The months leading up to graduation are a hectic time for students, with papers, final exams, and fond farewells among friends. Sending out a formal graduation announcement is probably the last thing on their minds. However, a well-crafted invitation will make your family proud, and they’ll always have it as a memento of your special day.
Below, we’ve shared high school and college graduation announcement etiquette, so you can design a memorable announcement, send it to the right people, and mail it with plenty of time for friends and family to respond.
Besides telling your close friends and family about the upcoming ceremony, announcements are a smart way to let your social circle know that you’ll be seeking employment soon. Who knows, there might be an old family friend who works in the same field that you majored in, and maybe they can help you get a foot in the door. In a sense, your graduation announcement is an invitation, a keepsake, and a business card, all in one, so it’s definitely worth the effort.
When it comes to graduation announcement etiquette, there are some basic rules to keep in mind. At a minimum, announcements should include your full name, your high school or college, and your graduation date. You’ll want to be as concise with this information as possible, using most of the available space for photos of you.
For your text, make sure to choose legible fonts and colors that don’t clash. On the outside of the envelope, use black or blue ink and address each announcement by hand. Finally, slide your announcement in the envelope so that folks see your smiling face when they open it.
Before drafting a list of potential recipients, you’ll need to decide whether to send out a graduation announcement and an official invitation. If you’re doing both, you can send the announcement to as many people as you like. We recommend including close family, distant relatives, friends, and favorite childhood teachers you think would appreciate the gesture.
Traditionally, high school graduation announcement etiquette is less serious than college. That said, there’s no rule that says you can’t send out dozens of formal announcements for both ceremonies. However long the list is, you should use the announcement as an extension of your real life. Only send them to people you care about.
Finally, don’t wait too long to mail the envelopes! Your guests will need to plan their schedule around the big day. Give them a lead time of at least three weeks. You don’t want them buying graduation gifts and reserving hotel rooms at the last minute. If certain family members are flying in for the ceremony, let them know a couple months ahead of time. Then send them a formal announcement as well. Even if they know the dates, they’ll still appreciate the keepsake.