7 Backyard Graduation Party Essentials

Got a graduate? Congratulations and celebrations are in order. Graduating high school, college or grad school is no small feat. To send your graduate into life’s next phase with style, throw a party to celebrate the occasion. For an easy and intimate graduation gathering, you don’t need a fancy venue or expensive trip — your backyard is the perfect destination. With a bit of planning, your lawn and your patio can become the stage for the summer’s best grad party. In this guide, our event experts here at Extreme Canopy cover 7 essentials you’ll need to make your backyard graduation party one that your graduate and your guests will remember for years to come.


Invitations, Signs, and Banners

teardrop and feather flag

A good graduation party is one that’s well-advertised. In the pre-party phase, advertising alerts everyone to the big day and gives them the necessary information they need to save the date. On the big day itself, quality advertising outside of your house will make sure that drivers won’t miss your party. In the backyard, festive advertising can help make your child’s monumental achievement feel truly celebrated. Even with these reasons in mind, you may be thinking: “Why would I have to advertise for a backyard party?” If this your first thought, slow down — we’re not suggesting you take out an ad in the paper or put up fliers around town (unless you want to). The kind of advertising we’re talking about is much more targeted. It starts with invitations.

Invitations are crucial for ensuring that everyone who needs to know about your child’s big celebration is notified well in advance of the party date. We recommend investing in quality stationery with all of the necessary information — including date, time, and location — elegantly displayed. (Also elegantly displayed should be a photo of your child. Relatives and other parents love that.) Official-looking invitations will leave a bigger impression on those who open them, which will likely lead to more people saving the date. Wondering where you can design elegant and official-looking invitations? Start by contacting your child’s high school. Most schools will put you in contact with one or two companies they’re partnered with for this express purpose. You can also browse online or visit local printing shops in your area.

Once you have your invitations created and sent out, it’s time to invest in advertising for the big day. Starting outside of your backyard, it’s a good idea to set up a few signs in your front yard, side yard, driveway and on the corners of your block to alert drivers to your party’s exact location and make sure they don’t accidentally miss it. Freestanding, weather-resistant signs like feather flags and teardrop flags are excellent for this purpose. Feather flags feature a feather-like shape engineered to billow in the wind and catch eyes. Tear drop flags have a distinct tear drop shape that can’t be missed by any passerby. Other good freestanding sign choices include pod pop bannersoval pop banners, and shuttle pop banners. In the backyard, we recommend hanging at least one sign from poles or on the side of your house to commemorate the event. For this purpose, we recommend custom vinyl banners. Weatherproof, eye-catching, and available in a myriad of sizes and styles, fully-customizable flags and banners are must-have additions to any graduation celebration.



custom print pavillion after

Most graduation parties take place in either May or June, around the time of the graduation itself. While this time of year is ideal for outdoor parties, it can still have inclement weather. Sometimes, April showers bring May — showers. Even in June, the true start of summer, excessive sunshine (and sometimes summer rain) can make being outside for extended periods of time a bit of a chore. To ensure that your graduation party guests stay comfortable in your backyard without having to retreat inside your home, consider investing in a temporary outdoor shelter. Some of the most affordable, portable, and easy-to-set-up options include instant canopies and inflatable tents. Also known as pop-up tents, instant canopies feature four-legged, expandable frames with fabric roofs (optional sides) that can be set up in seconds. They’re a great choice for fast and easy shelter in backyards large and small. Like instant canopies, inflatable tents also feature fast setup times, except they require virtually no labor. Simply turn on the electric pump and stand back. Since inflatable tents don’t have rigid frames, they’re also available in a myriad of unique shapes and sizes — great for making a statement at any grad party.

Need something a bit larger for your backyard celebration? We recommend larger event tents such as star tentspavilion tentspinnacle marquees, and crest tents. These tents feature sizeable square footage and larger ceilings to create ambiance and accommodate crowds, equipment, and decorations. They’re excellent choices for the biggest graduation celebrations and backyard blowouts.

No matter which type of tent you choose for your graduation party, we recommend ordering from a retailer or manufacturer that offers custom options. That way, you can create your tent exactly to specifications. Pick the right size, choose the right color, and add other custom visuals like text, logos, and even photos to make your tent truly one-of-a-kind and add to the overall ambiance of your graduation party.



Custom Printed Director's Chair

Once you have signs and shelter squared away, it’s time to secure seating for your graduation celebration. Whether you are expecting 9 guests or 90, you’ll need places for them to sit. Some homeowners have extra chairs lying around, but often they are indoor pieces of furniture that are not fit for the great outdoors. If you are in need of some extra outdoor seating for your graduation get-together, we recommend renting lightweight-yet-sturdy foldable chairs. Typically available in metal options, these cost-effective chairs are easy to move and set up outside. They’re also space-efficient and easy to arrange around tables — which brings us to the next item on our list…


Food and Drinks

No graduation celebration is complete without food and drinks. With an achievement this big, graduate and guests alike should be treated with a feast fit for a king (or at least a college-bound senior). When planning food and drinks for your graduation celebration, you have a choice to make: to cater or not to cater. While catering can save you time and effort (and ensure that the food is delicious) it can also cost a pretty penny. For a more affordable option, consider home cooking or utilizing your guest list and throwing a potluck. No matter how you choose to serve your food, make sure you have a steady supply of drinks at an easily-accessible drink station to help everyone stay hydrated in the summer heat.



Decorations are an excellent way to make any graduation party feel like a true celebration. In the sections above, we’ve covered backyard essentials like banners and custom tents, both of which can do double-duty as party decorations. But the list doesn’t stop there. Other good decoration ideas include balloons and flowers for daytime celebrations, as well as creative outdoor lighting (such as paper lanterns or fairy lights) for evening parties. Make your party themed to add extra decorations. Fun graduation party themes include Hawaiian-style luaus, sports-themed parties, carnival parties with games and entertainment, and even costume parties.


Photo Opps, Gift Drop-Offs, and Other Ends and Odds

With most of the essentials covered, there are only a few grad party must-haves left to cover. At the top of this leftover list is a place for photos. If you want to go the extra mile, we suggest investing in a rental photobooth for hours of fun and professional-level documentation. If you want to keep things simple, set up a spot designated for photos. Choose a backdrop like your banner, your home, or a particularly eye-catching part of your backyard to ensure that your photos look great.

Other backyard essentials include a spot for grad gifts, a few receptacles for trash, and a place for people to set down their belongings. A table or two will work well for grad gifts and personal belongings. Trash cans be rented or purchased from most hardware stores. They’ll help a lot with cleanup, which we’ll touch on below.


Cleanup Supplies

More often than not, big parties make big messes. After your graduation celebration is over, it’s important to take care of any mess as quickly as possible to prevent damage to your yard. As we mentioned above, investing in a few trash cans to set up at the party is a great way to minimize mess. For cleanup after the guests are gone, you’ll need a few extra trash bags, a good soap or spray cleaner for tabletops and other surfaces, a broom, and some cleaning gloves for sanitation. With any luck, you won’t have a big mess to address, but if you do, you’ll be prepared to clean it up quickly with these supplies.


Get More Information and Make Your Graduation Party Unforgettable With Extreme Canopy

Planning a backyard graduation celebration? With a little preparation, you can make it the summer’s hottest event. Get started with the tips above, and reach out to our event experts here at Extreme Canopy for additional event-planning advice. Contact us to speak with a member of our team and have your questions answered. In the market for high-quality flagsbanners, or an event tent for your graduation party? You’re in the right place. Click the links above to shop industry-leading products directly from our world-renowned manufacturers, and explore our website to learn more about the many event solutions we offer. Find the perfect custom fit for your grad party, and order online from us today!