This post is all about outdoor graduation party ideas.
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It’s almost graduation party season!
Graduation is the PERFECT excuse to host an outdoor party. The weather is almost always nice at that time of year, plus you don’t have to clean your house first lol! Also, with everything that’s gone on the past couple of years, everyone just feels more comfortable attending outdoor celebrations anyways.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect decor, fun outdoor games, or good food ideas for outdoor grad parties, I have you covered!
Here are 23 backyard graduation party ideas that your guests will love.
Outdoor Graduation Party Decor Ideas
1. Hang String Lights
If you’re going to be having a backyard graduation party, you absolutely need to hang some string lights! They add such a nice ambiance to the yard, plus they’ll help people see if your party goes into the evening.
If you have trees in your yard, you can just wrap the string lights around the trees. If not, you’re going to need to get a little bit more creative.
One method I’ve seen that works really well is to stick poles into buckets full of concrete. It’s super budget friendly and very solid so you don’t have to worry about your lights falling down.
Recreate this outdoor graduation party idea:
2. Decorate a Tent
If the weather is looking a little bit iffy on the day of your outdoor graduation party, you should probably look into renting or buying a tent!
Not only will tents provide shelter in case of inclement weather, but they’re also really easy to decorate. You can hang string lights, flowers, banners, etc. from the tent structure.
If you choose to purchase a tent, you can even make some extra money after the grad party by renting it out on Craigslist or Facebook marketplace! People are always looking for affordable tent rentals in their area for backyard graduation parties, weddings, etc.
Recreate this backyard grad party idea:
3. Put Signs in The Yard
I absolutely love the idea of putting signs out in your front yard for an outdoor graduation party. It’ll make it so much easier for your guests to find the right house AND it just looks really cute!
4. Graduation Picture Centerpieces
I have a full list of 15 Graduation Party Centerpieces You’ll Want To Display On Every Table here, but one of my favorite centerpiece ideas is this simple mason jar filled with flowers.
I love the idea of putting a cutout of the graduation year on each jar. The exact cutout in the picture is this one from Etsy and it comes in the year 2022 as well.
Make your own with these supplies:
5. Graduation Party Photo Booth
A photo booth is a must-have for any grad party, but especially an outdoor graduation party.
An easy way to DIY a photo booth is to set up a backdrop, add some fun props, and set up an iPad with a photo booth app (I like SimpleBooth). Or you can have your guests use their own phones for pictures to make things extra easy!
Recreate this graduation party backdrop:
6. Bug Spray and Sunscreen Station
I’m in love with this outdoor graduation party idea! If you want to be the best host/hostess, make a bug spray and sunscreen station. Your guests will be way more comfortable and relaxed when they don’t have to worry about sun and bugs.
This is one of the easiest DIYs on the list. Just hang up a bucket of sunscreen and bug spray on a garden hook.
Make your own grad party bug spray and sunscreen station:
7. Graduate Display Table
Every graduation party needs a display table filled with memorabilia from your years in school!
This is a spot to showcase sports and academic accomplishment, photos of friends and family, and other special moments in the graduate’s life.
8. School Photo Walkway
How cute is this photo walkway for an outdoor graduation party? Display a photo from each year of the graduate’s life for guests to see as they walk up to the party.
There are a ton of different ways you could do this, but I love the simplicity of securing a photo to a wooden stake in the yard.
Recreate this graduation party walkway idea:
9. Giant Balloons
If you’re looking for a way to make a really big impact on a budget, add some giant balloons to your outdoor graduation party decor!
I love how chic and festive these oversized balloons look. Just make sure you get them filled with helium or attach them to poles if you want this same look.
If you’ve never had helium balloons filled before, you can either take them to a nearby Party City to get them filled or you can buy a canister to fill them up yourself at home.
Recreate this outdoor graduation party decor idea:
10. “Congrads” Balloons
If you have a wall or garage facing your backyard graduation party, you can hang some cute balloons that spell out “congrads”. Such an adorable play on words!
This would be the perfect backdrop for graduation party photos with guests!
Recreate this outdoor grad party idea:
11. Set Up A Balloon Arch
If you want to wow your guests right when they arrive, set up a balloon arch in the entryway to your backyard!
I love balloon arches for graduation parties because they’re super cheap but make a big impact. Plus, you can get them in your graduate’s school colors!
Recreate this balloon arch:
Outdoor Graduation Party Games
What are some fun things to do at an outdoor graduation party? Play games of course! Here are some of the best fun outdoor games for a graduation party.
[RELATED: 15 Perfect Outdoor Graduation Party Games]
12. Bag Toss
One of the best outdoor party games is bag toss (or corn hole). Everyone knows how to play it and it’s super easy to set up. Maybe it’s the midwesterner in me, but it’s just not a backyard party without a good game of bag toss!
I absolutely love this colorful bag toss game from Pinterest. You could easily DIY it with a plain bag toss set and some paint!
13. Ladder Toss
One of my all-time favorite outdoor graduation party games is ladder toss. It’s portable, super easy to set up, and fun for all ages.
Just make sure you stake the ladders into the ground or put sand bags over them! They’re super easy to tip over if you don’t.
14. Giant Jenga
Giant Jenga is another classic yard game that people love to play at graduation parties.
Be aware that the pieces are heavy, and it can hurt if they fall on you. So make sure that you don’t have really small children running around while you’re playing.
15. Giant Backyard Pong
You’ve probably heard of beer pong, but have you heard of yard pong? This giant version of the famous party game will be super fun for everyone at the party.
16. Giant Connect Four
I absolutely loved Connect 4 as a kid, and this giant version is perfect for backyard parties! Plus, I love how chic the black and white pieces look.
If you’re going for vintage vibes at your grad party, make sure you set out a game of croquet! It’s actually super fun, and up to 8 people can play at once.
Outdoor Graduation Party Food Ideas
People come to a graduation party expecting to be fed! Here are some of my favorite food and drink ideas for an outdoor graduation party.
18. Inflatable Serving Bar
This inflatable serving bar is a genius idea for your outdoor graduation party. Fill it up with a variety of drinks or bowls of food and you’re good to go. Just make sure you add plenty of ice, especially if it’s going to be a warm day out.
This is a perfect idea to put on top of your tables at your backyard grad party or even to have floating in your pool.
Recreate this outdoor grad party idea:
19. Outdoor Grad Party S’mores Station
What could be better for an outdoor graduation party than a S’mores station?
If you’re planning on having a bonfire, s’mores are an obvious must-have. But did you know that you can make s’mores even without a fire?
If you’re on a budget, you can just use some food-safe steno cans as burners. If you want something a little bit fancier, there are a ton of s’mores making kits on Amazon that even come with s’mores sticks. I love this one by the brand Nostalgia for a graduation party s’mores station.
Make your own grad party s’mores station:
20. Have a Mimosa Bar
If you’re having a daytime graduation party, make sure to set out a mimosa bar for all of the adult guests. Mimosas are my favorite drinks to serve at parties because they’re easy to make, fairly affordable, and they’re pretty low alcohol content so people won’t get too crazy.
Set out a few different types of champagne, some bowls of berries, and different types of fruit juices so people can customize their mimosas.
Also how cute is that “educated” balloon sign attached to the table??? I found the same one on Amazon (just leave out the ‘AF’ part if you want to recreate this look) and it’s only $11!
Recreate this outdoor mimosa bar:
21. Serve Fruit And Veggies
Most outdoor graduation parties happen in the summer months. People love to be served colder snacks when it’s hot outside.
My favorite chilled snack at any party is fresh fruit and veggies. Set out platters of berries, melon, cut veggies with dip, and grapes to give people some variety. I love the idea of using a tiered serving tray to save some space on the food table.
Looking for a good dip recipe for veggies? My favorite dip is just a combination of sour cream, garlic powder, dehydrated onion, and salt.
22. Elegant Drink Station
I absolutely love this girly outdoor drink station for a graduation party! I’ve never thought of bringing a bar cart outside but it’s absolutely genius!
Not only does it look cute, but it’s also super functional without taking up much space. Pair it with these adorable pink solo cups if you want it to look extra glam and girly.
If you’re going to be serving coffee or another hot drink (which I highly recommend for a daytime grad party), I also found these super cute pink thermal cups.
Obviously you can use whatever cups you have on hand, but I love the pairing of gold and pink for a glam themed graduation party. If you’re looking for other graduation party theme ideas, I have a full post of 23 Creative Graduation Party Themes Your Guests Will Love.
Recreate this backyard graduation party drink station:
23. Set Out A Taco Bar
The easiest way to feed a crowd is to do a self-serve taco bar. It’s cheap, easy to prepare, and a total crowd pleaser.
Make sure to have a ton of different filling options, including something for the vegetarians! Also, how cute is it that they served chips out of a sombrero brim? Love that idea.
Recreate this grad party taco bar:
This post was all about the best outdoor graduation party ideas.
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