Graduation is a big milestone, whether high school or college, and letting close friends and relatives share in the celebration is important. Much like wedding or birth announcements, graduation cards allow graduates to inform everyone about their upcoming graduation and give the opportunity for congratulations from those who have been supportive and encouraging throughout high school or college. Aside from announcements, graduation cards may also include invitations to the ceremony or celebration that may follow, as well as thank you cards sent to certain family members, school staff, mentors or close friends who have been especially helpful in reaching graduation.
Graduation Card Etiquette
With proper planning, graduation day will be a time to remember and treasure for years to come. Spending graduation day with close friends and family only adds to the momentous occasion, and knowing proper etiquette surrounding graduation cards can help ensure everything goes smoothly. There are several factors to consider when choosing and sending your graduation cards, including how many will be sent, when they'll be sent, who will receive them, what method will be used to send them and what information will be included on the cards.
Deciding who to send graduation cards to should be your top priority, and the most likely to get tricky. Feelings can easily be hurt when someone is overlooked, so make sure to include everyone who has had a positive impact on your accomplishment. This may include everyone from family to childhood friends or mentors. Prepare a mailing list and when in doubt, always send a card rather than not. The most proper way to send graduation cards is through the mail, as email cards are still considered highly informal and people who do not spend time online might miss the card entirely. When mailing invitations, try to send everything out at least a couple of weeks prior to the graduation ceremony. Announcements can be mailed just before or after graduation, informing recipients of your accomplishment. Thank you cards should be sent separately, preferably before the graduation ceremony occurs.
Graduation Announcement Cards
Graduation announcement cards serve to let everyone know about an upcoming or recent graduation, and can be sent alone or alongside an invitation to the graduation ceremony or celebration. Formal graduation announcements typically include the announcement itself placed inside an inner envelope that can be addressed informally (""Grandpa,"" ""Auntie,"" etc.) which is then placed into an outer envelope that should be formally addressed, preferably by hand. Follow etiquette rules when addressing, such as writing out full address details (""Street"" instead of ""St."" for example) and using proper titles (Mr., Ms., Mrs.).
The graduation announcement cards should include the name of the graduate, name of the school or university, date of graduation and degree earned, if applicable. Graduation announcement cards that include an invitation to the ceremony or event should be mailed in time to arrive at least two weeks prior to the event. If the announcements do not include an invitation, they can be mailed as early as two weeks before to as late as two weeks after the graduation. While receiving gifts from well wishers may be desirable, including information on the announcement regarding gifts is discouraged, other than a note at the bottom to eliminate obligation to give gifts, such as ""No gifts, please.""
Graduation Invitation Cards
Along with graduation announcements, invitations should be sent to the people who you would like to attend the graduation ceremony or post-ceremony celebration. Since not everyone who gets an announcement will necessarily be invited to attend the ceremony or celebration, invitations should be done as a separate insert to be included in the announcement envelope, generally with a return envelope and RSVP card.
When choosing who will or will not attend the commencement ceremony, keep in mind that many ceremonies allow a limited number of attendees per graduate, especially during high school graduations. Find out how many seats are available per graduate, and limit the number of invites to the ceremony itself based on available seating. If necessary, separate invitations for the celebration only can be printed and included in the announcement for those who will not receive an invite to the ceremony. Ceremony invites should be limited to family and close friends only, if possible.
Graduation Thank You Cards
Whether in appreciation of gifts received or to thank certain individuals for valued support and encouragement over the years, graduation thank you cards should not be overlooked when purchasing and sending out graduation cards. Sending handwritten thank you notes or cards is preferred over more generic options with pre-printed messages, and even thank you cards with pre-printed messages should be accompanied by a personalized, handwritten note addressed to each individual.
Graduation thank you cards should addressed and mailed in the same manner that announcements and invitations were sent, and should be sent within two weeks following the ceremony or two weeks following receipt of a gift, whichever is sooner. Thank you cards being sent to teachers, mentors, coaches or other individuals who have helped and encouraged over the years should be sent at least two weeks before graduation, and may be accompanied by a small gift of thanks. All thank you cards should clearly mention the gift received or gratitude for specific instances of support and encouragement.