Graduation party planning doesn’t have to be difficult and time consuming. With a few tips from our experts your party can go off without a hitch!


There are so many choices for graduation parties, so first think about the type of event. Will your party be more informal or formal? Are you having an open-house style party, where your food will have to last for a longer period of time?

It’s also important to think about the time and the budget you want to spend. If you’d rather spend more time than money you may prefer a more “do-it-yourself” style rather than spending the money for a catered meal. A great way to save time and budget is to outsource a few items that normally take quite a bit of time like ordering a cake or desserts from a great local bakery or purchasing a pre-made veggie tray from your local grocery store.


4 Great Buffet Ideas for Graduation Parties



  • Taco – Fajita Bar

This buffet is always a hit at parties because it allows your guest to really customize their meal. Not only is this bar delicious but the ingredients are relatively inexpensive and the food is easy to maintain for those open house style parties.

What you’ll need:

  • Warm Tortillas or Taco Shells.
  • Tortilla Chips.
  • Seasoned ground beef.
  • Chicken Fajita Style.
  • Refried Beans baked in the oven with melted cheese.
  • Topping Bar: Lettuce, black olives, jalapenos, salsa, sour cream, hot sauce.


  • Pizza Party

While it’s not your typical graduation fare, pizza is one of the most popular foods. Whether you decide to outsource to a great local pizza parlor or create your own it is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

What you’ll need:

  • Pizza, a variety of vegetarian and meat-loving combinations including the Grad’s favorite!
  • Large fresh green salad – embellishing it cheese, pepperoncinis, black olives and purple onions will make it a home-run. Offer a variety of dressings and croutons on the side – 2 or 3 should be plenty.
  • Bread Sticks with warm sauces like nacho cheese and marinara. These can easily be held at temperature in crock-pots or chafing dishes.


  • Hot Sub Sandwich Buffet

The key to making this buffet is making sure you have quality bread. This is a great opportunity to use that fantastic local bakery or put your bread making skills to the test. What ever you decide, just make sure you slice the bread in smaller portions so that your guests can try multiple varieties.

What you’ll need:

  • Sub Buns.
  • Marinara meatballs.
  • Italian beef.
  • Pulled pork.
  • Chips & Dip.
  • Veggie trays.


  • Waffle Bar

Who doesn’t love breakfast? This unique idea is sure to impress your guests and fill them up! This option is great for a late morning/early afternoon party but still works for later in the day. Rent or borrow a few waffle irons and provide small portion cups full of waffle batter to keep the line moving. Also, don’t be afraid to get creative with your topping choices. To personalize, add a few “recipes” that show the grads favorite toppings or a few themed waffles that represent the school or occupation of your grad.

What you’ll need:

  • Self-serve Waffles
  • Toppings
  • Sausage or Bacon
  • Coffee and juice


Additional Tips

  • One of the secrets to a great graduation spread is simple foods fantastically prepared and presented. Keep your menu to 5-7 features with a variety of toppings that make the food adaptable to personal tastes.
  • Graduation parties are usually open-house style without RSVPs, but typically for planning purposes you can assume that 60-70% of those invited will attend. General rules of planning allow for 6 ounces of protein; 8 ounces total of side dishes and 1 dessert per person.