While it’s totally possible to plan a great graduation party on a budget, isn’t graduation one of the best times to throw away the budget and just go all out?
If your graduation party has no budget, here are ten rather expensive graduation party ideas you could throw and how to pull them off.
Party in your favorite restaurant
If you’ve never rented out a whole restaurant, we’ll save you the call—it will be expensive. But if it’s your favorite restaurant and it holds a special place in your heart (maybe you met your girlfriend or boyfriend there, it’s where your family has always gotten together to celebrate, or you just always have a good time there with your friends), this can be the ideal venue for your graduation party. Depending on the restaurant’s policies, they may require you to pay a per-head fee or to guarantee that a certain number of paying customers will show up, but either way, just getting the place for the night is going to take a chunk out of your budget. Food, graduation party decorations, and more are going to eat up even more money.
Renting an event center
If you have a large group of people that want to attend your graduation party, you will likely have to rent out a local event center. Researching what venues people in the area rent for weddings is a good way to find one that will allow you to decorate as you please and have a large group of people either for an open house or to stay and chat, dance, and celebrate for the duration of the party. Like renting out a restaurant, the cover charge just for getting the space is going to be the biggest expense, but there will also be a significant expense for buying graduation party decorations to fill the large space. Getting lots of large decorations like wall banners and hanging lanterns can help to fill up a large space.
Gathering at your favorite bar
An alternative to trying to rent out a restaurant is gathering with your friends and family at a local bar. This party is best for those graduating from college, since high school graduates won’t surpass the legal drinking age. However, if there is a particular bar that holds a special place in your heart, graduating from university is a great time to gather there and celebrate. Even if you don’t rent the entire place out, covering the tab for all of your guests can put a dent in your bank account.
If there’s any time to get fancy, celebrating graduation is it. Why not spring for a ballroom and deck the place out in the most expensive graduation decorations you can find? Buy everyone attending their own graduation cap and gown, dress every table in the best linens you can find, and don’t be afraid to hang tassels from every chandelier in the space. Graduation is the best time to go big or go home.
Cater a feast
Anyone who has ever planned one of these parties will tell you that it is not the venue or the graduation party decorations that can empty your budget—it’s the food. One of the most expensive graduation parties you can plan is a catered feast for your guests. Most parties will stick to finger food or very small meals, but the most expensive will have a five-course dinner for all of their guests, even if there are a hundred of them. The cost can be marginally offset by using high quality paper products instead of real china—but if you’re going to go all the way with a feast, why not have fancy plates, cups, and cutlery, too?
A destination graduation party
Whether she is graduation from high school or from college, the first thing the graduate wants to do is probably go relax on a beach somewhere for a few weeks. Why not take the whole family? Flying the entire family to a tropical destination for a few weeks can be costly, but it can also be worth it.
If you have access to a graduation party planner, why not hire one? The graduate himself already has plenty of stress—he doesn’t need the additional stress of trying to plan his own graduation party. A planner will take care of everything from graduation party supplies to renting the venue and sending out the invites.
Reward with a ride
Maybe it’s not the party that is the real expense, but the gift that is going to be given along with the party. A car is actually a surprisingly common graduation present for high school and college graduates alike. Nothing says “Congratulations!” better than the freedom a vehicle provides.
Backpacking without books
Why not trade your backpack full of school books for a backpack full of clothes and supplies and set out for a European backpacking trip? Right now, now that school is over and before you will have to think seriously about a career or higher education opportunities, is the perfect time to spend a little extra cash and have a graduation celebration that doubles as an adventure!
Pay off student loans
What if, instead of throwing a massively expensive graduation party, you channeled all that extra money towards paying off your student loans? The celebratory spirt you’re feeling right now, in the wake of being done with your degree, will be even greater knowing that you’ve paid off that education.