Create A Custom Graduation Announcement Online

Congratulations! You’re graduating, and now it’s time to celebrate. The difference between graduation invites and announcements is how you word your announcement, and who it’s addressed to. In this guide, you’ll find the tools you need to create stunning grad announcements, including graduation announcement wording, design inspiration, and how to put your graduation invitations together. Also, you can check out our Graduation Headquarters which features many graduation products that you will love for your grad.

When you pursue higher education, you celebrate so many graduations, each with different practices on what and how much should be shared. Below you’ll find out the who, what, when, and how behind sending out a custom graduation announcement. While you create your personalized graduation announcements, check out the best graduation gifts you can honor your grad with for their graduation.

Jump to:

What Are Graduation Announcements?

A graduation announcement is used to announce your academic achievement. In contrast, graduation invites are the actual invitation to the ceremony or reception. Most graduations limit the number of people a graduate can bring to the ceremony, so a custom graduation announcement is for everyone else in your circle.

The end of any school year can be overwhelming. You have to plan a grad party, come up with clever DIY graduation gifts for friends, and not to mention the stress of finals. Creating a reasonable timeline can help you better manage all the tasks you have to complete as the last month of school creeps up and you’re on to the next chapter of your life.

Variety of custom gradution announcements for 2021 with student photos and messages on single and tri-fold cards

Don’t shy away from sending grad announcements to your acquaintances. Graduation announcement cards can signal that you’re open for job opportunities and internships, and sometimes, you might make a connection from a family friend who’s hiring for your skillset.

Teachers or individuals who influenced you throughout your education should also be included. Think of that AP English teacher that made you fall in love with language. They would be thrilled to find out that they influenced your degree in linguistic studies, and helped you on your path to becoming a speech therapist.

Grad Announcements vs. Graduation Invitations

Graduation announcements help you celebrate your accomplishments with all your family and friends, even if they’re far away. Especially if you’re having a virtual graduation this year, a custom grad announcement card can offer simple information about your virtual ceremony so that anyone can choose to join. You might also choose to send out announcement cards if you just aren’t have a graduation party or aren’t inviting many people to your ceremony.

With Shutterfly graduation announcements, you can send a beautiful notice with just the most important information. Our Graduation announcement template offers flat cards, folded, and tri-fold cards, so you have all the room you need. Different from a graduation invitation, your announcement lets you offer information about your degree and future plans instead of your ceremony and party details.

How To Address Graduation Announcements

A photo graduation announcement and grad invites are assembled in three pieces. They have a formal outer envelope, the informal inner envelope, and a custom graduation announcement with photo cards. With a few different pieces to take care of, it’s important to learn how to address graduation announcements properly.

Multiple graduation announcement cards with different grad announcement sayings and student photos

Graduation Announcements Wording

The difference between an announcement and an invite is in the announcement wording. Think of the pieces as layers by placing the most informal information on the inside.

  • General Information: Both cards should include the graduation year, name of school, degree or major earned, school emblem, and senior photo cards.
  • Graduation Invitations: Include the time and date of the ceremony and an RSVP deadline.
  • Graduation Announcements: Add a personal touch with your favorite quote or a short note.
  • Inner Envelopes: Include informal titles and nicknames.
  • Outer Envelopes: Address the outermost envelope with formal prefixes like Dr., Mr., Mrs. or Miss. Avoid abbreviations in the addresses of the outer envelope.

How To Send Graduation Announcements

With so many different pieces to include, assembling grad announcements can be confusing. Take it step-by-step, beginning with the inside contents like a flat graduation announcement, and work your way out.

  1. Place the graduation cards into the inside envelope with the front of the announcement facing the envelope’s flap.
  2. If the inner envelope includes a seal, use it, but do not tuck the flap.
  3. Place the inner envelope into the formal outer envelope with the informal text facing the envelope’s flap.
  4. Drop your invitations and announcements in the mail.

When To Send Graduation Announcements

Experts have different takes on when announcements should be sent. Etiquette points to two weeks prior to the ceremony if you’re including an invitation, and up two weeks following for standard college grad announcements.

The end of a school year can be packed with graduation parties, finals, and overall stress, so try to spread out the tasks that go along with creating these announcements.

  • Four Months: Take senior portraits.
  • Three Months: Design the layout and order your announcements.
  • Two Months: Gather recipients’ names and addresses.
  • One Month: Address and assemble the announcements.
  • Three Weeks: Send your grad announcement cards.
  • Post Ceremony: Send out graduation thank you cards.

Graduation Announcement Ideas

Your graduation cards should embody your personality. The recipients want to see you at your best, and a great way to show them is through a unique grad announcement. Get creative, or keep it traditional. Either way, make sure you’re sharing your favorite parts of your academic journey.


Nothing says accomplishment like the tassel on a grad cap. Signal your celebration with a detailed grad cap front and center and build with the textual details of a tassel. Take it a step further by using your alma mater colors as the palette.

Full Photo

Acquaintances and maybe even some relatives haven’t seen you in years. What better way to show your achievements than with a photo update?

Graduation Party

Send your announcements out after celebrating with your inner circle of family and friends. Don’t forget to take informal pictures at the event. You’ll save a bundle on professional photography, and everyone loves a candid shot.

Photo Cards

To keep things formal, you can include a text-only graduation invitation and add some photo prints inside. If you’re sending high school graduation announcements, be sure to include your senior portraits. You’ll get the best of both worlds with extra space for personalization on the announcement, plus the fun grad photos.

Grdauation photo card for single photo announcement and folded graduation thank you card

My Favorites

Your tastes have most likely changed since you’ve seen a lot of the people you plan to send your invites to. Your interests are a great representation of what you’ve been up to, and often shed some light on where you might go in the future. Customize your graduation announcements with photos of you and your favorite things, like a sports ball if you’re an athlete or even photos of you with your pets.

Graduation Quotes

Whether inspirational or humorous, sharing a graduation quote is a great way to add some personality to your announcement. You can even create a themed string of quotes that embodies where you started school and how far you’ve come.

Multi Photo Grad Announcements

Add some depth to your grad announcements with a fun fold-out design that has a collection of your favorite photos. If you had a professional photographer, multi-photo grad announcements are a great option to showcase all your favorite shots without having to limit your choices. Multi-photo cards can be an excellent choice if you’re sending out college graduation announcements. Get creative by including photos of you in different places around your campus.

Graduation Thank You Cards

Graduation thank you cards are almost just as important as the announcements themselves. Imagine your loved ones spent ample time creating DIY graduation gifts like college survival packs or custom gear with your alma mater. Keep it short and sweet, but make sure to send a handwritten note to everyone who sent a gift to you. Write your thank you cards as soon as you can and send them out a few weeks after the graduation ceremony or grad party.

Wrapping Up

When designing your grad party invites, think about how you want to present yourself with the trim and paper type. Your trim can be classic square for a traditional look while a bracket, ticket, or scallop trim can create a modern invite. If you want a sleek, shinier finish, go for photo paper. For an elegant print, use a pearl shimmer cardstock.

With a little bit of thought, creating a custom graduation announcement is a simple and effective way for your family and friends to be a part of your accomplishments. Still stuck on what to say? Follow our guide to graduation announcement wording for even more inspiration.

Additional Resources

Graduation Announcement Cards

Graduation Invitations

Graduation Thank You Cards