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Graduation Open House

Last post Mon, Mar 31 2008 9:41 PM by viola61. 7 replies.
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  • Sat, Mar 29 2008 8:49 PM

    • viola61
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Fri, Mar 28 2008
    • Posts 27

    Graduation Open House

    My oldest dd is graduating this year.  Any suggestions for a frugal get together of about 200?

  • Sun, Mar 30 2008 12:33 PM In reply to

    Re: Graduation Open House

    WOW!  Congratulations to your DD and you. 

     200 is a lot of people, depending on how frugal you need it to be, maybe just do a cake and punch instead of food and drinks for everyone?  If you do want to do food, then maybe snacky type dishes rather than a full meal would be cheaper.  You can do dip in your crockpot (like a cheesy dip) that could feed a lot.  Things like Chex Mix go a long way and veggies and dip and a fruit tray or something.  Finger sandwiches can also be pretty cheap because you can buy the fixins in bulk and cut them small.

    For decorations, you might find that plates, cups, napkins in her school colors are quite a bit cheaper than graduation themed ones.  Solids tend to come in larger packages for less price than printed ones.

    Lots of people on here will have tons more (and better!) ideas than me!  I hope your party is tons of fun!

  • Sun, Mar 30 2008 2:58 PM In reply to

    Re: Graduation Open House

    ...and call in any favors you have out there.  Can some of your closest friends or relatives bring a dish?  Tell Aunt Sue a big bowl of her good macaroni salad is needed (don't just throw it out there, specifically request it - people want to feel needed).  How about your neighbor's famous vegetable dip?  And isn't Grandma's cole slaw your dd's favorite of all and could she bring it?  You get the idea...  Most people like to brag on how they helped with a party or celebration.

    A good idea for a cake if you don't make your own is to buy/order a small, theme-decorated 1/4 sheet cake and then put it into the center of a large, undecorated but color coordinately-iced sheet cake that's either baked at home or purchased.  If you don't have a sheet cake pan, maybe you could borrow one - it takes two cake mixes to fill one. Much cheaper than getting a giant, completely decorated cake.  Also, Mississippi mud cakes are loved by everyone, are rich and go a long way - you might ask someone to bring one or two (sans the nuts if they're too much $$) in addition to your 'bakery' cake. The buckets of ice cream are cheap at Sam's or WalMart.

    An easy fruit salad is a few #10 cans of fruit cocktail, parially drained and then cut up any kinds of fruit you like into it.  Apples, oranges, an extra bottle of marachino cherries, pears, bananas, strawberries if they're cheap enough.  Put out some store-brand Cool-Whip.  Angel food cakes is good too, especially for those on special diets - Aldi's a/f cakes are very reasonable.  Again, maybe someone would bring several, in leiu of a gift?  Might clear that with dd first, lol.  HTH, Liz 


  • Sun, Mar 30 2008 7:00 PM In reply to

    • Walt34
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Dec 17 2007
    • WV eastern panhandle
    • Posts 1,406

    Re: Graduation Open House

    Is holding the party in the back yard an option for you? Trusting to Murphy's Law, if it's within budget rent a large tent. That will guarantee no rain and will provide shade from the sun. If you don't have some plan for shelter it will rain. That's what almost always happens to me.

    Pot luck is a good plan if it will work for the group of 200, but is probably impractical for those who may be traveling long distances. Otherwise "finger foods" like chicken wings, plates of veggies and dip are good. Grocery stores will often put together large plates for such gatherings, ask at the deli counter if that is within budget.

    Or the old standbys of hot dogs & hamburgers will work.

    If you don't already have them you can rent folding tables & chairs. Perhaps a local church will rent them out inexpensively? If no other way a catering service might rent theirs.

    For 200 people, consider renting porta-potties.

    You didn't say where this was going to be held so I'm assuming the back yard or perhaps a community center.

    Officially Recognized Stretchpert in Money Management
  • Mon, Mar 31 2008 9:48 AM In reply to

    • rolo
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Apr 4 2007
    • Michigan
    • Posts 1,932

    Re: Graduation Open House

    Here's what we are planning:

    Pavillion reservation deposit: $75, refunded, in full, day after the event if you go to city hall to pick it up or 2 weeks for snail mail, amenities are 7 miles of beautiful river walk, ball diamond, playground equipment, huge shade trees, covered pavillion with picnic tables and grills, bathrooms, all for free once the deposit is picked up!

    Food: for about 100, 10 close friends are all bringing snack/finger foods, we are providing grilled hot dogs, buns, condiments, ice water/lemonade, paper products. 

    Budgeted: $200 total 


    "People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost." ~~ Dalai Lama XIV -

  • Mon, Mar 31 2008 10:07 AM In reply to

    Re: Graduation Open House

    When DH graduated last May with his Master's degree, I had a get together at our house for about 75 people and we spent less than $100. So, this isn't for 200 people but here are some ideas:

    If people want to help, please let them! DH parents wanted to provide the cake and I let them do it! My parents wanted to help with drinks and I let them fill the coolers with pop. We did have beer but with an open house from 4:00 to 8:00, I didn't put the beer out until after 6:00. I made iced tea and "lemonaid" koolaid for kids.

    We had lots of chips/pretzels bought on sale. Big crock pots of cheesy dip (some brought by relatives) and I bought 2 pans of chicken wings that cost $50 and we had leftovers!

    I bought plates, napkins and silverware on sale at a party store. We didn't use the school colors (orange and black, yuck) but used spring colors/bright colors. When I saw napkins on clearance after Easter and they weren't too themy, I bought them. Yes, DH party had floral napkins and light yellow plates, but they were cheap. We also had green forks and no one complained. Smile

    We didn't use decorations and people pretty much stayed outside in our back yard. Borrowed neighbor's chairs for extra seating. But with an open house, not everyone was there at the same time. We maybe had 30 people at the most at one time. People came and went and stayed 30 minutes to an hour. It was a graduation weekend around here and there were other celebrations for High School and Colleges going on.

    Good luck. I know you have 200 so you may have to forego food and just have cake and punch/iced tea to keep it more frugal. But it's the celebration that counts!

  • Mon, Mar 31 2008 9:41 PM In reply to

    • viola61
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Fri, Mar 28 2008
    • Posts 27

    Re: Graduation Open House

    Thanks for all the ideas and great tips.  Much appreciated!!

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