Manner Monday®: Should I send Graduation Invitations or Announcements?

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by Carey Sue Vega in Etiquette, Manner Monday, Manners

May is knocking on our door which means our mailboxes will soon be filled with exciting news from the high school and college graduates in our lives.  I often get asked the question about the difference between graduation ‘invitations’ and ‘announcements’ so I thought I would break it down for you:

Q – “Graduation announcements –  Who should you send them to?  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...”

A – 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 cover 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.

Envelopes and Postage:  Thanks to all of the creative entrepreneurs out there who are keeping the stationery business alive, we’re seeing some pretty original and artistic announcements.  Which also means some atypical envelope sizes.  If you have an announcement that requires a unique envelope – make sure you check the postage requirements, more than likely you will need additional postage.  Click here for the link to the USPS postage calculator page.

Click to Tweet: Graduation Announcements or Invitations? And who gets what? #MannerMonday tackles the topic!


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Thanks for reading!
– Carey Sue

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