DIY Budget Party Decorations and Party Prep Tips

Everyone loves a party!  My favorite parties to give or attend are those celebrating someone special and their accomplishments. We are celebrating two graduations in our house this month, my son is graduating from college and my daughter is graduating from high school. I have taken some time away the last couple of weeks to fully appreciate, enjoy and celebrate my children and their hard earned success.  I have so much to share with you about some fun DIY projects I've done to decorate the party with a budget in mind and some party prep tips that can help you organized and prepare for your next party.  So make yourself a cup of coffee and sit back, this is a long post with many pictures and not one but two videos attached!

Part 1 DIY Party Decor - 
I love including photographs in my party decorating.  It allows you a peek into the honoree's life a bit and photos can so easily be adapted into so many budget friendly  DIY party decor ideas.  Since we were dealing with two different schools with two different sets of school colors, I opted to use my favorite colors and textures for the the party; chalkboard, burlap, twine and craft paper.

An easy way to work photos into your decor would be with a Photo Garland.

  So simple to make and they have such a big impact.   The only supplies needed are twine, mini clothes pins and a stack of pictures.  These photo garlands were in our dinning room where the buffet was laid out. One side of the room had photos of my daughter and the other side had photos of my son.  

Inspired by Pinterest, these photo jars were so fun and easy to put together that I ended up creating several to place throughout the party. I chose to use sand as my base for my jars but beads, rocks or colored sand can also be used.  Those mini clothespins came into play again attached to the photo it was easy to sink the pin into the sand to help the pic stand up.  Once closed the lid can be decorated however you want.  

I thought the jars looked great in the table centerpiece too.

Every graduation party needs a place to put cards and gifts.  This easy to make card box is also a great spot to add pictures of your special graduates.

I found this burlap covered lidded box at Hobby Lobby and I added some pictures to the inside of the lid.  I made a small "cards" banner and filled the bottom with burlap and a sprinkling of shredded paper.

I set the card box out on my china cabinet in the den along with pics of the kids and wallet sized graduation pictures for the guests to keep.

We also used our graduates pictures in our party invitation.  I am a bit old fashion, I think every good party begins with a formal snail mailed invitation.  There are so many online sites that allow you to upload some pictures and create an invitation perfect for your party.  I found a template on Snapfish that fit perfectly with our theme.

You can find more information about the DIY projects you see here by watching my YouTube video below:


Part 2 Party Prep -

I really enjoy prepping for a big party.  I start as far in advanced of the big day as possible, gathering ideas and recipes.  I keep everything organized in a party binder that I put together years ago.  Inside I keep details of the parties I've had in the past like menus, guest list etc. 

I keep all my working list in here from shopping list, timeline prep and even cleaning and organizing lists.  Especially with something like a graduation there is a lot of paper work to keep track of, cap/gown orders, announcement orders, graduation weekend schedules etc.  I always store any recipes that I will be making for a party in this binder as well.  It really is an invaluable tool to help me feel prepared.

I like to set out my dishes and platters, serving pieces and utensils on the buffet several days before the party.  It helps me visually see what I have and how its best organized on the table.  I also like to label every dish using a post it note with what will be put in every dish.  This helps me stay organized and also allows someone who is helping know where everything goes.

I wanted something special for our guest to sign with out being a formal guest book and Pinterest came through for me again.  We used the Dr. Seuss book "Oh The Places You'll Go"  for my daughter who will be going to school to be a Literature teacher.  Everyone wrote a little note to her with some special advise or just well wishes.  For my son, I had everyone sign a Jenga piece.  Everyone seem to enjoy the idea and we had so many laughs reading the messages.


We had stacks of announcements and invitations to send out and this envelope addressing stencil by The Lettermate was so helpful.  It is a stencil that you put over your envelopes that help you keep your lines straight.  If you are like me, I am good for about 10 envelopes and then my handwriting gets all wonky.  This little gadget was such a big help.  They can be found here and are under $10.  The Letterman website has such great ideas on fun and creative ways to address envelopes.

For more information on all these party prep ideas, please watch: 
Milestones, like graduations, are worth celebrating in a big way and so worth the time and effort put in.  I truly believe that these are the times of our lives that are remembered most.  If you have made it to the end of this post THANK YOU!  I have loved sharing our celebration with you.  I hope you will take a minute to subscribe to my channel on YouTube and to follow the blog.  Leave me a comment below and let me know what you are celebrating this month.  Until next time, I hope you love the life that you have and I will see you all next time.


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