Nickleback
  • In My Life by The Beatles
  • Graduation Song by The Beach Boys
  • I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack
  • This Used to be My Playground by Madonna
  • Graduation Day by Chris Isaak
  • Closing Time by Matchbox 20
  • I Believe I Can Fly by R. Kelly
  • Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) by Green Day
  • Here’s to the Night by Eve 6
  • Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) by Baz Luhrman
  • On My Way by Phil Collins
  • Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield
  • I Will Remember you by Sarah McLachlan
  • Whenever You Remember by Carrie Underwood
  • I’m Not Gonna Cry by Corey Smith
  • I’ll Be There For You by The Rembrandts
  • You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban
  • What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
  • A Moment Like This by Kelly Clarkson

If you use some or all of these tips your graduate will absolutely feel like the rock star that they are.

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  1. Rampa, June 10, 2008:

    Wow, this is a great top 10 blog.

  2. Make-up Advice For Kids, June 16, 2008:

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