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Graduation Parties on a Budget

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Lucy Riles: You can still throw a great party even when the economy is in a rut ... it just takes a little creativity.

After all the hard work and studying is done, it's time to let loose and celebrate. Remember, graduations should be ALL about the graduate. So before you start planning the party, sit down with the grad and see what kind of party they want. Here's how:

Teens in a party

Diploma-Style Invites: Nowadays you can do just about anything on the computer, including invitations. Upload a photo of the recent graduate (their graduation photo or maybe their senior picture) and design the invite based on their interests. For example, "From Cross-Country to Crossing the Finish Line ... Christina is Graduating!" or "Junior High was a Slam Dunk! Michael is Graduating." If the grad is old enough, let them create the invitation. When the invites are ready to go out, roll up each invitation (like a diploma), tie it with a ribbon (in the school colors), and have the graduate hand-deliver the invitations (better for the environment).

Graduate Décor: Add a personal touch instead of the typical graduation hat and tassel decorations. Take old school photos of the grad through the years -- class, sports, drama, clubs, band ... whatever they might be. Frame each picture and display the photos as table centerpieces. Using the school colors, decorate the party with ribbons, balloons, and flower arrangements found at your local farmers market.

Set the Mood: Let the graduate pick out the music and create a playlist for the party. Even if you and your child have different tastes in music, embrace their individuality and really make the day about the graduate ... they certainly deserve it!

Favorite Treats:
The menu should reflect the grad's favorite foods, drinks, and desserts. If the Shirley Temple drink is a favorite, serve it as a signature drink. If chicken fingers are a favorite, serve them as an appetizer ... whatever the graduate wants, the graduate gets!

Turn Up the Fun Factor:
Just because you are on a budget doesn't mean you can't have fun! Set up a homemade photo booth by hanging a sheet up as the backdrop, and bring out fun props found in the home like hats, scarves, glasses, crazy ties and coats ... the crazier the better! If it's an old sheet, decorate it with markers and paint (another chance to use school colors), saying something like "High School or Bust, Brandon," "Way To Go Mario," "See Ya Senior Year," etc. Assign someone to be the photographer, and ask everyone to sign a photo book for the graduate. This way the graduate has a photo album to remember their special day!

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5 comments so far | Post a comment now
Geri May 27, 2009, 2:37 PM

What great ideas! I was at a wedding with a photo booth and what a fun time everyone had from the oldest to the youngest. I will give it a try.

Kathryn May 27, 2009, 2:37 PM

Lots of great ideas, especially the photo booth! Thanks!

Kristin May 27, 2009, 3:23 PM

These are all really great ideas! I love the creativity from the diploma style invitations to the photo booth. I have to say that if I had that booth at my grad party, it would have been an album of all my goofy friends and family that I would cherish forever!

barbara Cronin May 27, 2009, 9:47 PM

Lucy your ideas are so creative! Love the photo booth!

Anne Bansley May 28, 2009, 9:11 PM

The invitations what a great idea. The photo booth how cool. The kids will be all over that.

Loved the mothers day party ideas. Forwarded them onto my kids and I had my kind of mothers day.

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