Check this out for many creative college graduation party ideas full of DIY projects and graduation party dessert ideas.
When we graduated from college four years ago we knew we needed to throw a big bash to celebrate! My husband was the first person in his family to graduate college and so many friends and family wanted to celebrate with us. It also was a great reason to say thank you to all the special people in our lives who helped us get to the place we were in.
Early 20s, married, both working career jobs, and just plain feeling awesome.
When we throw a party we, well I, always feel the need to go all out. But before we get to the party, let me preface this by saying this was before I was writing a DIY blog or knew anything about taking pictures so please bare with me and my amateur ways. This party was too fun to not document in it’s entirety though.
So, welcome to the Garvin college graduation party!
We had planned for a fun, outdoor party in the park, however, the morning of our party the rain clouds opened up and we had to go to plan B and move the party indoors at our home church back in Portland.
I found the frame above at a local antique store for just a few bucks and cut down a piece of plywood, painted it with chalkboard paint, and attached it to the frame to make a custom chalkboard. I love that it can totally be used again! You can see a few years later I painted the frame and used it for our gender reveal party.
Since the party was right after church, we decided to do a full meal: pulled pork sandwiches and lots of snacks and desserts. Since this was more of a hang out party, we wanted mainly easy finger foods though.
Veggie sticks in cups with ranch that included carrot sticks, bell pepper sticks, and celery are one of my go-to party foods. Super easy to prep and put together day of the event.
Since we actually graduated a few weeks before the party, I had time to print out photos and stuck them in mason jars and placed them around the party room for some personalized decor.
Back to the food though, we went with the ever-so-popular rainbow fruit skewers and watermelon wedges. Again, super easy finger foods and easy to prep the day before the party.
The drink was super easy and tasted like spa water…yum!…water with fresh strawberries and pineapple slices. Also, if you look closely, those green and brown napkins next to the water were left over from our wedding years earlier. We figured this would be our last opportunity to do a joint party where we both were the center of attention so figured it was safe to use up the rest of our wedding napkins that were personalized with our name.
And what’s a party without desserts? So of course half of the room was for those lovely treats.
The day before the big party we spent making angel food cake skewers…and boy were they tasty!! These things are so simple to whip up!
Here’s what you need:
- Angel food cake box mix
- Melting chocolate
- Drizzle bottle
- Parchment paper
Make up angel food cake and throw them into the freezer until it’s party time. Cut strawberries in half and then skewer alternating strawberries and angel food cake. Line them all on parchment paper and using a drizzle bottle like this one melt chocolate and drizzle the skewers with the chocolate. So simple and they taste amazing!!
We also made marshmallow skewers using pretzel sticks the day before. Grab your favorite toppings, large marshmallows, and melting chocolate. I went to our local decorette shop and bought melting chocolate in our college school colors to match the theme.
Set up bowls with toppings and melted chocolate and get to work. Thankfully we had lots of family around to help with the prep work to make these adorable marshmallow skewers. We used regular chocolate melts, white chocolate melts, and orange chocolate melts. I think my favorite combination was the s’more: milk chocolate, graham cracker crumbs, and mini chocolate chips.
Here’s some other toppings we had:
- Almonds bits
- Graham cracker crumbs
- Mini chocolate chips
- Shredded coconut
The week prior to the big shindig, Justin and I spent our evenings making these adorable graduation cap pops from Bakerella.
I bought this silicone chocolate candy square mold to make the cap tops. Once they were finished hardening, we used mini m&m’s, reese’s peanut butter cups, and twizzlers to build the cap. I melted chocolate melts to use as the glue. I bought a large rectangle piece of styrofoam to put on the dessert table that I then draped fabric over. Using toothpicks, I put them into the styrofoam directly through the fabric for a cute display for grad caps.
The spot the kids loved most was the frosting cake cone station. We had lots of toppings in small glass cups left over from the marshmallow sticks and we prebaked funfetti cake mix and brownie mix into ice cream cones.
Our school colors were orange and black so obviously we went with that color scheme. I also threw in some greys to make it a little more exciting. I made circle strings using a 1 and 2 inch paper punch like this to hang around the room.
I also took my most despised class textbooks, math and economics, cut up their pages, and sewed them together with orange ribbon to make bunting flags. At the main entrance we had a table that held our diplomas and blank quilt squares that my mother-in-law is putting together filled with messages from our guests.
And one last tidbit I feel was blog worthy, Michelle Obama was our commencement speaker!! How cool is that?! And seriously, she was fantastic. Even my very conservative, Republican grandparents thought she had some good things to say.
Did you have a college graduation party?
What types of food and decor did you have?
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