Graduation Party Ideas :: Modern-Classic Style

add some modern style to a classic graduation party color palette

Today it’s graduation party ideas with modern-classic style, featuring some cool diy elements you can do ahead of time. Graduation season is just about 6 weeks away for college, and a couple of months for high school, so it’s time to start planning!

I’m excited to share this styling project that I worked on for Pear Tree Greetings in order to showcase ideas inspired by their faux foil triangles invitation. The key design features I incorporated into this graduation party were the classic black and gold color scheme, the graphic triangles from the paper goods, and photo circles that coordinate with the invitations.

I also added a few whimsical details like “graduation cap” bottle toppers, and “diploma” rolled napkins. Follow the link for the instructions for the bottle caps, but for now let me tell you about the overall decor.

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Graduation Party Ideas – Table Setting:

  • Black, gold, and white look great together, and our table is set with a black TableVogue table cover that adds drama and sets off the rest of the decorations. Gold and white paper placemats are economical for a crowd and are a great way to show place settings with or without plates on top {in case you’re serving buffet style where plates are on the food table}.
  • Black plates add more contrast when white napkins are rolled and tied with gold ribbon to look like diplomas. For a budget friendly option just use black disposable plates and utensils.
  • Our trusty Frappuccino bottles are filled with family-friendly graduation punch who’s color coordinates with the rest of the party. They’re topped with my favorite DIY of the moment – graduation caps. In my opinion these MAKE the table!
  • Low profile flower arrangements allow for conversation across the table, and they’re placed in galvanized pots that I spray painted gold.
  • Utilizing some of the accessory pieces from Pear Tree Greetings {photo circle cutouts in various sizes} I made floral picks that highlight the guest of honor.
  • I made a chair swag with more of the circles. This can designate the seat for the graduate, of course.
  • Finally, you can provide a small favor at each setting. I filled mini jars with black candies and wrapped them with gold glitter tape.  Cool Tip: I used New Years Eve printables created by Kori Clark Design {for my SheKnows project} on these. The ‘2014’ and ‘Celebrate’ design go perfectly with a graduation party.


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Dessert Table:

  • Set up a sweets table as another focal point. For this one I hung rows of tri-color garland for the backdrop. Who would have ever thought this shiny, tinsel-like “fringe” would be chic? Crazy as it sounds, this stuff is a big trend right now. I made this by cutting a 20 foot garland into 4 foot sections. I started at the bottom and hung the first row. Each row above overlaps the lower one, and the colors alternate so you get a really cool look. Use this for a backdrop for photos too!
  • One side of the table is for cake and cupcakes while the other side is a dedicated candy bar that can be consumed now or scooped into favor bags for later. Our gold, black, and white candy is from Candy Galaxy and I used a variety of chocolates, sugar candy, and gummy candy. The gummy mustaches are very popular with the kids now, and add a youthful touch.
  • The cake is chocolate with gold dust and sits on a pedestal surrounded by gold edible glitter. The topper is a group of number sparklers that can be lit when it’s time to cut the cake. They provide about a minute of sparkly fun!
  • For the cupcakes, I made these modern graphic triangle toppers that are directly inspired by the invitation. I framed one of the invitations for a coordinating display, and I’ll be sharing the triangle toppers DIY this week.


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Note Table:

  • Similar to showers and weddings, you’ll need a table for gifts and well wishes. Pear Tree Greetings has coordinating cards that guests can fill out and drop into a box for the graduate. These are a little different in that they invite you to write down a memory you have of the guest of honor. I like the idea because depending on the person writing, it can be sweet and sentimental, or funny and maybe even embarrassing. They can be read aloud during the party before a toast is given.
  • You can also have room for gifts and cards to be placed on the table.

Do you have a graduating Senior in your life? I hope these ideas have gotten your creative juices flowing. You can check out all the invitations and announcements from Pear Tree Greetings and start planning your next big event.

And as always, use these tips for birthdays and showers too!


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This is a sponsored post. Payment was received for professional services. All opinions are my own.

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    • Chris says

      Thanks Carmen. I love how they look too. May need to make more of those in different colors for different events!

    • Chris says

      Kim, those paper goods were a great inspiration for the party. Love the gold foil accent and the photo cards.

  1. says

    There are so many fun ideas here that will help to create the perfect graduation party! So many personal touches that will mean so much, as well as modern, elegant touches to wow guests and honorees alike! Love!

    • Chris says

      Thanks so much, Robyn! Only 4 more years ’till I’ll be creating one of these for my own graduate. Ahhh!

  2. Rachel says

    Where did you get those black plates? They are so elegant. Are they disposable? I love this decor theme, very beautiful!

    • Chris says

      Thanks so much, Rachel. The plates were from Target during Halloween. They’re plastic and reusable.