How to Throw the Perfect Graduation Party on a Budget (NBC33 VIDEO)

By Eric DeFreeuw

May 15, 2013 Updated May 15, 2013 at 6:30 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.nbc33.com) – It seems like just yesterday was prom, and now the next big moment for high school seniors is quickly approaching – graduation. And for most seniors, that translates to party time. But with the rising costs of graduation parties, is it possible to have fun on a budget?

For some, parties simply consist of a few family and friends and a bar-be-que, while others have become more and more elaborate. Some rent out venues and cater in the finest foods in town. What that means for parents is these are also costing more and more money.

The Fort Wayne Parks Department reports their various pavilions around town, which rent between $58 and $239 dollars, are booked solid through the end of July. So it's easy to see how saying "congratulations" to your favorite graduate could end up costing a small fortune.

"It used to be much more of a casual event,” says Wendy Moyle at Shindigz, “people would stop by the house, and now the parties have become much more elaborate. Sometimes kids can group together and they can have it as a team. But really you find it's not really the graduation items, but the personalized items. So the spending has become much larger."

A new thing now is having various mementos like life-sized cardboard cut-outs of the graduates from various points in their life. While it seems like a very special way to honor the graduate, every personalized decoration costs money.

The best advice for throwing a graduation party on a budget is to keep the event intimate.

By inviting only close friends and relatives your responsibility for feeding them drops dramatically. The smaller the guest list, the less food and beverages are needed.

When it comes to inviting guests, you realistically don't need to invite everybody from your grade. Let’s face it, you really wouldn't want everybody there, anyway.

Finally, the most important part, the food. Keep your menu simple and basic. Catering in from a fancy restaurant isn't necessary, especially if you are able to cook the food yourself. Taking the time to prepare your graduate’s favorite home-cooked meal usually means more to the graduates anyway.

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