In 2020, graduation ceremonies changed in ways we never could have imagined due to COVID-19. Your child probably saw close friends having unconventional graduation ceremonies, like online commencements and caravan celebrations in order to maintain safe social distance. And some of these celebration ideas – like virtual graduation parties – weren’t quite the same as in-person, but people found fun ways to create memories and make the best of it.
So here we are in 2021 and we’re still dealing with a global pandemic and academic disruptions. But that doesn’t mean the class of 2021 won’t get to celebrate graduating with their friends and family. Here are some creative virtual graduation party ideas to honor your senior while practicing social distancing.
Textured Year by Ally Madison
By now you’ve probably attended or even hosted at least one virtual party (whether it was an engagement party, baby shower, or birthday party). The technical steps to hosting have become pretty simple and quick to set up, so don’t fret if you think you may not have the technical know-how to coordinate and run a virtual party for your graduate. We’ve compiled some fun and unique virtual graduation party ideas to make your celebration extra special.
Grad party virtual background designed by Beutel
Make the event official with an invitation. Paper invites received in the mail set a certain expectation that your party is going to be an event you do not want to miss. Minted has a wide selection of graduation party invitations that are completely customizable for virtual graduation events and that come with free recipient addressing. Or, you can send a free online invitation to your event. As one of our invites states: “Cap. Gown. It’s Going Down.” In your invite, include a link to your scheduled virtual call as well as a password to log in.
It is important to make this event special for your graduate. You may have to move the soiree to an online event, but that doesn’t mean you have to show up in your sweatpants. Asking guests to dress to impress will really make the virtual party feel more formal. You could even have the honoree wear their cap and gown.
Virtual Polaroid by Robert and Stella
Consider adding a virtual background to your virtual party. When are you going to have a chance to create such a visually stunning space for you and the family at home without lifting barely a finger? You can even download backgrounds created by Minted’s family of independent artists. Our virtual backgrounds are free and easily downloadable for you and all of your guests. Coordinate so everyone has a background that matches a set party theme and watch the graduate’s face light up when logging in.
We’re not talking about a celebrity surprise, although by all means, if you know a celeb you should invite them! Perhaps there is a special person in the community or a friend-of-a-friend who you can invite to join and say a few words of inspiration about ending this chapter and starting a new one. Think of it as a special commencement speech just for your grad!
Grad party virtual background by Jackie Crawford
One of the great things about throwing a virtual grad party is you can coordinate special content for everyone to view together on the call. Contact family, friends, teachers, and coaches asking them to film a 30-second video on their phone talking about what they admire most about the graduate. It could be a favorite story, message of encouragement, or embarrassing moment. Have these loved ones send you their videos and compile these into one surprise video that can be shown during the party. Virtual graduation party ideas like this will surprise and delight the graduate and create a really memorable moment. Have the box of tissues close by during the airing!
You might be surprised to see this one on the list but stay with us for a minute. Your local restaurants are probably still struggling to stay afloat and your ideas for virtual graduation party celebrations won’t feel as festive without food and drinks. You could plan to send a meal or just a dessert from a local restaurant to every attendee to add a festive vibe! When your guests open their front door to a delivery, it will add an experiential element to the party and will allow all guests to dig into the same dessert or treat virtually. Not to mention, you’ll be supporting local businesses during a challenging time.
Quite a few companies have come online to serve the needs of groups looking to have fun during virtual parties. Their services include professional, facilitated virtual game hosting for parties in all sorts of genres. Explore tons of options online and choose something that aligns with the interests of your grad, from themed Pictionary to customized Bingo or personalized games through The Go Game, fun and interactive activities are a great way to get some laughs and smiles at your online celebration.
If your graduate is a high school senior and has decided on their college of choice, consider exploring the campus together via a virtual tour. This simple activity will get them excited for the next adventure and remind them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If your student is graduating from college, ask them to create a little tour of their campus themselves, taking video on their phone of their favorite places on campus, their housing, and friends. Have them share an edited version of what life was like as a college senior in 2021 during their virtual graduation.
At the end of a traditional graduation ceremony, graduates throw their caps in the air and often pop confetti and streamers. In this interactive virtual graduation party idea, you can replicate this climactic experience in every attendee’s household. Have a countdown at the end of the call when everyone launches a popper/streamer at the same time. Take a screenshot of this exact moment when everyone’s confetti bursts in your virtual hangout!
Mention on your invitation that a special photo presentation will be shared chronicling the 2020-2021 school year. Because your grad probably hasn’t been as socially engaged this year, they will have lots of stories and events they will be excited to share with all the guests. Let them show off their business presentation skills they have developed and have them create an engaging presentation chronicling their academic, social, and family life over the last year. This is one computer project/assignment they won’t roll their eyes at!
If sending food from a local restaurant to every attendee seems like a tall task (with dietary restrictions and logistics), you could opt for a simpler way to thank guests for coming. How about a party box sent out before the event? You can get really creative here and include items that will help with all of the ideas we’ve already mentioned. Instead of a meal, send them sealed snacks and drinks to enjoy. Planning on playing a game? Send out instructions to all your guests beforehand. You can also add silly props to be used at the party. Don’t forget to include a commemorative announcement with a picture of the graduate.
Ask attendees to bring an inspiring quote to the party. During the event, go “around the room” and have everyone share a quote from an author, celebrity, athlete, or inspirational figure. Elaborate on why it is meaningful to them and even why it might be meaningful to someone who’s graduating. You could even make it a game and have people try to guess who originally said the quote.
If you’ve read all of our tips and are still thinking that a virtual graduation party is not what you want, there are some other ways to celebrate your graduate. Some parents might want to just plan a party for a later date. This option gives you even more time to plan. You can still celebrate your child’s accomplishments and make memories now without a virtual party.
There really is no substitute for time spent around the dinner table as a family. Enjoying each other’s company and having a special meal together might be even more important during these uncertain times. To adhere to best social distancing practices, you can take a COVID-19 spin on things and set up a few tables in social clusters so you can celebrate with close friends and family. Make it special for your child by cooking their favorite food or ordering in from their favorite restaurant. This private party can be really focused on your senior by serving a buffet of all their favorite foods from kindergarten and up. You can even design a beautiful menu to commemorate the occasion. If you want to feature some graduation-themed treats on the menu or include a post-dinner game, we encourage you to read through our post on graduation party ideas.
Gathering in large groups is out, drive-through celebrations are in! Contact close friends and family members to participate in honoring the graduate by driving by your house on a certain day and time to honk their car horn in celebration. Encourage participants to create fun paper signage as well. The graduate could sit on the front porch, in the open garage, or on the front lawn to welcome and wave at parade attendees as they drive by (wearing their cap and gown, of course). For an added twist, you could keep the graduation car parade a secret. Have your kids think they are just participating in a family picnic on the front lawn when all of a sudden familiar cars and faces start passing by. It will be a welcome surprise for the homebound honoree! Have their cap and gown nearby for them to don for the special occasion.
Encourage friends, neighbors, and family members to draw pictures or words of encouragement on the graduate’s driveway in sidewalk chalk. Send out an email, shoot texts, or call these loved ones to let them know what day this is happening. Leave out chalk of all colors and post a sign detailing how it works. When the artwork is done, make an excuse for the graduate to come outside and surprise them with this personalized work of art! It will touch them and be the perfect photo opportunity. You could even take some graduation photos of the grad in front of the artwork.
The graduating class of 2021 is persevering during a historical year and if your grad has interest in philanthropic work, it’s a great time to flex that muscle. Perhaps they would like to mark the end of their school year by volunteering during a time of need. There are local organizations in every city that may need help caring for the less fortunate. Look for non-profits that deliver meals to the needy as a way for you and your family to give back as your grad moves forward. If you’re not comfortable going out in person, consider setting up a graduation fundraiser to share with family and friends.
Ask friends and family members to create DIY signs for the grad that can be stuck into your front yard. Start the sign collection by printing a class photo from every school year. Other signs can range from photo collages to inspirational quotes or drawings. Your graduate will enjoy seeing signs start to accumulate on the front lawn. Mylar balloons are also welcome.
Let’s say you’ve decided to skip the grad party altogether but still have the funds set aside for a blow-out bash. Whether your child is graduating from high school or college, a little money goes a long way in a young
adult’s life. Perhaps you can gift the money to your graduate to use for whatever they like, in lieu of a party. Your teen can purchase that really great laptop for college classes. Or, your undergrad might just like to
have some extra cash while they move into the workforce. Either way, it’s a great gift to start a new chapter with.
For parents and students alike, graduation is a momentous occasion and a great accomplishment. This moment was years in the making. There is no need to miss celebrating it even if it’s a bit different than anyone imagined in their head. Here at Minted, we want to congratulate you and the entire graduating class of 2021 for persevering. Congratulations, graduates!
By now you’ve probably attended or even hosted a virtual party (so many exciting events can happen in a year, from baby showers to engagements and birthday parties!). The technical steps to hosting are quick to set up, so you can start planning your own pomp and circumstance through a virtual party for your graduate. We’ve compiled some fun and unique virtual graduation party ideas to make the celebration special.