Whether you have a high school or college graduate, now is the time to start planning that well-deserved party. If you’re freaking out about making the day extra special, just breathe! All you really need to pull off a memorable graduation party is some good food, fun outdoor games and family and friends to celebrate with.

When people ask me how to throw a graduation party, my best advice is to keep it simple and personalized, maintaining all the focus on your graduate.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Food: What’s your grad’s favorite food? When I had a graduation party years back, my husband Greg ordered buffalo wings straight from Buffalo, NY as a big surprise for my party. He knew how much I loved buffalo wings, so it made for a real personal touch. I was SO excited, and it made the day memorable for me and all our guests.

Think about what your grad loves most and build a food table based around his or her favorites. And don’t forget the cake! Search Pinterest for some amazing graduation cake ideas.

Fun: Outdoor games can be a fantastic way to keep all your guests happy throughout the day and night. My kids and I played Bottle Bash in Florida a few weeks ago, and people of all ages joined in and played with us. It was hours of fun! There’s also backyard Twister, which never goes out of style. Click here for a quick tutorial on how to turn your backyard into Twister central.

Family: Good friends and family are all you really need to create a party vibe. Make sure you capture the good times by taking lots of pics. An outdoor photo booth with props will keep your memories alive for decades.

Favors: You don’t need to go all out, but a few little extras can elevate the event. Cap the night off with some fun sparklers and a festive favor to commemorate the big day. Simple indulgences like candy and cookies go a long way!

For more guidance on how to throw a graduation party, check out and follow my favorite ideas and inspirations on my Graduation Pinterest board.