Pomp and circumstance is in the air, and the caps and gowns will soon be flying. If you are hosting a special graduation party, there are lots of ways to celebrate in style, without damaging your wallet.
This is a great option for cutting down on cost and convenience. Teaming up with one or two families can end up saving you considerably, particularly if you plan on investing in any party rentals. Having the party at your home, or a friend or neighbor's, will also allow you to forgo the venue costs.
Have guests bring an appetizer, main dish, or dessert. You can also simplify by choosing one instead of all three – a graduation dessert party, for example.
If you'd rather leave all of the food planning to someone else, consider eliminating main dishes in favor of smaller bites, particularly those that can be frozen or stored for later use. Chances are, you will have leftovers, and you don't want to waste them!
Go paperless. Digital invites are more common and are perfectly acceptable. Paperless Post and Evite offer easy to design, free invites that will allow you to track your guests and send out reminders or updates.
With so many graduation festivities out there, there's likely a large collection of streamers and banners floating around your neighborhood. Check your Buy Nothing groups to see if anyone has decorations to share. Another fun idea is to use books as your centerpieces. Wrap them in brown paper bags, tie with a bow, and you've got a great looking, whimsical table setting. Leave the brown paper blank, or write congratulatory messages, or glue photos.
HAVE YOUR PARTY OFF-SEASON
If you are planning on hiring a catering company or investing in party rentals, the price tag for a June party will inevitably be higher. By having your party in May, you can save with off-season pricing.
GATHER AT A LOCAL PARK
Weather permitting, a local park makes the perfect, picturesque venue. Add in the free and spacious factors, and this is a great option. A park is also a built in activity planner – frisbee, volleyball, kickball, swinging on the swings...there's something for everyone, and requires very little effort.
Since everyone will likely be taking pictures anyway, why not make that the theme of your party favors with a photo booth? Gather up some fun accessories from around the house and have fun with dressing up. Use a Polaroid, and then everyone can take home their photos.
DRESS UP YOUR DRINKS & TREATS
An easy way to elevate the look of your party is to add a little flair to your drinks or treats. Make your own punch, and add in some cute cap and gown drink toppers (Michael's or Party City are go-tos for these kind of supplies at great deals). For treats, make your own diploma cookies, which is even easier than it sounds. Swiss rolls or pirouette cookies are already the right shape. Tie some whimsical bows around each, and label “Diploma Cookies,” and you're set.
Have a safe, happy and savings friendly graduation season!