Your favorite graduate is getting ready to go to college or enter the real world, and of course, all of his or her hard work deserves recognition. But graduation parties can really add up – food, location, and entertainment all have their own attached costs. Here are a few tips to keep the costs low and the fun high.
- Share the party with another graduate. A joint party is an excellent way to cut costs in half, while ensuring that there are plenty of guests to mingle. Your graduates may also be grateful to share the day with a dear friend. If there isn’t enough space at home, consider a picnic pavilion at a local park.
- Reuse decorations. What’s the point of buying graduation signs and banners when you can only use them once? Find other friends and family who might be hosting graduation parties, and split the costs of decorations. This way, you’ll all have great decorations for a fraction of the price.
- Stick to a color theme. Graduation-themed plates and napkins can cost significantly more than plain versions, and no one really cares if the paper goods say “graduation!” on them. Buy plates and napkins in single hues (school colors, for example) to keep the theme going without the added cost.
- Free invitations. Don’t bother spending money on invitations when so many websites (Evite, Anyvite, just to name a couple) offer free online invitations. You can customize and include photos of the graduates. If you have guests who are not technologically savvy or able to use email, you can send them handwritten notes.
- Think outside the box with food. Keeping the food simple will keep costs low, as well as stress levels. Have a barbecue with really simple meats – grilled chicken, pork, etc. and grilled vegetables and salads. Burgers and hot dogs are always an economical choice, and you can get creative with toppings. You could make the party a potluck, and ask guests to provide sides and appetizers. Or, if opting for a party platter, make your own — the pre-made ones at the grocery store are significantly more expensive than the sum of their parts. Get a few pounds of sliced meats and cheeses from the deli, get your own loaves of bread, and cut your own vegetables.
- DJ (Your Name Here). Music is key for a big party. But don’t spend money on iTunes making a playlist – use Spotify or Pandora to keep costs low. Guests won’t mind the occasional commercial break, as most of them will be congregating and talking anyway.
Do you have any other ideas for keeping costs low? We’d love to hear them! Let us know in the comments.