Everything a Grad Should Know About Graduation Etiquette

1.When to Take Graduation Photos

For all of the soon-to-be graduates, find everything a grad should know graduation etiquette before the big day. Before you worry about sending out announcements or invitations, the grad should schedule their photo session. The grad should take photos 2-3 months before their graduation ceremony to avoid the rush. Grad photos can be a mix of traditional and non-traditional photos. Most of all, the grad’s photos should show their personality.

2. Information to Include on Graduation Announcements

The graduation announcement wording you choose to include on your correspondence should reflect your own personality and style. Along with important information,  a graduation announcement can include an inspirational graduation quote to set the overall tone for the ceremony and celebrations that follow. A few words or graduation wishes that highlight the importance of education and hard work would make for a great addition to your announcement.

What to Include:

  • Full name
  • Graduating year (i.e. Class of 2018)
  • Name of high school or college
  • Date of graduation

custom graduation announcements with photo and text customization

3. Who to Send Graduation Announcements To

You should send graduation announcements to anyone your family would send a holiday card to. This is a great rule to go-by when creating your announcement guest list. No matter what guidelines you decide to follow when deciding who should receive an announcement, it’s important that anyone who has impacted your academic career and journey be informed of the good news. If you’re still stuck, follow our more detailed guest list below:

  • Parents and other important family members. Even though these folks have probably already been informed of all the details, we’re sure they wouldn’t mind hanging a personalized graduation announcement on the fridge for all to admire.
  • Extended Family. Think grandparents, aunts, uncles, great aunts and uncles and cousins that you may not see everyday, but still have a great part in your life. Even if they live out of town, they will surely want to hear about your accomplishments and see the official announcement.
  • Friends. Your friends will want to celebrate this special accomplishment with you as well.
  • Tutors, Teachers and Classmates. Don’t forget about the people you spent the most time with during your academic career.
  • Yourself. Last but not least, if you the graduate are creating and sending out your own custom announcements don’t forget to save one for yourself. These little cards also serve as a memorable keepsake for years and years to come.

4. When to Send Graduation Announcements

Graduation announcements that also double as invites to the graduation ceremony, should be sent at least two to three weeks before your graduation ceremony. This will give guests enough time to receive their invitations and RSVP early. It’s a nice gesture to give your guests enough time to make arrangements to attend the celebrations if their schedules will allow them to. If you know beforehand which guests will be traveling from out of town, you can give them advanced notice, in addition to sending an announcement.

If your announcement does not include an invitation to the commencement celebrations then it is permissible to send it within a wider timeframe specifically, two weeks before the date or up to four weeks after the event is acceptable. Be mindful when you are sending your announcements and don’t send them too far after the event.

5. Information to Include on Graduation Party Invitations

When crafting your graduation party invitation you’ll need to include the basics like when and where. Stand out by customizing your invitation with a senior photo, a personal quote or goal for the future.

  • Full name of graduate
  • Name of high school/college/university
  • Graduation year
  • Time, date, location of the party
  • Date and instructions to RSVP
  • Gifts (where registered) or specify no gifts

Read this post for more ideas to personalize your graduation invitation wording.

6. When to Send Graduation Party Invitations

Graduation party invitations can be sent out 3-4 weeks before the graduation party.

7. Who to Invite to Your Graduation Party

Graduation ceremonies are ticketed events and often limited to immediate family members because of space-constraints imposed by the school. Luckily, your graduation party need not be so exclusive. Depending on your venue, you can be as inclusive as you want. Invite family members, friends, classmates — anyone who has grown up with you or watched you grow up will enjoy having the opportunity to celebrate with you.

8. What to Expect for Grad Gifts

From gift cards and cash to personalized gifts and keepsakes, many friends and family will want to honor your achievement with a special memento. No spoilers, but here are some great graduation gifts that might be coming your way.

9. What to Include in Your Graduation Thank You Message

Learning to write a thank-you card is a skill that will be useful through out your life. Follow these simple steps and speak from the heart.

  1. Open with a warm salutation such as “Dear”.
  2. Say thank you and acknowledge the gift specifically.
  3. Add a sentence about why this gift is special or how you will use it.
  4. Write something about the future, like “let’s talk soon” or “can’t wait to see you for brunch.”
  5. Say thank you again.
  6. Sign off with a thoughtful closing such as “sincerely” or “cheers.”

If you’re still feeling tongue-tied, check out these graduation messages for thank you cards to find inspiration.

10. When to Send Graduation Thank You Cards

It will be easier if you send out thank-you cards as gifts arrive. However, if finals have you too busy for any extra curricular writing activities, be sure to send them out no later than one month after graduation.