Virtual graduation party ideas worthy of a cap toss

Know somebody special who’s graduating this year? Whether it’s from high school, kindergarten, trade school, or anything else, it’s a big accomplishment and a major milestone. Even though COVID has made it harder to celebrate life events in person, there are still socially distanced ways you can make the grad feel special. Virtual parties are a safe and festive way to celebrate the grad, and have become more commonplace in the pandemic. To get you started, we rounded up our favorite virtual graduation ideas, drive by graduation party ideas, and wording examples for your virtual graduation invitation

What is a virtual graduation party?

Like many big events and gatherings, your son’s or daughter’s in-person graduation may be canceled this year and be livestreamed instead. It’s an experience lots of grads are having due to social distancing rules put in place to prioritize everyone’s health and safety. Since you still likely want to celebrate their achievement with family and friends, we suggest making the graduation party virtual, too.


For a virtual graduation party, you’ll set up a video call (using a simple platform like Zoom or Google Hangouts), where all of your friends and extended relatives can join via their webcams. Think of it as one giant FaceTime. In the last year or so, many people have been working or studying from home and are likely familiar with these platforms and celebrating via screen time. There are many things you can do to make the quarantine graduation party feel like the real deal, and you can easily tweak any of our graduation invitations to work for a virtual bash. Just add your Zoom link in the event details.

How do you do a virtual graduation party?

Scrapbook” virtual graduation invitation by Paperless Post


Setting up a virtual party is easier than you may think. The important thing is to remember to include the details (like the meeting link!) in the virtual graduation party invitation. If there are some people who may have a challenging time setting it up, or aren’t very familiar with the platform you choose, offer in the invitation the freedom to message you or another host with any questions. Or provide a tutorial to less tech-savvy guests. You may also want to do a test run with some of these newbies a day or two before the virtual party. 


— Set a time and date.

— Pick a format: In addition to Zoom graduation parties, many hosts of virtual celebrations have opted to organize drive-by graduation parties (also known as graduation parades).

— Pick your technology: Zoom and Google Hangouts are two of the most popular.

— If you are doing a Zoom graduation party, don’t forget to include a meeting link and password (if applicable) in your virtual graduation party invitation.

— Include a photo of the graduate wearing their cap and gown in your invitation.

— Include any other details guests may need to know: Is there a theme? Will there be games? Do they need to download a certain virtual background? Any specific drink or snack recipes they should have ready?

How do you make a virtual graduation party feel special?

We encourage people to get creative with the party itself. After all, it is a party! You may be surprised to find just how creative people have gotten with their COVID graduation party ideas. From making a fun theme (island luau, anyone?) to reenacting the big diploma moment with Pomp and Circumstance playing, to having guests play bingo with gift cards as prizes, there are tons of great ideas to keep your virtual party entertaining and (most important of all) make the grad of honor feel special.

Virtual graduation party ideas

Depending on your grad and who is attending, some ideas may be better suited to your virtual party than others. But, we think this list will give you some great places to start. If you want guests to feel like they can pop in and out when it’s best for them, create an itinerary that shows what times you will be doing which activities. 


1. Host a virtual dinner party featuring the grad’s favorite meal with grandparents and close relatives or friends. Or if the grad is a budding chef, take a virtual cooking class together!


2. Have a celebrity congratulate them on Cameo and play the special message during the party.


3. Share a Powerpoint presentation highlighting the grad’s academic years—everyone loves seeing a high school grad’s photos as far back as kindergarten!


4. Send matching graduation zoom backgrounds to guests. Use a photo of the grad, or their school campus, or a university logo to show school spirit. Zoom backgrounds are a great way to make the party feel coherent. Our Personal Design Services team can help design a virtual graduation background perfect for your virtual grad party.

Graduation zoom backgroundsGraduation zoom backgrounds from Paperless Post


5. Have guests create and send you short video messages ahead of time. Then, stitch the video clips together and share the whole video during the party.


6. Construct a “stage” at home and have your graduate walk across it with their choice of music playing. This way, your guests can hoot and holler like they would at a graduation ceremony IRL.


7. Host an open house-style virtual graduation party where loved ones can pop into the Zoom to congratulate the graduate, say hi to friends and family, and hop out. 


8. Send out little “goodie bags” ahead of time with snacks, drinks, hats, or anything else that adds to the festive event.


9. Play games! Create a personalized version of bingo or trivia about the grad. To spice things up, award winners with gift cards.


10. Have a scavenger hunt with random household items and award people who can find things in their home the fastest.


11. Pick a future date for an IRL graduation party and send a party save the date.

How to throw a drive-by graduation party?

Joy Ride” graduation parade invitation by Cheree Berry


Another popular way to celebrate that doesn’t require webcams is to have a drive-by graduation party, or graduation car parade. It’s a nice way for the grad to get to celebrate in a socially distanced way with friends and family who live nearby (and it’s sure to get attention). Pick a meetup location where everyone can assemble and head to the grad’s house at the same time. If you want to increase the social distancing, assign people in groups to come by at different times. 

Drive-by graduation party ideas 

Road Trip to Portland” drive by graduation invite by Mr. Boddington’s Studio


1. Get a drive-by graduation party sign for the front yard. Amp up the energy by creating a special playlist the cars can play as they go by.


2. Decorate outside with balloons.


3. Encourage graduation car decorations, like ribbons, balloons, or paint in the color of the grad’s school.


4. Leave out individually wrapped goodies or food for guests to grab as they swing by.


5. Leave out a jar, guestbook, or framed canvas for guests to write the grad a note of congratulations.


6. Designate an area where guests can drop off any gifts or cards for the graduate.


7. Play some music and have the grad greet people from the driveway, encouraging guests to park and have a socially distanced dance party. (Don’t forget your masks!)


8. Create a socially distanced photo opportunity. Leave out an Instax camera for guests to take a picture and post it in a scrapbook, or an Instax photo album.  


9. Make it a surprise! Encourage guests to beep, honk, shout, and wave, but don’t tell the grad beforehand! 

Graduation party wording ideas

Need inspiration for your virtual graduation party invitation wording? We have some examples below, but feel free to add your own creative flair. Don’t forget to include relevant info like if there is a theme, or if guests should be sending, prepping, or receiving anything ahead of time. Include helpful tech tips for guests who aren’t as familiar with virtual parties. 


Paperless Post has a diverse assortment of graduation party invitations that can easily be made to accommodate a virtual party. The opposite is also true—browse our virtual party invitations for ideas on wording and formatting, then use a graduation party invitation template or just tweak the wording to speak to a grad party. Don’t be afraid of a little humor. Puns and clever word play can go a long way to acknowledge what a strange time we are living in.

Virtual graduation party invitation wording:

You’re invited to a virtual celebration

In honor of Margo’s graduation

Saturday, April 14th at 11am

Link to follow. Please RSVP.

Virtual college graduation party wording example:

You’re invited to Sarah’s Virtual Graduation Party

Hosted by Aunt Tina and Uncle Randy

Join us virtually to celebrate the graduation of Sarah Rebecca Smith

from University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin.

Festive attire encouraged. Saturday, May 29, 2021. 10:00AM CST. LINK TO ZOOM. Please RSVP

Graduation car parade wording example:

It’s a car parade!

Drive by our home for a socially distanced graduation party 

to celebrate Sabrina and the class of 2021. 

Sunday, June 26th at 3pm PST

3546 N. Forest Avenue, Portland, OR


Kindergarten graduation car parade wording example:

Hip, hip, hooray! It’s a car parade!

We’re celebrating the kindergarten graduates.

Please remain in your cars. We will have a socially distanced photo opp. Pop open your truck for us to give you a diploma and a surprise. Please RSVP.

Surprise drive-by graduation wording example:

Drive by, honk, and wave—it’s a drive-by surprise graduation parade! 

In honor of Olivia 

Sunday, May 17th at 3pm

3456 Cactus Drive, Scottsdale, AZ

Please RSVP so we can send details on where to meet. And remember, it’s a surprise!


Commencement might be canceled, but you can still have your proud parent moment with virtual graduation party invitations and college graduation announcements. There are also so many ways you can make a graduation car parade fun and safe at the same time.Contact us for complimentary design services. No ask too big, or small.  


Hero image “Instant Nostalgia” virtual graduation party invitation by Paperless Post.