Graduations are such a rite of passage. I remember teaching 8th grade and we would have these amazing graduations for them with our own orchestra playing an arrangement and everyone dressed to the nines.
It makes me so sad to think of the graduating classes of 2020 missing out on that.
So, in honor of all of our hard-working graduates – at any grade level and for any type of graduation – I thought I would put together a little virtual graduation party plan that you could use to celebrate your graduates achievement with a little pomp & circumstance.
I just want to note that while some of these ideas do link to items for purchase, I don’t mean to be insensitive to so many who are struggling. These ideas might even inspire you to create these things at home using supplies you already have. Make it work for you; it’ll be special because you did it together, not because of how much money you did or didn’t spend.
1. Prep Your Stage:
The most exciting part of the graduation ceremony is standing there in line, waiting for your turn to grace the stage.
Try to replicate the stage at home. Find an area in your home or outside (outside if you have local guests who can drive over to watch) – such as the walkway up to your door or down the driveway to the garage.
Create a fun walkway for them to strut in all their graduate glory! You could even get a red carpet:
And here are some really festive graduate streamers and other decor you can order on Amazon (affiliate links):
2. Send Out Evites:
Get that guest list ready! Choose a day or time that you want to have your virtual celebration and send out a fancy graduation Evite or other e-invitation that clearly states the date, time and the link to the platform you will be using.
Here are a few super cute ones:
You can even use the free virtual chat option through Evite 0r another accessible chat software, such as Zoom.
Things to consider adding to your Evite:
- Suggest ways they can participate, such as having toasting flutes on standby to do a cheers, preparing a short speech to give, having a sign to share that they might hold up at a graduation ceremony.
For guests who are driving distance, invite them to drive over and stay in their cars in viewing distance of the stage area! They can bring signs and cheer while maintaining a safe distance!
And, if you are close to your graduate’s friends and families, reach out to them and consider planning a Google calendar where you can spread out all of the graduates celebrations. This way, they can virtually attend each other’s celebrations, too!
3. Get That Cap and Gown:
Check with the school, but if they aren’t providing them – order your own cap and gown! They should move that tassel and throw that hat, even if they aren’t on the official stage.
Here are some links to cap and gowns for 2020 that you can find easily online. They are available in quite a few colors:
4. Make it Special:
Find ways to include everyone and make it special. Something I would do is send each person, either through email or in the mail, a card that they can fill out with their advice for the graduate.
Then, having them mail them back, print them out and put them in a special memory book.
Bonus points for any guest who sends a fun picture of them with the graduate that can be displayed in the book with the card!
Here’s another one with specific questions to answer:
5. Prepare the Music:
Make sure to have some music prepared. I would use a separate music device to play music, other than the laptop or phone being used for the virtual graduation – otherwise, the music will drown out everything else that people are saying or what they want to hear.
We like to use this small bluetooth speaker:
Or, we use these fancier speakers sometimes. They are actually waterproof, so they go in the suitcase when we travel to the beach, Tahoe, Hawaii, etc. They would be a great grad gift idea, actually, too!
6. Do a Run Through:
Make sure to have a phone or computer with the video conferencing software set up while the graduate walks their “stage” so everyone in attendance can see it.
You may want to do a practice run through to make sure everything works. You can even ask one relative to call in to give tips on how the viewing experience could be better.
After all, we do run-throughs for in-person graduations – so this is all part of the experience!
7. Elect a Photographer:
Just because it’s virtual – that doesn’t mean you won’t want PICTURES!
Pick someone at home to man the camera and take lots of pics, making sure to get pictures of the grad with the computer screen full of virtual guests and all the classic cap and gown photos, too.
8. Toast & Cake:
Get some toasting flutes and Martinelli’s and plan to do a toast with all of the guests on screen.
Order a cake from a bakery willing to do door pick-up or drop-off at the door and plan to do a cake cutting for everyone to see. Cake is such a fun part of every celebration and there is no reason you shouldn’t do it just because guests can’t share (although you could deliver to the cars while wearing face masks).
Ask guests to prepare a few words and everyone who would like to speak can take a turn sharing sweet messages to encourage the graduate on their next adventures.
This is also a great time for guests to read their advice cards that they prepared in advance!
9. Open Gifts:
If gifts have been sent ahead of the party, leave a few moments for the graduate to open a few gifts on screen for everyone to enjoy.
10. Let the Graduate Speak:
Prepare the graduate to say a few words to all of their guests before you say goodbye. This could be a short thank you for all of their time and love, or even a more developed speech on their plans and goals.
If your graduate was on track to be the salutatorian or valedictorian, it would be completely appropriate to have them give their speech for all of their guests – but I would move their speech up earlier in the festivities, such as before everyone else gives their toasts.
There are probably so many more ways to have a virtual graduation party! If you have ideas you’d like to add, please leave them in the comments below!
Have a fabulous day,