7 Ways to Throw a Graduation Party on a Budget

By Shannon Gurnee
In Holiday Gift Guide
May 27, 2019

Today, we’re talking about 7 Ways to Throw a Graduation Party on a Budget in partnership with Basic Invite. 

students in caps and gowns for graduation ceremony

With a big family like ours, school events and activities costs can definitely add up quickly throughout the year. This year is a bit different from others though because we have our oldest daughter graduating from High School! Now it’s been a few years since I graduated high school (ok 20, but who’s counting) and costs are a bit higher than I remember. There are all kinds of things to pay for, including dances, yearbooks, cap and gown, Senior night, Senior pictures, graduation announcements, a graduation party, and more. So how can you throw a Graduation Party on a budget with all the other expenses?

1 – Set a budget. The first thing you need to do is set a budget. This will help you determine how much you can spend on invites, decorations, graduation stoles, and food.

2 – Keep it intimate. With a big party and lots of people comes lots of expenses. If you are on a budget, consider inviting only family members and close friends to the graduation party. Then, go here if you are looking for a cool party rental venue in Calgary.

3 – Consider a potluck. Preparing appetizers, a main course, side dishes and a dessert can definitely add up in price. Try to curb this cost by inviting guests to share a dish at the party. Not only does this help you save money on food, but it also gives guests a chance to show off their cooking skills.

4 – Pick an affordable venue. Most people like having the graduation party at a restaurant or banquet room. However, if this is out of the budget, consider hosting it at your home. You may get a couple of tent rentals or marquee hire they will provide everything you need if you want to host the party outdoors.  Renting portable mobile toilets comes in handy when you’re hosting a big event.  Also, since you can customize how many units you can get with a portable loo hire, you’ll have the perfect number to accommodate your guests. 

5 – Purchase decorations from discount stores. I love to find decorations at our local discount stores. There are lots of options for signs, paper products (plates, napkins, cups, utensils), and other decorations at a fraction of the price of a party supply store.

girl posing on bench for camera

6 – Take your own pictures. When I was a Senior in high school, I remember we all had to go to this one specific photography studio to have our pictures taken. If I remember correctly, it wasn’t cheap. A great alternative for the picture to use in your Graduation Announcement or Invite is one you take yourself. These days, you could even get a pretty great picture on your smartphone! Pick a pretty location with good lighting. Favorites include in front of a small waterfall, on the beach, on a bench with trees in the background, or even surrounded by flowers. You can even hire landscape lighting services to install some lighting in your garden. You get the idea. There are a lot of options!

7 – Create invitations that affordable, but beautiful! Basic Invite is a great place to order your graduation announcements or graduation card invitations. At Basic Invite, you’ll find a wide variety of announcements and invitations, each customizable in your unique school colors.

  • Almost Unlimited Colors – Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. Once you select a design you can change the color of each element on the card to over 180 different color options so you can make sure the card is exactly how you want it down to the littlest detail. This is what we feel sets us apart from almost any other online stationery company and is what we feel is our biggest draw.
  • Custom Samples – Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers the ability to order a printed sample of their actual invitation so they can see exactly how it will print as well as the paper quality before they ever have to place their final order. This is great especially when adding your own photo, like with the two sided photo graduation invitations.
  • Over 40 Different Colors of Envelopes – Basic Invite is just as colorful with our envelopes as we are with our invitations. Customers can choose from over 40 different colors when it comes to their envelopes so that they can make their invitation stand out even before it is opened. All of our envelopes are peel and seal so the envelopes can be quickly and securely closed.
  • Address Capturing Service – Basic Invite offers an address capturing service that allows customers to simply share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media to request their friends and family’s addresses which will be stored in the customer’s account and can then be selected during the design process. Basic Invite offers recipient address printing at no cost on all card orders.
  • Foil – Foil cards are available in gold, silver, and rose gold. Customers can choose flat or raised foil on all of Basic Invite’s foil designs.


Graduation Announcements

Order your graduation announcements or invitations through Basic Invite and receive 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51 

What other ideas do you have when throwing a Graduation Party on a budget?

About Has 2213 Posts

Shannon Gurnee is the author of Redhead Mom formerly "The Mommy-Files", a national blog with a loyal following. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development with a Minor in Business Management. Shannon and her husband, Frank, have a large family with 6 awesome kids and love living on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, California, as well as traveling around the world. A full-time Social Media and Professional Blogger, Shannon also serves as a National Brand Ambassador for many well-known companies. Her blog focuses on motherhood, family fun activities, traveling, fashion, beauty, technology, wedding ideas and recipes while providing professional opinions on products, performances, restaurants, and a variety of businesses.

29 Responses to “7 Ways to Throw a Graduation Party on a Budget”

  1. Stacie says:

    A potluck is always a great time. I live in the south, where pretty much every get together is a potluck. They’re the perfect way to throw a bash without having to do allll the work.

  2. I would just like to go back to high school and graduate to organize everything this way and maybe get better results!

  3. Luna S says:

    Great list of tips! I think having a potluck and keeping it to close family/friends are fantastic ideas.

  4. Chad says:

    Oh right on time!!! I am planning a grad party for one of my friends, great ideas. Thanks a lot.

  5. Carolyn says:

    Tis the season! I did my graduation party pretty cheap and I’m glad I did. It can still look nice on a budget!

  6. Kristine Nicole Alessandra says:

    When my kids graduated from college, I opted to have a small family only party at a restaurant. Other than immediate family members, the invited guests were grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. And I did it RSVP so I know the actual headcount of attendees. We decided on having the party at a restaurant so we don’t have to bother with cooking and cleaning up after. 🙂

  7. Indu says:

    While reading this post I felt like being in graduation myself. Great tips to have graduation party in budget.

  8. Tami says:

    These are beautiful invitation choices. We did our wedding on a budget and used the same company for our invitations.

  9. “Keep it intimate”….very important a factor, if you ask me.

  10. Lyosha says:

    Very nice tips! If you happen to have a person good with camera it is a great idea to make your own photos by yourself. However I wouldn’t save money on photos otherwise.

  11. Emman Damian says:

    For me, it’s all about the celebration. Whatever you can offer is good. No need for an extra lavish party.

  12. Graduation parties can be expensive! Keeping it intimate and having a potluck are two great ways to save money for graduation parties.

  13. Rena says:

    My youngest graduated in 2010 & I can only imagine how much more it costs today than it did then. You have some really great ideas here. I especially like the one about taking your own pics. These can become outrageous very quickly.

  14. Catherine Santiago Jose says:

    These are great ideas but in every occasion of my life I always love having a simple celebration. Pot luck is one of best idea that I always did.

  15. These are some really helpful tips. It can be so tempting to go all out on a graduation party but unfortunately not everyone has the budget to do so.

  16. Joanna Clute says:

    I like keeping it smaller when it comes to parties like this. I think it makes it more special for the grad as well.

  17. Tiffany La Forge-Grau says:

    Invitations often end up being the most expensive part! However, all of it can add up!

  18. Claire Lee says:

    My sister just graduated from Columbia university and we went to Daniel restaurant for dinner. But I totally agree with you on intimate gatherings!

  19. Ronnie says:

    These are all great tips! I also like to DIY the decor. I’ll use a service like canva or the like to make some neat decoration and print them out on my home printer. Easy as that and super affordable.

  20. Danielle says:

    I am loving all of these tips on how to throw the perfect graduation party on a budget. These parties can get so expensive but there are ways to save!

  21. Wren says:

    I am such a frugal person. These types are great for when I have to throw a graduation party. Finding ways to save a buck while still throwing a beautiful get-together is something I strive for.

  22. great ideas! grad parties dont have to be super expensive to be memorable

  23. Jessica Hughes says:

    This is so helpful! Taking your own pictures is a great idea!!

  24. Heather says:

    Thanks for these great and practical tips! It’s easy to follow a budget if you have a plan.

  25. Erin Knight says:

    I wish I had read your post when I was graduating from highschool. So much budget-friendly tips that is easy to follow.

  26. Kalyan Panja says:

    Thanks for sharing these nice tips to celebrate a graduation party on a budget. Looks something to try out for young graduates.

  27. Krista says:

    I don’t know that potluck would really work for a graduation party without embarrassing my kid, but I do like the other suggestions!

  28. Kara says:

    Some lovely tips to mark this special occasion

  29. The potlucks and cheap venue is such a great idea. We did the park and a potluck for my brother and sister’s graduation since they happened at the same time. We wound up turning it into a mini family reunion and everyone brought something for everyone to enjoy.

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