*LONGEST. SIGH. EVERRRRRRRRR.* No way around it; 2020 Grads have definitely drawn the short stick. Actually…the shortest stick. We were sooo looking forward to seeing our only baby walk across the stage in her cap and gown to accept her Kindergarten diploma. And once reality set in that it just ain’t happening this year, you better believe I threw myself a little pity party.
But after drowning my sorrows neck high in Shirley Temples (yeah...let’s go with that), I eventually snapped myself out of my stupor and realized there is no reason we still can’t have the most EPIC. GRADUATION. EVERRRRRRRRR!
So don’t despair, my friend, there is hope! Whether you are having a small party inside your home, in your backyard, a drive-by parade, or even a virtual one over Zoom, we have the best tips to make it without a doubt, the most memorable, and yes - even stress free! - graduation of your life! And did I mention the FREE PRINTABLES yet?? Cause yeah, we have a TON of those!!! 📣 📣 📣
One of my favorite ways to make a big impact with little effort is with a balloon garland. These are perfect for hanging above your main display or dessert table, or even over a fireplace. I love assembling the garland a day or two in advance of the party, so there is one less thing to worry about on the big day. Worst case, these air-filled balloon garlands last a couple of days. But they can last weeks sometimes! This Grad Party Balloon Garland Kit comes with seriously everything you need to create one yourself and is available in silver or gold accents. Bonus! It even includes a "2020" Balloon Banner.
Make sure your graduate feels extra special by hanging up a photo collage with super adorable (or super embarrassing - your choice!) pics of them on the wall or by setting up framed pictures on a table. If you’re really looking to get into your feels 😭 , display all of your senior’s previous class pictures. This is also a good spot to show off some of their favorite things or accomplishments throughout the years.
And don’t forget about the front door! Hang these cute “2020” balloons on either side of your door for all of the neighbors and drive-by parade guests to see. This is also the perfect place to hang your Grad’s cap and gown and display any memorabilia from their school or extra-curricular activities.
Now you know the rules: you can’t call it a party unless there’s cake. One of my favorite things to do is to order a plain round cake from the local grocery store (📣 shoutout to H-E-B 📣 ) with or without frosting, display it on a cake stand, and just stick a festive cake topper in it and call it a day. Here is a chic option that can be used for any celebration:
To have a couple different flavor options, I’ll usually grab some cupcakes too, and use those to fill in the dessert table. Once again, toppers are here to save the day. These adorable star treat toppers are perfect for a graduation theme.
I like to keep the party food pretty simple. What can I say? I’m Basic AF. Instead of complicated recipes, I tend to rely on half-baked food puns (there I go again!) to distract guests from the fact that I put very little effort into preparing food. I just use tent place cards to label them.
An easy way to decorate the dessert table is to create a candy buffet and fill bowls with assorted treats:
Gummy Worm "Book Worms"
Ring Pop "Class Rings"
Tootsie Roll "Honor Rolls"
"Smartie Pants" Smarties Candies
These punny foods are sure to make the younger Grads crack up with laughter, while simultaneously causing the teen Grads to rolls their eyes out of embarrassment. Either way, you’re still entertained! 🤣
Easy Graduation Party Tableware
Now you’ve worked hard to throw one epic celebration. Don’t punish yourself after with the cleanup! We love this fun party pack with disposable plates, napkins, cups, and biodegradable utensils.
And if you’re looking for more elevated tableware, this party kit includes a super chic version of that. It’s perfect for that college grad or the too-old-for-her-darn-britches high school senior of yours.
And if you’re feeling extra fancy, TREAT YO' SELF and sip out of these reusable plastic stemless wine cups.
At Home DIY Graduation Ceremony Ideas
Easy Commencement Speech Tips
Feeling bummed about missing all the long, boring commencement speeches? Yeah, me either 😲 . But that doesn’t mean you can’t have your own non-boring speech. And even better - have your guests do it for you!
You can get it started by saying a few inspirational and/or funny sentences about graduating, but here’s where it gets interesting…give each guest a turn to contribute a sentence or two of their own. By the time everyone has had a turn, you will end up with a truly unique commencement speech!
Fun Graduation Ceremony Game
A variation of this commencement speech would be the storytelling game “Suddenly!” In this game, your guests make up a story about how graduation could have gone had it taken place normally this year. Start the story with three sentences to get it going, followed by “suddenly…” The next person will then pickup the story and take it in whichever direction they choose by contributing the next three sentences, once again followed by “suddenly…” - the more ridiculous, the better! The game ends once everyone has had a chance to participate. BONUS! These can be done in person or virtually over Zoom!
Gap and Gown Choices for the Graduate
If your Grad’s school isn’t providing you with the option to buy a cap and gown this year, or if you homeschool, don’t let that stop you from getting a set. And be sure to get the “2020” tassel charm for the cap too. Here are some options for younger Grads, while these work for more adult sized Grads.
Graduation Cap Topper Inspiration
If you’re feeling crafty, design a fun topper for the cap with your Grad. You can find so many clever ideas for inspiration on Pinterest. But if you’re more of an Amazon Prime kinda girl, I got you! These fun tassel toppers are done for you:
Graduation Diploma Ideas
Our school didn't provide a diploma for the Kindergarten Grads this year, so I created my own! Get this free printable diploma you can fill in, or make your own with this fancy paper [here].
For extra cheese, make sure to play “Pomp and Circumstance” while you hand your Grad their diploma. The older kids with LOVE this 😂 ! And don't forget to shift that tassel over from the right side of their cap to the left once the Grad receives their diploma.
Now if you're anything like me and just barely kept it together while trying to homeschool on top of ALL THE THINGS, you deserve a diploma too, Mama!
At Home Graduation Processional
If you're doing a drive-by grad party this year, ask your parade guests to participate in the processional and wear their old regalia. Who knew there would actually be an opportunity for us to wear these things again?? For even more fun, have them trim their cars with signs and decorations. You can hold a contest for the most festive vehicle, and the Grad can choose their favorite!
Entertainment & Activity Ideas for Your At-Home Graduation Party
DIY Photo Booth for Your Graduation Gets a Major Upgrade
Selfies or it didn't happen!We all know it ain’t a party unless there is a photo booth. And I’m not talking about the kind that comes with a germ-y stranger as an attendant. These days, you can order a photo booth for your at-home party, and it will ship straight to you, almost magically appearing at your doorstep. We ship ours everywhere in the continental US. It’s super simple to setup, and your Grad can spend all weekend perfecting their selfie and have fun posting to their social media of choice. The booth comes with a fun backdrop and extras, like a balloon garland with “2020” balloons, and easy-to-assemble props you can keep! You can add a printer option, if you'd like, and the graphics on the pics can be customized for your party as well. We can even schedule a pickup for you when you’re done using it, so there is no need to leave your house! It’s such a fun way to remember your graduate’s special day.
For a really unique twist to your drive-by parade, set the photo booth in your driveway or on the sidewalk. Your guests can park their car at the curb or in your driveway, and you can start a photo booth session from there! Or they can walk right up to the booth from a safe distance. All the pics can be texted and/or emailed to your guests and shared for free to an online gallery. 🤩
Photo Booth Pulls Double Duty as Entertainment and Party Favors
Prints from the photo booth sessions are the perfect party favors for your guests and can be used to make a photo book or scrapbook for your Grad too!
In lieu of traditional “Thank You” cards, have your Grad create a funny GIF or Boomerang using the photo booth and send digitally to the guests after the party! Learn more about this ship-to-you DIY Photo Booth and its features here.
Grab a free “#Quarantined” sign here to printout and take selfies with!
DIY DJ Setup for Your Graduation Party at Home
If you want to really take your D.I.Y. party P.R.O. you’re going to want an awesome speaker setup with some party-inducing tunes. This compact speaker carries a not-so-compact sound and can also be rented and shipped straight to and from your door as well! Preloaded with party faves and able to connect to your music streaming service of choice, like Pandora, Spotify, and Amazon Music, this option is a no-brainer! And check out our Spotify Playlist for some inspiration.
Another cool feature of this setup is the microphone. Use it to emcee your event or to sing your heart out with built-in karaoke! I know my Kinder Grad cannot wait to belt out some JoJo Siwa tunes at her graduation this year!
Fun Party Games for Your At-Home or Virtual Graduation
Free "Grad Libs" Graduation Party Game Printable
Speaking of fun, games are a must for any self-respecting party! One of my faves is a “Grad Libs” game. Have your family and friends fill in the blanks of these fun printables with their advice for the Grad. They tend to take a silly turn pretty fast, so these are hilarious to read out loud during the party. These can even be sent digitally to people beforehand to fill out, if you decide to go with a virtual party or drive-by parade.
"Grad-ergories" Free Party Printable for Your Graduation
We also love this “Grad-egories” game. Once the timer starts, your guests come up with as many words as possible that fit into each category and begins with a particular letter. This Scattergories style game printable uses the letters in the word “GRAD.”
Free Printable "Final Exam" Grad Trivia Party Game
Test your guests’ knowledge of the Graduate with this “Final Exam” Grad trivia game! Compare their answers to the one the graduate fills out to see who knows the guest of honor the best!
Funny Grad Party Icebreaker Game
Another way to get your guests more involved in the fun would be to have them all send funny or embarrassing stories of their past or unique facts about themselves in advance of the party. You can then have everyone guess which person you are describing when you read these aloud; the person with the most right answers wins! This is sure to create lots of laughs and really break the ice.
And don't forget prizes for the game winners! Gift cards are what we plan to give away, and they are one of the best ways you can support your favorite local stores right now.
Practice Safe Partying in 2020
Face Mask is the New Black
No 2020 graduation party would be complete without face masks! Practice responsible partying by offering these to your family to wear while they celebrate at a 6 foot distance from the Graduate. Who could have predicted that these would be the biggest party trend of the year??
And I tell ya nothing goes better with face masks than these hilarious shirts that commemorate all the sh** these poor Graduates have had to shovel through this year. Cause if we couldn’t laugh, we’d just never stop crying, AMIRIGHT?? 😬
The Best Ways to Celebrate Your 2020 Graduate
I don’t know about you, but I fully intend to make some Lemonade Quarantinis out of these lemons the Grads have been dealt this year. Follow our easy guide, and I promise, your 2020 Grad will not feel like they missed out on ANYTHING.
Just make sure you Pin this to save all these juicy tips for later! And speaking of Pinterest, check out our Grad Board. We update it regularly with fun graduation ideas, so make sure to follow us to stay in the know!
How are you planning on celebrating the Graduate in your life this year? Be sure to let us know in the comments below! 👇👇👇
So one of your little's has a birthday coming up but every jump gymnasium, party store, and animatronic laden pizza arcade is closed - and to top it off, their friends can't come over. I know this seems like a recipe for a day of hurt feelings, disappointment, and tears - and without proper planning it may be. But I promise by the end of this, your head will be buzzing with simple ideas from my family to yours on how to turn an otherwise gloomy day into one so unique and memorable, you may even make new birthday traditions along the way.