9 Backyard graduation party Ideas

9 budget-friendly backyard graduation party ideas

Make it a night to remember.

The studying has stopped, the tests have been taken and the scores are finally on the doors. Congratulations, you’re graduating!

Whether you’re a high school graduate or you’re entering the adult world fresh from college and university, you deserve to see your schooling days out in serious style. 

For many, graduation is a day to host an epic house party packed full of people. But for others, it’s a day to celebrate in their backyard with close friends and family. 

The Great Outdoors

When it comes to putting on and planning your own graduation party, there’s so much to consider. What food will you serve? How will you make ever-lasting memories? What graduation party activities should you plan? How can host a graduation party on a budget?

Firstly, backyard graduation parties will cut venue costs down considerably. That means more money to spend on food, drinks and activities.

Not only can you create a perfect Pinterest-worthy event in your backyard, but you and your friends can also have the time of your lives right in the comfort of your own home. 

So you’ve cracked the venue. Now, it’s time to get down to business. We’ve taken the stress out of food, drink and activity decisions with nine of the best budget-friendly backyard graduation party ideas.

Graduation Party Food Ideas

Walking Tacos

You might not have time for a formal sit-down meal at your graduation event. So, why not keep your friends and family full on the go with this innovative walking tacos station?

To build your station on a budget, firstly pick some chips. Alongside, offer a selection of meats, chargrilled veggies, toppings and classic dips. Think homemade chunky guacamole, soured cream and fresh salsa. 

To assemble, get your guests to spoon their taco toppings into the chip bags. Give the packet a shake and then tuck into your walking tacos. Minimal effort for a maximum flavour sensation.

Graduation Bagel Bar

If you’re thinking of hosting a graduation brunch party, then a dedicated bagel buffet is the way to go.

Firstly, head down to your local bakery or food store and scoop up three different types of bagels. Then, fill the bagel station with all of your favorite sweet and savoury toppings. 

The best fully-loaded bagel buffets feature cream cheese, fresh fruit, crispy bacon and avocado. However, you can also include everything from smoked salmon to chocolate spread and peanut butter.

Backyard graduation party ideas - bagel bar. Image credit: Pinterest/Plasticlipstick.
Backyard graduation party ideas – bagel bar. Image credit: Pinterest/Plasticlipstick.

Fruit skewers and fruit platters

Cool and refreshing, if it’s hot out then a fruit platter will never go amiss. But, if you want to make your fruit selection a little more filling, you could create skewers instead.

Chunks of tasty watermelon go perfect with cubes of tangy feta cheese and fresh sprigs of mint. Chocolate and strawberries are a match made in heaven too. You could even add coconut to your pineapple skewers for a pina colada-inspired snack. 

As long as there is an equal amount of savoury to balance out the sweet, then these foody backyard graduation party ideas will go down a treat with your guests. Go wild.

Graduation Party Drink Ideas

Kiddie Pool Hack

If it’s hot out then you don’t want your drinks to get warm at your graduation party. A genius way to keep your sealed beverages chilled is by loading them into a kiddie pool.

Put your cans and bottles into a kiddie pool and fill it with cubed and crushed ice. Keep it topped up during the party and you’ve got a DIY drinks cooler on a budget. It’s the ultimate party hack.

Kiddie Pool DIY drinks cooler hack for backyard graduation party ideas. Image credit: Bustle.
Kiddie Pool DIY drinks cooler hack. Image credit: Bustle.

Mocktails in drink dispensers

Save time and space by pre-batching mocktails in large glass drink dispensers. Your graduation guests can simply turn the tap and refill their cups throughout the party.

Once the drink dispenser is empty, simply fill it back up in the kitchen with your pre-prepared mocktail mix. You can make everything from fresh lemonade to fruity concoctions to keep you hydrated and happy.

You could even stamp reusable paper cups with a personalised graduation stamp. They’ll look great in photographs, too.

Backyard Graduation Party Ideas – activities

Pin the Tail On the Graduate

Remember playing Pin the Tail On the Donkey? This classic kids game just got a graduation spin.

All you need to play Pin the Tassle On the Graduate is a blindfold, a perfect picture of your or your friends’ faces from the graduation ceremony and some tassles to pin.

If you’re looking for backyard graduation party ideas and activities you can get everyone involved in, this is the one. Why not add some prizes into the mix to make this game a little more competitive?

Disposable Cameras

Make some memories the old-fashioned way using disposable cameras. Perfect for low-key events, each of your guests takes a disposable camera and snaps their way through the graduation party.

Afterwards, you all get together to get your pictures printed. A way cooler way to make memories than just taking pictures on your iPhone. This is one of my favourite fun backyard graduation party ideas.

Polaroid Guest Book

A polaroid guest book is a perfect way to remember your backyard graduation party for years to come. Provide a polaroid camera and get your friends to snap a selfie before sticking it in a lined guest book. 

Then, get them to write a fun quote, a memorable student memory or simply a ‘good luck’ wish underneath? The guest book will be something to treasure forever.

Photo backdrops on a budget

Stage your graduation photographs exactly how you want them. I love this Friends-inspired backdrops and also these Polaroid-style picture backdrops. Put your own spin on it and let your personality shine. 

Creating your own photo backdrops is a much cheaper way than hiring a professional photographer or an extravagant photo booth. Let your imagination run wild, but don’t forget to say cheese.

Feature Image Credit: Maddie Bazzocco/Logan Isbell (via Unsplash)