Manner Monday®: Graduation “invitations” or “announcements” and the mailing list

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by Carey Sue Vega in Etiquette, Family, Manner Monday, Manners

It’s that time of year again, Graduation.  I recently was asked about the difference between graduation ‘invitations’ and ‘announcements’ so I thought I would pull out an old post to address their question:


“Graduation announcements – this is the topic of the year for many of my friends.  Who should you send them to?  There is so much debate on this question…only family; family and very close friends; people who have touched the student; everyone on your Christmas list; the dentist, doctor, orthodontist, teachers.  We definitely don’t want it to look like we’re fishing for gifts… I’d love to see your answer.”

In many cases, during a student’s road to graduation the “it takes a village” quote is all too familiar.  Many parents want to stand on the rooftop and shout it out… Wahoo!!!  He’s graduating!!!  Thank you for helping!!!

So let’s break down the options for sharing the good news:

Graduation Invitation:  This is an invitation to the actual graduation festivities.  Many schools have a strict limit on how many people may attend in support of each student.  This may determine your list for the “invitation” group.  If you want to have a party so more people can share in the celebration, you could host a graduation party and extend invitations to the other close friends and family who may have been left out of the ceremony itself.  As the recipient of an “invitation; if you are able to attend, a gift should be given to the graduate.  If you are not able to attend, you may still send a gift, but it is not required.

Graduation Announcements:  An announcement does not extend an invitation to an event; its sole purpose is to “announce” the news to whomever you think might be excited to know of the accomplishment.  Many people may have lost track of time and did not realize that Johnny is “already” a senior.  They would be excited to hear about this great stage in his life (and yours).  Those who receive announcements are not obligated to send a gift.  A hand-written note would be a great way to respond to the announcement, sharing your excitement for the achievement.  Of course, if the recipient of an announcement would like to send a small gift, they are welcome to do so.

With all of that being said.  Some parents will want to send announcements to everyone they know, others will choose to send them only to close friends.  I think the extent of the list will fluctuate for different families and situations.

And unfortunately, some people do send invitations and announcements as a ploy to receive gifts.  We can only hope that the invitation or announcement we receive was sent in the spirit of the occasion and respond accordingly.



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