Shabby Chic Graduation Party Ideas

you'll love all  these ideas for a backyard graduation party, with boxed lunches, a personalized table runner, and more!

Happy Monday everyone! Today I have the second graduation party I styled for Pear Tree Greetings, and it’s completely different from the modern-classic design here. This time I used the painted year gold foil announcement with kraft paper accents, and was inspired to create a shabby chic party with boxed lunches and a few vintage-y details.

Setting up the party outside makes perfect sense for a graduation celebration. I hope this party inspires you to celebrate your graduate, or any guest of honor for that matter.  And it’s easy to recreate the details when you have the coordinating paper goods from Pear Tree Greetings.

Are you ready to see the design?!

lots of ideas for a backyard graduation party, with boxed lunches, a personalized table runner, and more!lots of ideas for a backyard graduation party, with boxed lunches, a personalized table runner, and more!graduation party boxed lunchgraduation-party-tabletop-details #graduationgraduation party ideas #graduationgraduation party ideas #graduation graduation party ideas #graduationgraduation party ideas #graduation for Pear Tree Greetings graduation party ideas #graduation


  • For this party I felt compelled to do something a little more casual, like a boxed lunch that can be pre-packed and set out just before guests arrive. Since the announcement set is black and white with kraft paper accents I chose to decorate with black, bringing in kraft paper elements, and one pop of color. The boxes are some I picked up a while back on sale, but you can order in bulk here.
  • I used the black set of tent cards as name cards and wrote down what’s inside the box on the inside of the card. Deli wraps, pasta salad, and fruit is a suitable meal and you can indicate what type of meat is used in the wrap when writing.
  • I created a table runner using kraft paper wrapping paper, and attached the Pear Tree Greetings photo circles for extra interest and personalization. You can also see that circles and dots are a recurring theme throughout the party.
  • Blue mason jars {Walmart} are topped with lids from Hobby Lobby and allow a stripey straw to go through. The pop of blue adds a vintage touch and is also seen in other areas of the party.
  • I stamped the handles of bamboo forks, using a polka dot stamp and black ink.


more graduation party ideas with a dessert table and gift area details for a graduation party dessert tablemini retro-style popcorn bags are displayed on a vintage gate, and macarons sit under a wire clochegraduation party ideas #graduation graduation party ideas #graduation

Snack Table:

  • Every party doesn’t need an ornate dessert table. The cake is traditionally the main item so I kept it simple with a specialty cake from the bakery, and a mound of macarons to nibble on. The cake is topped with a diy mini banner {see directions here}.
  • I found these vintage style bags of kettle corn at Trader Joe’s and wanted to incorporate them because they just fit into the design so well! They make great snacks to grab if your waiting for lunch or to take home later. I pinned them to my wire gate frame and they become part of the decor.
  • For a special activity, PTG has these note cards that guests can write down something they love about the guest of honor. I love that idea! Place pencils in a monogrammed mug that the graduate can take with her, and have an attractive caddy ready to hold the notes.


set up a gift receiving area using a large basket and decorative touches like paper lanterns and ribbon graduation party ideas #graduationgraduation party ideas #graduation

Gifts and Favors:

  • A wire basket makes a fantastic place for guests to place their gifts. Dress it up with themed items like the graduation year, and a graduation pennant.
  • You know I love edible favors! More kraft paper bags and polka dot bags hold candies that are in coordinating colors. A thank you note from PTG is framed and plays double duty at this favor table.
  • For the easiest decor possible, place a stack of books and a rolled up “diploma”.


Doesn’t this make you want to host a back yard picnic with boxed lunches?!

Find more party invitations and paper goods at Pear Tree Greetings. Happy Planning!

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  1. says

    I love every detail about this party. The one that really stands out to me though is the fence gate with the bags of pop corn pinned to it. That makes a wonderful background for the cake table and brings your eye up. Well done!

  2. Chris says

    Thanks Brenda. I thought the bags were so cute – you never know what you’ll be inspired by!

  3. Darlene says

    Hi Chris,
    Love all your ideas! I am having a HS graduation party for my daughter. Approx 80 people possibly more. I am looking for food buffet ideas, something simple and how much food per person? The party will start in the afternoon and people will come and go especially the kids. Any thoughts?

    • Chris says

      Hi Darlene,
      While I can make food suggestions, the amount for that size crowd is a bit outside of my realm of expertise and more of a catering question, unless you have people bringing potluck style.
      I would stick to foods that can be made and served in large batches, like pulled pork, beef, or chicken bbq {with buns}, hot dogs, hamburgers, even a fajita station. These would appeal to both younger and older guests.
      If you want to do it more ‘open house’ style wtih people coming and going, I would suggest party trays from your local grocer, caterer, or restaurant. Those are nice, too, because they’re usually already sold in quantities for 20 people, 50 people, 100 people, etc.

  4. Ann says

    my daughter’s graduating from 8th grade in june and when we saw your post on instagram she fell in love with all of it. may i ask where you got the kraft wrapping paper table runner? thank you so so much for the inspiration and for being so generous in sharing your talents!

    • Chris says

      Thanks Ann. So glad to hear she liked it. I picked up the wrapping paper from HomeGoods. You can find it at most places that sell wrapping these days. I think I’ve even seen this one (with the dots) at the Dollar Tree before.

  5. Lorna Foelber says

    What a fun party! Can you tell me where you printed the round photos? I am unable to get a successful google search on those!

  6. Chris says

    Rousse, I found these in the $1 aisle at either Target or Michaels a couple of years ago. I haven’t seen them since. I’ve seen the solid kraft, or the black and white polka dot boxes online though.