If you’re anything like us, you have a handful of graduation announcements and open house invitations posted all over the refrigerator door. Maybe you have a high school graduate this year yourself! If you’re in need of graduation party ideas, no need to search high and low for the best tips to keep costs down. Give your grad a memorable send-off while keeping the budget in line with these tips:
Pool Your Resources
One of the easiest ways to cut costs is to have a combined graduation party. A duo or trio of grads can join forces to split the party budget—and make it more convenient for party-hopping guests. It’s win-win, and this strategy will give party planners leeway to splurge on some items while still staying within the budget.
Timing is Everything
Food is likely to be the single biggest expense when it comes to throwing a graduation party. Save money without looking like a cheapskate by scheduling your party outside of regular meal times. Instead of dinner, treat guests to trays of cookies or even better, a sundae bar where they can customize to their heart’s content with sprinkles, hot fudge or candy crumbles.
Location, Location, Location
Warm weather makes it easy to host a graduation bash right in your own yard. But if you don’t have the space, consider other budget-friendly options. Local parks, community centers and churches often have facilities available to rent for a reasonable fee. And a park location will often have built-in entertainment for younger guests, like playgrounds.
Staying on budget doesn’t have to mean boring decorations. Chances are one of the best decorating options is right at your fingertips: photos. Celebrate your grad’s achievement with plenty of pictures. Photos provide a focal point, and they encourage conversation among guests. Use framed prints as table decorations. Tie it all together with dollar store frames painted in school colors. Don’t forget to scour Pinterest for more great photo display ideas!
Save on Snacks
Instead of catering, feed the masses with homemade fare. Stretch meats like pulled pork by serving with slider buns. Fill crockpots with bite-size snacks like cocktail franks and meatballs. Fill up guests’ tummies with chips and dips. Rather than a buying a decorated cake, make cake pops or cupcakes iced in school colors. Provide guests with dessert-sized plates—they’ll look full with less.
Some of our favorite graduation party recipes: