Wednesday, June 21, 2023

How to plan a graduation party on a budget

This past weekend, we held a graduation party for my bonus son. I was so excited about this party, because my own kids did not want to have one when they graduated,  which was such a bummer for this party planning mama.  I have been planning this party for the last three or four months, and almost everything used this party was from the Dollar Tree.  Buying the party supplies from the Dollar Tree definitely helped me stay on budget.  

There were only a couple of minor things that did not go the way I hoped, but over all it turned out to be a great party anyway.  It was too windy for some of our decorations.  I planned on having two balloon towers in front of the shelter house, and balloon sticks on the tables. The wind kept blowing the balloons over.  We also ran a bit late getting everything set up, because the graduate went to the wrong location when he was supposed to be picking up items for the party.  Oops!  The last thing did not go the way it was supposed to was when I pulled out the cupcakes to put on the cupcake tower, several of them had fallen over and were unusable.  Thankfully I brought some extra ones, so all was well. We just did not have as many cupcakes as originally planned.  

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The cupcake tower was one of just a few things not from Dollar Tree.  I found it at Target for $5.  It is really sturdy cardboard, and trimmed in gold.  Thankfully it did not blow over in the wind.  We are thinking of using it again at my bonus daughter's wedding in a few months. 


The original plan was to put our food on tables under a canopy, so everyone could sit to eat and talk at the picnic tables in the shelter house.  We ended up setting out the food inside the shelter, because of the wind. All the serving trays and utensils that we used for our food are from Dollar Tree.  You can find many of the trays here, and many of them are currently available in small quantities.  

One of the biggest hits of the party were our fruit and veggie cups with graduation picks in tumbler cups  The reason why servings were put into cups is, it was easier for the party attendees to grab and go.  l did not want to have all the fruits and veggies on a tray where they could be touched by multiple people. I had several people tell me that they really liked having the individual cups.

I did something similar for the kids.  Instead of everyone putting their hands inside the chip bags to get the chips, we displayed them in a large party tray from the Dollar Tree.  I found this white on in the party aisle, but they have a few other variations here.

There were green and white party plates, napkins, cups and plastic utensils to eat with.  I thought I took a picture of them, but I must have missed it, because I am not finding it in my pictures.  

At one end the shelter house I set up the party favors, games  and card box.  I LOVE my scalloped tray that I bought a few years ago from the Dollar Tree. I used it to hold our candy bar favors.  While I have not seen these trays in one of my stores yet, they are bringing them back!  They are available now on the Dollar Tree website here. They were very hard to come by a few years ago.  I had a lot of good comments about them at this party, we are now considering using them for the wedding.

Almost all of the favors on the table were from the Dollar Tree.  The bubbles and favor boxes are available in the store. The candy jars  and trays, are available in store and online. 

I bought this card box a couple of years ago for a graduation party that did not happen during Covid. It is really big, easy to put together.  I bought the graduation cap this year.  

We did not have a photo booth set up with the wind, but we did have photo props available for the graduate to take photos with his friends.  Both the sign and the photo props are from the Dollar Tree.  

I did take a photo of the balloon tower stand after the party, and when the wind died down.  It was so easy to put together and can easily be used again, and again.  

I did make a few printables for his party, a few of which are available in my Etsy shop.  

The graduation games were a big hit.  

While I customized our candy bar wrappers with the graduate's school colors, I have printable wrappers available in the shop. 

We also wrapped all the water bottles with printable wrappers as well.  They are not in the shop yet, but are coming soon. 

Everyone left full, and happy.  The graduate had a great day with his friends and family, which made it a fun and successful party.     



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