Graduation Announcement Etiquette

Printed announcements show more respect for recipients than emails.
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Graduation announcements differ from invitations to attend the ceremony at which you get your degree or diploma. They traditionally go to your close circle of relatives and friends within two weeks after the event. Following assembly and envelope-addressing protocol when sending news of your academic achievement reflects proper etiquette.

1 Wording Options

Some schools offer prepared announcements. These usually begin with stating “Class of (year) is pleased to announce ..." or "The President and Faculty of (university name) are pleased to announce … ." You may have the option of including your name, degree and any honors you achieved. If you want a more personalized or casual touch, you can customize invitations as long as you include your name, graduation date, school name and location. Announcements sent by parents might read, "We happily announce the graduation of our son William A. Smith from Yale University on May 15."

2 Mailing List and Timing

People tend to feel graduation announcements carry a gift-giving obligation. According to etiquette expert and author Maralee Mckee, limit your mailing list to close family members such as grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins as well as friends or colleagues you regularly see. However, by adding "No gifts, please" on your announcements, you can expand your mailing list to include anyone who's important to you. Mail announcements up to two weeks after the ceremony but not before the graduation date in case something happens to delay receiving the diploma or degree.

3 Addressing Envelopes

Graduation announcements have two envelopes to address. Hand-write mailing addresses on the larger envelopes with gummed flaps -- the outer envelopes – using blue or black ink. Use full words such as "Avenue, Apartment and Street" instead of abbreviations, with the exception of state abbreviations. Write just the recipient's name -- formal or informal -- on the inner envelope. For example, informal names such as "Pastor Ray" and "Nana" are as acceptable as "The Reverend and Mrs. Paul Louis" and "Carolyn Evans." If the announcement includes children, write their names on the inner envelope only. For example, an outer envelope reading "Mr. and Mrs. Craig Bates" corresponds to an inner envelope addressed as "Aunt Sue, Uncle Craig, Kallie and Ben."

4 Final Assembly

A standard announcement package consists of two envelopes: the graduation announcement card and name card. Some also include tissue inserts and foil seals. After you've addressed a pair of envelopes for one recipient, you're ready for assembly. If the announcement card is folded, put your name card in the fold, print side facing up. For announcement with slots, insert the name card in them. Place your photo on top of the announcement card then a tissue, if provided, on top of the photo before sliding the assembled announcement into the inner envelope face-up. Either fold the flap over or close it with a foil seal. Insert the stuffed inner envelope into the outer one. Moisten the flap or apply a foil seal to close it. Add a first-class stamp and mail it.

Trudy Brunot began writing in 1992. Her work has appeared in "Quarterly," "Pennsylvania Health & You," "Constructor" and the "Tribune-Review" newspaper. Her domestic and international experience includes human resources, advertising, marketing, product and retail management positions. She holds a master's degree in international business administration from the University of South Carolina.