By Gigli Team

7 Iconic College Graduation Party Ideas

Your college graduation is not just the culmination of years of hard work and dedication, but also the threshold of a new beginning. It’s a time full of pride and joy, celebrating the achievements and amazing lifelong connections you’ve made. Graduation is the capstone to this time in your life and it deserves an event to remember.

You may have been to a lot of graduation parties and noticed a similar trend: lawn games, pulled pork sandwiches, burgers, and a beer cooler. And of course, there’s nothing wrong with that! But it's 2024. It's time to rethink the grad party and make it your own. With our 7 tips you should feel empowered to take your grad party in a new, more colorful direction.


7 College Graduation Party Ideas

1. Global Street Food Stations

With this graduation party food idea, you will leave your guests asking “Omg what is this? Where is it from? It is so amazing!” Ditch the typical burgers and pulled pork for an eclectic mix of global street food. Offering bite-sized, flavorful options like tapas, momos, or mini tacos, cater to diverse palates and encourage conversation among guests about their own travels. If you studied abroad, consider making some of your favorite street food dishes to share your experience with your guests. You can always keep a couple burgers around for your uncles who aren’t so adventurous. If you have the budget, invite a couple street food trucks to cater your party so you don’t have to worry about making the food!


2. Create Your Own THC Cocktail and Mocktail Station

Get your guests mingling with a cocktail station featuring THC cocktails. This twist on drinks allows your guests to have the most fun without a hangover afterwards. Start with some premixed cocktails from Gigli for a variety of flavors and THC dosages. Next, create a station with cups, fruit juices, herbs, fresh fruits, and other garnish so that guests can create their own cocktail! This is a great way for strangers to start friendly conversations and bring out some giggles.


3. Crowdsource Your College Pictures

If you are on the artsy side, you might enjoy crowdsourcing pictures of your college adventures from friends and family. You might be surprised at the photos you forgot were taken and the stories that go along with them. When you send your party invitation, ask everyone to send a few pictures of their time with you growing up or in college. You can set up these pictures in a slideshow that runs on a loop either on a projector or on your TV. This will be a great way for people to see your experience at college without having to hear every detail from you--after all a picture is worth a thousand words! If you’re feeling extra, you could even combine everyone’s photos into a digital zine and have it printed. We love this idea for a group party as a permanent reminder of your time together!


4. Make a Theme around your University Colors, Major, or Your Post-Grad Plans

Choosing a major is one of the hardest things we did as college students, and if you really loved your decision, it can be a fun theme to base your party around your major or your next step. This is easier for some majors than others, for example an economics major might not have an obvious theme, but you can get creative! When it comes to using next steps for inspiration, for example, if you are going back to school for pre-med you theme your party in that direction, or if you are going to travel, you can have fun with that. Of course, you can always opt for theming your party after your school's color, logo, and mascot. If you went to a bigger university, you can probably easily find pre-made decorations.


5. Polaroid Photo Booth

Photo booths are a great way to encourage friends and family to take a picture without feeling awkward. You can theme it around your overall party theme which can make your party feel on-brand and everyone will be able to recognize where they were when they took the picture. Having an instant camera on hand also provides the perfect souvenirs for your guests to take home and remember their time! Or, you can keep them and make a collage or memory book to cap off this stage of your life.

6. Make Your Party Eco Friendly

Part of taking responsibility as a young adult is thinking globally and acting locally. Here are some simple ideas to make your party more eco-friendly without major inconvenience:

  • Provide compostable plates, cups, and cutlery - or buy some cheap dishes and silverware at a thrift store for use for future parties.
  • Use cloth napkins.
  • Set-up clear trash, recycling, and compost waste disposals.
  • Buy local and organically produced produce and products when available.
  • Purchase products that come in recyclable containers like Gigli.
  • Digital invitations or seed paper invitations.
  • Consider borrowing decorations and games instead of buying new ones.
  • Reuse posters and college memorabilia as decorations.
  • Encourage your friends and family to carpool.
  • Shop in bulk to reduce packaging waste.

7. Project a Movie to Wrap-up the Night

After everyone has had their fill of amazing food and reached their socializing capacity, it can be nice to unwind with a film. There is nothing more vibey than watching a film with all your college friends outside after your graduation party dies down. You can throw on one of your friend group’s favorites or pick a classic coming-of-age or college party movie, like Superbad, American Pie, 21 Jump Street, or Dazed and Confused.

Overall: Keep it Personal

Whether or not you adopt some of these ideas into your event, just remember the idea of the party should relate to your personality and your time in college. As long as you honor that idea and center the activities, food, and decorations around that core theme, you’ll have an amazing time no. Stay thoughtful, and don’t overstress—after all, that’s what college was for! Now is the time to unwind and be in the moment with those who supported you on your college journey.

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