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Planning the Ultimate Graduation Party
This year was huge for us, as our first baby, Jessica, graduated from high school in May. It is so bittersweet. There are only boys left in the house now, so I am WAY outnumbered. Anyway, the one thing Jes specifically asked for was a graduation party. So, I’m sharing my budget-friendly tips and ideas for planning an affordable graduation party that will be an amazing celebration!
Best Places to Buy Affordable Party Supplies and Decor:
First things First
This graduation party was for my girl, Jessica, and one of her best friends. We decided to have the party at our house, instead of renting a venue, so that saved a good chunk of change. I needed to get my entire house clean anyway so it forced me to get busy and start planning. Before you buy anything for your party, it’s a good idea to take stock of usable items that you already have on-hand (platters and trays, utensils, buckets, pitchers, plates, cake stands, tablecloths, serving utensils, etc.). Additionally, you should check-out Pinterest for free, printable party signs, food signs, menus, water bottle labels, cupcake toppers, etc.
Invitations and Decorations
Instead of printed invitations, Jessica sent text invites to friends. If you do plan to send out invitations, they should be sent about a month in advance. For traditional, printed invitations, I like to use Minted and Swoozie’s. Next was purchasing the decorations — I bought a lot of them from Party City, Target, World Market, and Pier 1 Imports. The theme was bright and tropical, so I used my outdoor summer throw pillows for easy decor, inexpensive leis for everyone to wear, lots of colorful hanging paper lanterns, and plastic tablecloths and paper goods for easy clean-up.
Incorporating Your Home Decor
I incorporated my own home decor by adding lemons to bowls, shells on the tables, etc. Also, I borrowed a bunch of galvanized tubs from a friend and I filled them with ice and small water bottles and placed them all around the pool and patio. That way if the kids are thirsty, there is water nearby. Additionally, I filled-up my glass drink dispenser/infuser with water and lemons and oranges. Again, its cheap and everyone can always drink more water, especially on a hot, sunny day! : )
Outdoor Party Activities
For outdoor activities, we had the swimming pool and hot tub, and we rented a “ninja warrior” type blow-up obstacle course. We also had water guns, floats, and pool toys that were a huge hit with the big kids. Likewise, we had a fun, graduation-themed backdrop with props for taking pics and selfies. During the celebration there was beachy, Caribbean music playing from the outdoor speakers.
Food and Fun
No party would be complete without food! You know how much kids love to eat! : ) We decided on BBQ as the main dish, and we had all the sides to go with it — buns for sandwiches, chips, potato salad, dips with tortilla chips, baked beans, a vegetable and fruit tray, banana pudding, cookies, and of course, a candy table. If you are having any meals outdoors, these Outdoor Mesh Food Covers are the best at keeping flies and bugs off of your food.
Graduation Party Success
All-in-all it was a phenomenal graduation party! Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves and the weather cooperated. For your graduation party success and to reign-in expenses, try to involve several adults/hosts in the planning process, keep a detailed checklist handy and plan early, designate specific jobs/responsibilities to each host, make a budget and stick to it, and loosen up and have fun! The kids are going to have a great time no matter what happens.
One down, two more to go — though it will be a long time before I have to throw graduation parties for my boys. What about you? Are you planning a party any time soon?
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