How to Throw the Best Party for Your College Graduate

For many graduating high school and college students, the time of year they’ve looked forward to the most—graduation season—will be different this year, as it was last year. Unfortunately, several high schools, colleges, and universities throughout the United States postponed or called off graduation ceremonies and commencement activities because of the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis. Such decisions ultimately mean the members of the graduating classes of 2020 and 2021 won’t be able to go across the stage and get the diplomas or degrees they worked so hard for, and celebrate this achievement with their family members, friends, and classmates.

While you may be unable to celebrate your college graduate at a traditional commencement ceremony or over a meal at their favorite restaurant, you can still host a party or gathering to recognize their hard work, early mornings, and late nights. Listed below are ways to throw the best party for your college graduate.

Make all of your party plans according to the graduate’s favorites.


Whether you’re throwing a large graduation party or a small one that adheres to social gathering and distancing guidelines suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the event should be all about the college graduate. When drafting your guest list, only send invitations to attendees whose company you know the graduate will enjoy.

In keeping with basing all aspects of the party on the graduate, consider getting decorations like balloons, streamers, banners, party cups, paper plates, and more in your graduate’s favorite colors. Another good idea is to go with your graduating student’s school colors as the decoration theme if they have a strong school spirit. The entertainment should be a reflection of the graduate as well. To make your party enjoyable for the person you’re honoring, make up a music playlist that features all their favorite songs. Any games you play at the party should also be all about the college graduate. For instance, a festive way to celebrate the graduate is to have guests write down a memory or experience they share with the graduate. Designate one person to read the memories out loud and have your guest of honor try to guess who wrote the memory.

Make a toast to your graduate with the highest quality drinks crafted by the best American brewers.


Hosting a graduation party can be your opportunity to get creative. Food, drinks, and refreshments are essential parts of parties, so consider following a theme when determining what you’ll serve. For instance, you could make graduation-themed treats, such as cookies shaped like caps and gowns, or cakes decorated with diplomas or the graduate’s class year on top. Maybe the graduating student you’re honoring spent time overseas participating in a study abroad program. You could use that country as a theme for the food, drinks, and refreshments you’ll serve, making sure to have your graduate’s favorite meal they ate overseas on the party menu.

As most college graduates are 21 years old and up, a graduation party could be the event where a graduate has their first drink with alcohol content or gets introduced to a new beer, champagne, or cocktail. It could be festive to create a custom cocktail in honor of the graduate and name it after them. Such a drink should consist of ingredients and flavors that you think the graduate would enjoy. American IPA style beer, for instance, an American version of English IPA style beer, is all about fruity characters, a hop flavor, bitterness, and aroma. This beer style, a top-selling beer and favorite category at the Great American Beer Festival could be excellent for those who enjoy fruitiness and aromatic beverages. Acquire the best, high-quality craft beer, ale, wine, and spirits you can find from a trustworthy liquor store.

Consider throwing a virtual party for your graduate.

Suppose the plans you make for a small gathering or in-person get-together of some of your college graduate’s family members and closest friends don’t work out. In that case, you could always modify your celebrations to fit the ‘new normal’ caused by COVID-19 and arrange to have a socially distant party for your graduate. Instead of letting canceled commencement events prevent students from celebrating the graduation they’ve worked hard for and always imagined, organize an event through Zoom, Skype, or other remote connectivity tools.

Gathering over a computer screen could be a bittersweet experience for some graduates and their families. Still, it’s one way to show support to graduates and give them well-deserved recognition. To spice up a virtual party and make it more fun given the circumstances, consider hanging a large screen or a white sheet for projecting your Zoom or Skype screen. Projecting your screen can be a great way to make it feel like your virtual guests are right there to celebrate your college graduate with you.