What You Need to Know About Graduation Announcement Etiquette

From high school to college graduations and beyond, marking the milestone of finishing a chapter of your education or earning a degree is always something to celebrate.

One great way to mark the occasion and let friends and family know what you’ve accomplished is with a graduation announcement. This classic card is both a way to celebrate the occasion and a special keepsake to hold onto. Whether you plan to also send out invitations to your graduation ceremony or a graduation party, formal announcements are a must.

Unlike invitations, announcements are just that — a note to let recipients know what you’ve achieved. With that comes some different rules of etiquette that you’ll want to follow. Here are a few things you need to know when sending out graduation announcements.

Deciding to Whom to Send Your Announcements

The first question you might ask yourself is who should receive one of your graduation announcements.

Odds are your close friends and family are already in the know. And, you might worry about whether sending one to more distant relatives who you don’t see or speak to often may seem abrupt and unexpected. Luckily, proper graduation announcement etiquette makes it easy to decide who should receive such a card.

While your immediate family may already know you’re set to graduate soon, they should still get a card. You should also send an announcement to more distant family members, like aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins.

Unless you think they would enjoy seeing the photos on your card, you can skip sending an announcement to friends or co-workers. However, if you’re graduating from college, sending a card to your high school friends or friends in your hometown is a great idea.

Finally, consider any mentors, teachers, religious leaders, or other individuals who helped you on the path to your degree. If you haven’t spoken to them in a while, you can always include a short note along with your card thanking them for all their help.

Creating a Timeline

Another important etiquette rule to follow is when to send out your graduation announcements.

Because these announcements do not include an invitation to the ceremony, they are traditionally sent out after a graduation ceremony has taken place. Typically, they should be mailed sometime between the day of the ceremony and about two weeks afterward.

However, if your final grades have come in and credits have been counted, you can always mail your announcements a few weeks or even a month ahead of the ceremony. This is a good choice for anyone who is unsure of which family members or friends might like to attend your graduation ceremony; that is, if it is open for anyone to attend.

Don’t forget to give yourself time to take your graduation photos and design beautiful graduation announcements to send out. Factor in standard shipping fees and processing times so you can still send out your announcements on schedule.

Styling the Perfect Announcements

Before you can create the perfect announcements, you need to take the perfect photos.

There are plenty of options for choosing photos for your graduation announcements. For instance, you could schedule a photoshoot wearing your cap and gown or take more classic “senior” photos in a nice outfit. Additionally, if you’ll be continuing your education at a different university, put on some athletic wear that represents your new school. You can even have a friend or family member take photos on graduation day to use on your announcement.

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