A graduation party doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There are some simple ways to celebrate and have a stress free graduation party that will go down in history as one of the greatest!

Stress Free Graduation Party ideas at TidyMom.net

Tips for Planning a STRESS FREE Graduation Party:

1. Pick the date early. Whether it is high school or college you don’t want people to have to choose between your event and someone else’s.

2. Keep it simple.

We all see the elaborate parties on blogs and on pinterest. But unless you are a party planner, going all out can be super stressful.  Set your budget and pick a color theme for your graduation party; usually school colors, or black and white, but you could always just go with the graduates favorite colors.

  • We chose Allison’s school colors, blue and yellow.  Weeks before the party I picked up plates, napkins and utensils in those colors.  I ordered custom printables from Amanda’s Parties to Go.
  • Focus on what you enjoy or something you are good at. For example if you hate to cook, enlist some friends and family to help or if the budget allows, hire a caterer.  If you like to craft, you may want to try and make decorations instead of buying pre-made.  But just don’t try to do it all.  Enlist help, buy what you can afford, or eliminate things that aren’t really necessary.

Stress Free Graduation Party ideas at TidyMom.net

We did a little of both.  We ordered pulled chicken from a local butcher, made a few simple side dishes, a pan of mostaccioli, and grilled some hotdogs.   For the desserts, we carried over the color theme by buying smiley face cookies decorated in school colors from a local bakery.  Allison helped me make banana cream pie cupcakes and used the cupcake wrappers and flags from the printable pack.  We also dipped pretzel rods in blue, yellow and white candy melts.   The printable party pack included stickers that fit on the bottom of Hershey’s kisses.

  • Beverages:  Keep the drinks simple, bottled water and a few soda choices, don’t forget to have diet and caffeine free.

Make Italian Sodas at your next party with an Italian Soda Bar! details at TidyMom.net

click here for Italian Soda Bar Details

For fun, we had an Italian Soda Bar. It was a big hit, and our one splurge.  You could certainly do the same thing on a smaller scale with fewer syrup flavors.  Posting directions made it a self serve station.

Learn how to create a GIANT PHOTO WALL...really cheap at TidyMom.net GREAT for birthday parties, graduation, showers or any celebration!

Click to see how to create a giant (inexpensive) photo wall 

  • Photos:  for a simple, inexpensive “wow” factor, I had poster sized prints of our daughter made at a local print shop for $20 and hung them on the wall around a chalk board poster board that I put in a frame I had.  I’m not too fancy with my chalk art, so I just wrote “She’s on Her Way!”  Super simple graduation party decor and you can’t beat the price!

I also made a picture slideshow of pictures of our daughter from birth through graduation.  I uploaded it to YouTube and had it playing on the smart TV during the party.

Simple Graduation Party Photo Booth at TidyMom.net

  • Photo Booth:  Photo booths are all the rage and a lot of fun at parties.  I picked up some fun costume and party favor items, like boas, glasses, crowns, wands, and grabbed a few hats and small chalkboards from the house and tossed them all in a bucket with a sign I made with the party hashtag.

Graduation Party Phtoto Booth at TidyMom.net


We just set up the ‘photo booth’  in a corner in the basement and everyone used their smart phones to take pictures and share them on Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag we were using for the party.

3. The “perfect home”.  If you are hosting a graduation party at your home, don’t stress that your home is not perfect.  Guests are there to enjoy YOU and celebrate with the graduate.   Now is not the time to clean out closets and organize drawers.  Focus on cleaning only the areas that your party guests will see; the kitchen, entry way, guest bathroom and the room the party is going to be held.

4. Weather. Don’t have your party be weather dependent, have a backup plan!

Opening graduation gifts

5. Gifts.  Graduation gift buying can be difficult.  We were thrilled to learn that Target is introducing a Back to College Registry!  Talk about making gift giving easy!  It works just like a wedding or baby registry, but it’s designed to help the grad prep for the big move to college! They can run up and down the aisles, scanning all their “must-haves” onto their registries, or simply click “add to registry” on the Target website.  What a fabulous idea isn’t it?

Create a Target Back to College Registry
Target's College Registry makes heading off the college easy.

Allison is moving into an apartment next fall for her sophomore year, and Target has all her needs covered.


Simple Graduation Party Photo Booth at TidyMom.net

Xhilaration Bed-In-A-Bag | down pillow | frosted globe lights | Keurig coffee maker | dyson cordless vacuum | LG 24″ hdTV | Sony Blue-ray player | quirky shower station | bath towels | iphone battery charger


She will be about 2 hours from home. Last year she decided she wasn’t quite ready to leave home, and decided to go to a local community college.  This year she is ready for a new adventure and to give life a go on her own. It gives me peace of mind to know that I can send her off with everything she needs to be comfortable away from home……and we can check her registry from time to time for birthdays, holidays or if I just want to send a care package to her. So fun, right?!

If you know any graduates this year, be sure to let them know about the college registry at Target, it’s the perfect way to get the grad what he or she really needs and wants.

6.  Relax and enjoy the day, spend time with your guests!

If you follow these simple tips, you are sure to enjoy a stress free graduation party.

Follow Cheryl Sousan | Tidymom.net’s board Graduation on Pinterest.

Disclaimer: I’m excited to have a working partnership with Target , sharing lots of fun and surprises this summer. All opinions and views are all my own.