Presentation and thrifting go a long way toward making a graduation party on a budget that still fits your expectations.
Even before the party begins, you can start saving money. A Facebook event or evite cuts out invitation costs, and is easier to keep track of who has responded. Facebook can also provide an alternative to a professional photographer by having everyone who attends upload their photos online.
Most decorations can be recycled from other events or found at the dollar store. Balloons and streamers are versatile and can be bought in bulk. Strands of lights can also be repurposed and hung around the space. A black sheet can double as a DIY backdrop, with balloons and paper cutouts for props. Stringing together photos of the graduate will look nice and will entertain friends and family.
You can cut down costs exponentially through the guest list, either by cohosting with a friend or by making the celebration solely for family. If you prefer inviting a larger crowd, you can schedule it between meal times and frame it as a drop-in event so guests won’t be expecting a full meal.
You can also have the party in your house or backyard, and prepare the food yourself. Heavier meals like spaghetti or grilling out will cover more people. Dessert can be homemade cookies or cupcakes, or a sheet cake from the grocery store. Decorative trays and bowls for can dress up the meal and be bought cheaply from the dollar store.
For entertainment, plug in your own playlist instead of hiring a DJ. A cheap guestbook and makeshift photo backdrop will get everyone involved. You can allow for toasts and speeches, or set up a memory board where guests can write funny or memorable stories, either to read aloud or to save for later.
After the party, you can opt for sincere, handwritten thank you notes instead of party favors.