It’s the age of all things DIY, so some of us may be feeling the extra pressure to make our grad parties shine this year. Fortunately, there are plenty of genius ideas that are easy to execute and sure to impress. Here are some budget-friendly food and décor to up the ante on your grad’s special day.
Floating Photo Collage: Hole-punch the top of photos and tie them to balloon strings for a floating display of your grads accomplishments over the years. You could also use a permanent marker to write a year on each balloon and then tie the corresponding school photo.
DIY Photo Booth: If you’ve ever been to a party with a photo booth, then you know it’s pretty much the best part of the evening. And you don’t need to pay a photographer hundreds, even thousands, of dollars to rent one. We like this idea of using a chalkboard to write your graduation year, or better yet, a message to your graduate. Make two copies of each photo, enclose one in the thank you note and keep one to make an album the graduate can keep.
Dr. Seuss Themed Party: What better theme for a graduation party (especially for little ones) than Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go. Decorate with maps, globes and vintage luggage. Use a copy of the book as a guestbook for everyone to sign. Be sure to serve up some one fish, two fish multi-colored goldfish crackers as snacks.
Hot Dog Bar: We all know a taco bar is a delicious and stress-free way to serve a crowd, but if you are looking for something original, make it a hot dog bar! Lay out all the condiments your guests could possibly want—peppers, onions, a variety of mustards, bacon, chili, cheese, etc. Post instruction sheets for creating specialty dogs, like a traditional Chicago dog with yellow mustard, relish, onion, tomato, peppers, pickle spear and celery salt.
Graduation Cupcakes: Whip up a batch of your favorite cupcake recipe and frost as usual. Then make this chocolaty graduation cap topper using an upside down peanut butter cup and chocolate square (Ghirardelli works well). If you want to go the extra mile and include the tassel, use a touch of melted chocolate to secure a mini M&M and fringed fruit roll-up (in school colors).
Bookworm Centerpiece: You can make the best centerpieces from the things you already have laying around the house. And what better focal point for your graduation party than books. Select 3-5 books for each table, then use square flower vases as bookends to complete your centerpiece. Or, tie books up with a ribbon so it looks like a present.
Before you shop: Speaking of books, a popular baby shower idea is to request that guests give a book with a special message written inside instead of a card. Why not extend this idea to graduates as they head off to college or a job? Ask guests to skip the card and bring a book that had a great impact on their life. And of course, ask them to include a message and well wishes to the graduate on the inside cover.