Monday, May 26, 2014

DIY- Graduation Party On A Budget

graduation party collage

Happy Monday!  I am back to blogging as usual this week, and I am so excited to show you how I threw my daughter a really cute graduation party for around $800.  It was a casual, picnic type of party held at the city park in a pavilion.  It was the kind of party that my daughter wanted, and it was all her choosing.  In case you have not already surmised this from the above collage, it was a sunflower themed party.  I have lots of pictures to show you today, and along the way I will tell you all about it. 

My favorite part of the party was the old pictures of Miss 18 Year Old that we hung using jute  and mini clothes pins.  At first, I hung it just like this.  I just love the casual and vintage vibe of this display. 


It was a windy day, and they were blowing about, so we decided to hang some brown craft paper behind them to give them some protection, and it worked wonders!  Plus, you could see the pictures better that way.  Guests had a great time looking at all of the pictures!


We used this brown craft paper on all of the tables.  We covered the food and gift tables with just this paper, and used it as a table runner on the guest tables.  This paper can be purchased in any Lowes or Home Depot in the paint department.  It is the same paper I used to DIY my brown paper floor in my downstairs hallway.  It made an excellent table cover for a party in a pavilion at the park.  It is fairly heavy duty, and I like the casual look of it. 


We hung 12 tissue paper pom poms from the rafters.  I brought lots of different ribbon, and they used it to hang them with.  I purchased these for around $2.99 for a package of 2 at our local party store.  I know that these can be DIY’d, but honestly? “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”  We didn’t open the pom poms until we got there, and it was very time consuming to fluff them up.  In retrospect, I would have done this before hand if I would have known.  It would have saved lots of time.  This is LC getting busy hanging them for me.  He is always such a good little helper.  Kind of cute too!


This is what it looked like when most of them were finally hung.  Festive!  Actually, what I had in mind was to hang them in clusters of three, but things were so hectic that I told Miss 18 Year Old to instruct LC to hang them however she liked, and this is how it turned out.  They really did add a nice touch to the feel of the pavilion. 


Here is how we decorated the tables.  I absolutely loved the way they turned out!  We just used white rolls of table cloths, then we used the brown craft paper as a table runner.  We did have to cut the paper in half down the middle because it was too wide.  But it was easily done using a utility knife.  We just cut down into the roll of paper and went around the roll with the knife, cutting several layers at a time. 


If I could have changed just one thing about how the tables were decorated, I would have gotten my hands on more blue Ball jars. 


I love these centerpieces!  I borrowed the blue jars from Miss 18 Year Old’s grandmother.  I tied a piece of jute in a bow around them, and then just popped these little sunflower bouquets into them.  I bought these bouquets for $1 each at AC Moore.  And then I placed a paper doily under each jar.  Love, love love!


Do you remember this lantern that I painted and distressed a couple of weeks ago?  Well, this is what it was for!  I used it for guests to place cards in.  I used brown card stock paper and made a little banner that says c-a-r-d-s on it.  I used washi tape and just taped each triangle to the handle of the lantern.  I brought along this mirror that is sitting in our garage, and used it as a tray to place the lantern on, just for a little bling.  Oh, and just in case you are wondering, those two gold boxes contained a pearl necklace and earrings.  She loved them!


The lantern was plenty big to hold all of the cards she received, and after the party I just had to pick it up and take it home. 


This little basket and display area was right next to the lantern on the gift table.  I had little note card with brown card stock paper in the basket for people to write her little messages on.  Everyone had fun writing on the cards, and she enjoyed reading them all.  She will keep them forever.  For the note cards, I purchased a pack of brown card stock and used a paper cutter to cut them into note card sizes.  I just taped the sign to the basket using washi tape.  I had a bigger basket right next to it for people to place their finished cards in. 


This is the entire gift table.  Those balloons kept blowing off of the table, so we finally had to tie them down!  All of the tings in frames were things that I printed out myself.  Except for the graduation party invitation. 


I made this framed art below on Picmonkey.  I actually found an Etsy print very similar to this on Pinterest, but I didn’t have time to order it, so I just referred to the picture I had and made my own.  I thought it turned out really cute. 


Here is a close up shot of the other things I printed out and framed.  Just little inspirational messages. 


This is a hot of the food table being set up.  I had the party catered by a colleague of mine.  She actually is a retired school teacher who is now in the catering business.  If any locals reading this would like her information, just send me a private message and I can get it to you.  She did a wonderful job, the guests all said the food was great.  The menu was all at my daughter’s request.  We had assorted cold sandwiches, macaroni salad, baked beans, chips, fresh fruit, chocolate covered strawberries.  Perfect picnic food for a day at the park!


We ordered the cake from a local bakery called Bake N Memories, and it was delicious!  The very front section of the cake got messed up in transport, but we did our best to fix it.  You can see it bottom center. 


Another sunflower bouquet next to the cake. 


And my DIY burlap wreath came along to the party!  I just threw a few sunflowers on it and we were good to go. 


Miss 18 Year Old made her own banner for the party.  I have mentioned before that she is artsy fartsy.  I offered to buy a banner or even have one made.  She wanted to make it herself, and she did a wonderful job.  It was really big, and no one had to wonder where her party was, because you could see the banner from the parking lot. 


She also made this sign to put at the bottom of the hill where the pavilion is. 


She even wore a dress that had sunflowers all over it!  She looked really pretty. 


This is her with Our Swedish daughter.  We are getting ready to have another party for her because she is leaving us on Friday. 


And here are some pictures I took during the party.  A good time was had by all.  One of her friends brought her guitar and they jammed a little.  The adults enjoyed hearing them. 


So many friends and family came to celebrate with us, and we are so thankful that so many people love her

And look at the smile on her face in this picture.  That is happiness.  And all I could have ever hoped for is for her to be happy on that day. 



I absolutely love this picture I took of some of her friends on a blanket.  This one is frame worthy.  A great picture of great friends.  What a fantastic day!


I was very happy with the way the party turned out.  It was exactly what I had pictured in my head, and I was only sorry that I did not get to talk to all of the guests enough.  You know how it is when you are the host.  We did this party for around $800.  Most of that was for the food.  And I don’t regret having it catered for one second.  I know my limits, and I am not one who can make food for a large crowd.  It was much better for me to have the food taken care of, and I did not worry about it for a single second. 

Thanks for stopping by and seeing my party post!  Now that graduation is over, and our Swedish Daughter is leaving soon, I hope to get to blogging on a more consistent basis, and I have lots of projects in store for summer break, so I hope you will come back soon!  Have a great week!

Link Parties:

Monday Funday
Between Naps on the Porch
The Dedicated House
Pursuit of a Functional home
Home Stories A to Z
Inspire Me Monday
Thrifty D├ęcor Chick
A Stroll Through Life
Coastal Charm
Not Just a Housewife
Savvy Southern Style
Work it Wednesday
Glitter Glue and Paint
Inspire Me Please
The Shabby Nest
Best of the Nest
Creativity Unleashed
Jennifer Rizzo
DIY Showoff
DIY Sunday Showcase
Love Bakes Good Cakes
PicMonkey Photo editing made of win