Graduating is a big milestone. Unfortunately, COVID has made it harder to celebrate large events in-person. High school, kindergarten, and college graduations are moving online, or worse, being cancelled. Still, there are safe ways to host a gradation party.
Virtual parties are a festive way to celebrate your grad, and they are much more commonplace than before the pandemic. Alternatively, you can host a socially-distant party like a backyard BBQ or a drive-by graduation party. Below are a few of our favorite virtual graduation ideas, including online graduation parties, outdoor graduation ideas, and drive by graduation party ideas. We also included wording examples for your virtual graduation invitation.
What is a virtual graduation party?
Unfortunately, many commencements may be canceled this year due to COVID, or they may be live-streamed due to social distancing rules. Luckily there are still safe ways to celebrate this milestone with family and friends. One of the safest is a virtual graduation party.
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?
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 your virtual graduation party invitation.
Scrapbook virtual graduation invitation by Paperless Post
— 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 there are guests who don’t have these apps set-up, or are unfamiliar with your chosen platform, offer help in the invitation. Let them know they can message you or another named host with any questions. You can also provide a tutorial ahead of the event 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.
— 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 virtual graduation party itself. After all, it is a party! We love how creative people have gotten with their COVID graduation party ideas. From making a fun theme (island luau party, 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. The most important goal, however, is to make the grad of honor feel special.
Grad As Can Be and Golden Cap graduation invitation by Paperless Post
Virtual graduation ideas
Depending on your grad and the makeup of guests, some virtual graduation ideas may be better suited to your celebration than others. But, this list will hopefully give you a place 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 Background from Paperless Post
5. Have guests create and send you short video messages ahead of time. Stitch the video clips together and share the 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 in-person graduation party and send a party save the date.
Virtual graduation invitation wording
Need inspiration for your virtual graduation party invitation wording? We provided some examples below, and 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.
Grad Confetti graduation invitation by Paperless Post
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 of any invitation to speak to a graduation 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.
High school graduation party invitation wording
You’re invited to a virtual celebration
in honor of Margo’s high school graduation
Saturday, April 14th at 11am
Link to follow. Please RSVP.
Virtual college graduation party wording
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
How to throw a drive by graduation party?
Joy Ride drive by graduation invitation by Cheree Berry
Another safe graduation party format is a drive-by graduation party, also known as a graduation car parade. It’s a nice way for the grad to be celebrated by friends and family in a socially distanced way. The first step is to pick a meetup location where everyone can easily assemble. From there you can all head to the grad’s house together. If you want to increase social distancing, assign people in groups to come by at different times.
Drive by graduation party ideas
Road Trip to Portland drive by graduation invitation 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 or other accessories.
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. Include personalized paper plates for an extra special touch.
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! Above all, encourage guests to beep, honk, shout, and wave, but don’t tell the grad beforehand!
Drive by graduation invitation wording
Best Yet to Come graduation drive by invitation by Mr. Boddington’s Studio
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 drive by wording
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 party wording
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 that we can send where to meet. And remember, it’s a surprise!
Digital graduation announcements
If you don’t plan to host a graduation party, you can still celebrate your college graduate’s hard work with digital graduation announcements. Keep your circle in the loop and show your parental pride with college graduation announcements, delivered instantly.
Nightly and Deco Degree college graduation announcements by Paperless Post
Celebrate your proud parent moment with graduation party invitations and online graduation announcements. There are also so many ways you can make a graduation car parade or an outdoor graduation party fun and safe at the same time. Contact us for complimentary design services. No ask too big, or small.