7 Inspiring, Inexpensive Graduation Party Ideas
7 Inspiring, Inexpensive Graduation Party Ideas

7 Inspiring, Inexpensive Graduation Party Ideas

You don’t need a big budget to throw an A+ party.


These ideas from expert party planner Debi Lilly who runs A Perfect Event in Chicago are so smart (and frugal and fun), you’ll want to copy them. Don’t worry, you won’t get in trouble if you do! Here’s how to give your grad party the event-planner touch without the event-planner price. Study up!


1. have fun with cookie cutters

This is a great touch that only requires number or letter cookie cutters. Simply place the cookie cutters in a shallow dish and fill each one with nuts and/or candies. Spell out the graduation year (e.g. 2018), the school’s initials (e.g. SDHS or IU), or just “Congrats!”

Cookie cutter snack dishes

2. interesting ice

Go from pops to ice when you serve these watermelon mint pops with an added twist. Use a cookie cutter to make a star shaped cut out in each one, and then freeze the unused cutout shapes in Ziploc® brand containers and serve them as “ice” in cold drinks! Or try the next tip.

Ice shapes
Ice shapes

3. serve skewers that double as decor

Your food can do double duty, providing refreshment and adding pizzazz. Using cookie cutters, cut and skewer watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, and pineapple for fruity kabobs that can be placed on a tray as-is, or used in drinks for an edible garnish.

Fruit skewers

4. create a meaningful menu

Serve the grad’s favorite foods, or feature regional recipes based on the college or school they’re headed to, or graduating from. For example, southern comfort food would be a great choice for an Ole Miss student.


5. pennant bunting (and food flags!)

Print out these vintage pennant templates to use as decorative bunting. Or make your own mini pennant food flags using washi tape in your color scheme...no tape or glue necessary! Just cut the tape into a flag shape and adhere to straws, toothpicks or skewers. You can also write on washi tape with a permanent marker.

Pennant bunting
Straw flags

6. DIY tissue tassels

Follow these easy steps to make these tissue tassels to drape across a room, or to create a fun DIY centerpiece by gluing them to the tops of pencils gathered in a vase. You can also add them in between the pennants to dress up the bunting!

DIY tissue tassels

7. pop-up photo booth

Make a DIY photo booth so guests can ham it up and make memories in style. Print these fun signs, and create a background by taping balloons and streamers as a backdrop. For extra credit, create a party hashtag so guests can share their pictures on Instagram. “It’s a free way for everyone to enjoy the party even after it’s over,” Lilly said.

Pop-up photo booth

Free printables