How to Rock a DIY Grad Party

May 24, 2017

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Today I wanted to share my tips for an awesome grad party that won't break the bank.

I graduated high school last June and like most, we threw a graduation party. We didn't want to spend a ton of money on it, but we also knew we couldn't have it at our house. My family alone wouldn't even fit in our back yard. We knew we'd have to rent a space, which meant a little decorating. Add in the cost of catering and things start to add up. Because of this, we decided to DIY a lot of the decorations and activities (no sumo suits at this party), rented out a pavilion at a near by state park at a great price, and got lucky enough to have a friend cater the party for an awesome price.
Unfortunately, I don't have many pictures of the set up of the party.

Photo Booth
I thought having a photo booth at my grad party would be the coolest idea. Hiring a professional to do this was way out of our budget, so I had to get a little creative.
We got a big roll of vinyl in my school colors from Party City. We used it to cover the picnic tables, and used the leftovers for the back drop. We picked up a few props from Party City as well, but you can easily print some out and glue them to popsicle sticks to save even more.
There are a few different options you can use for the actual photographing. We used a polaroid camera, but you can also use a phone, iPad or a camera on a timer and a tri pod or designate someone to take the pictures. It all really depends on how much you trust your friends with your electronics (I'm only half joking)

Do not underestimate the Target dollar section!!! All of my decorations came from here. I wanted to go with my school colors (maroon and white) with some gold and Target was perfect for that. During graduation season they have tons of grad themed nick-nacks, or you could go with a different theme. My friend had a super cute luau themed party.
 Another cheap way to personalize the space is pictures. We printed out some of my favorite pictures from high school and hung them with clothes pins (gold and glittery of course) on string we had attacked to the pavilion posts. It was super cute and my friends loved trying to find themselves.

If you have a pool, definitely use it! If you're not that fortunate, there are tons of other things you can still do.
I played volleyball at every grad party I went to. Pick up a cheap net (or even a badminton net) and a ball and you're all set.
Corn hole, ladder ball and bocce are all great games that you or someone you know probably already has. Don't be afraid to ask people to borrow things!
Pinterest is a great resource to find inspiration specific to the type of party and space you're working with.

I highly recommend ordering your invitations online. You can get a lot at a pretty low price and they're totally customizable. I used Vista Print and only spent $15 on 70 invitations, enveloped included! Make sure when you're counting the number you need, you factor in how many houses your sending them to rather than the number of people. I still have a ton of extra invitations sitting somewhere in my house because we forgot to do that and ordered more than we needed. Luckily they were super cheap so it wasn't a huge waste. Sites like that usually have a minimum of 20-30, so if you're having a small party this might not be the best option.
You can also order matching Thank You cards!

Let me know any other money saving tips you have for grad parties, or any type of party!


  1. Great tips! I definitely think you can find the cutest invites online and they usually aren't too expensive! I also love Target for decor and even the Dollar Tree can have some good things for $1 - they have utensils, napkins, plates!

    Madison // Mads Maybe

  2. This post was so creative! Wish I would have read it two years ago when I graduated high school! BTW I see you're in NY! So am I!! We should talk!


    1. Absolutely! Send me a dm anytime!


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