Graduation Etiquette Tips

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"Graduation Etiquette Tips"Commonly Asked Questions - Answered

Author: Jennifer - Internet Sales Coordinator & Team LeaderFebruary 2008

Graduation etiquette is a topic that is not commonly addressed, though the consultants at do tend to receive questions from customers (and sometimes family members) as to the correct protocol surrounding the graduation season. One of the reasons for confusion is that graduates can either invite guests to their ceremony or a party, or they can simply announce their graduation. No need to worry- the answers to your questions are coming!

Invitation or Announcement?
When consulting with customers about their graduation invitations or announcements, many customers wonder if they should order a graduation invitation or announcement. The answer is personal preference. Are you planning on having an event, such as an open house or dinner? Or are you simply announcing that you have graduated? Either way, your decision will not impact the card that you order, as your wording can be customized to be either an invitation or an announcement on Wording suggestions are also available if you are not quite sure on what to say.

Do I need to bring or send a gift?
Another sticky subject is when it is necessary to bring or send a gift. Do you have to send a gift for a graduation announcement? What about a graduation invitation, if you are invited to a ceremony or party? It turns out that whether you are being invited to an event does make a difference. According to, if you are invited to a graduation ceremony or party, it is proper to send or bring a gift. This does not apply when you receive a graduation announcement.

If so, what is an appropriate gift to give?
Guests attending a graduation ceremony or party may wonder what an "appropriate" gift would be. Many guests of high school graduations tend to give gifts pertaining to the specific college that a graduate will be attending. School-themed stationery sets are now available on and feature some of the nation's most recognized colleges. For college graduates or other types of graduates, books, luggage, a camera, jewelry or decor for their dorm room or apartment are appropriate choices.

Are graduates required to send thank you notes to those who send gifts?
Thank you notes are also a subject for interpretation. Though it may seem like an old-fashioned tradition, thank you notes when a gift is received never goes out of style. Some parents have trouble motivating their graduates to write thank you notes. I suggest letting the graduate pick out their own stationery to use, which may motivate them to show off their thank you cards. Need some help finding stationery? can help with that, too. We offer a wide selection of thank you cards, even graduation thank you notes.

It seems like graduation is a pretty simple process. However, many questions can arise, whether you are a graduate, parent, or guest at a graduation event. The best advice you can receive is to enjoy this fun time of graduation, no matter your role.