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When to Send Out Graduation Announcements and How to Address Graduation Announcements

shop graduation announcements with envelope and gold foil

With the school year coming to a close, graduation on the horizon, and friends and family getting excited to celebrate, there's a lot to think about as you plan graduation festivities. Amidst all the chaos, grads and their parents often struggle to adhere to an ideal timeline for sending graduation announcements. We're assembled our best advice for when to send graduation announcements and how to address graduation announcements to save you time and help you get your graduation planning experience off on the right foot.

When Should I Send My Graduation Announcements

graduation announcements square with photo and gold foil

Ideally, graduation announcements should be sent at least two weeks before the event. Particularly if the announcement includes an invitation to the ceremony or grad party, it's important to give your recipients enough time to respond. Most high schools and colleges limit the amount of tickets graduates are allowed to use, so the window for responses should be as inclusive as possible. If your announcement does not include an invitation, it's permissible to send it in a wider time frame. Anytime from two weeks before to six weeks after is acceptable, especially as the graduate will probably receive replies and gifts in a fairly wide time frame.

If it's relevant for you, the clarification ‘no gifts, please' should be included somewhere on the printed announcement.

Once you've established when to send your graduation announcements, it's time to decide who should receive one. Anyone who you would send a Christmas or holiday card to is fair game for graduation announcements. Also be sure to include tutors, teachers, classmates, or anyone else closely involved in the grad's high school or college career.

When receiving grad announcements or invitations, do your best to respond promptly. Plan to send a small gift if you can't attend a party or ceremony, or bring a small gift with you if you are attending. It's not necessarily required to send a gift upon receipt of a graduation announcement, but a small gift or card is courteous. Cash is the most usual graduation gift, although gift cards or a fun personalized photo gift are great alternatives. If graduation gifts don't fit in your budget, don't worry. A heartfelt congratulations card is a great alternative, and will certainly be appreciated by the graduate. Visit our page on graduation etiquette for more helpful tips!

6 Reasons to Send Graduation Announcements

white and silver foil graduation announcement with photo and border

If you're still on the fence on whether to send graduation announcements at all, read through our reasons to send grad announcements below.

  1. Family and friends want to know. Those closest to you probably already know the details of the upcoming graduation, but folks slightly outside the inner circle might not be as informed as you think. Family and friends want to know what's going on in your life, and will appreciate being included in such a major milestone.
  2. Your family wants to show off the grad's accomplishment. It takes time and effort from everyone in the family to deliver a successful high school or college career, so this graduation is partly their success. Give your family kudos on a job well done.
  3. It's traditional to announce graduations. Just as with births, moves, and other life events, it's traditional to share the information with your family and social circle. Graduation announcements come from an era before social media and digital communication, and it's thoughtful to honor traditional methods of personal correspondence.
  4. Sending grad announcements is a great way to begin networking. That family friend you had a conversation with at last summer's barbeque? She might remember there's a graduation coming up at some point, but seeing a reminder might just inspire her to get in touch with you about networking and job opportunities.
  5. It's a keepsake. Graduation announcements often find their way into memory books, photo albums, or other important and sentimental places.
  6. Grad announcements are a great way to thank family and friends. Celebrating your graduation with an announcement is a great opportunity to thank your family and friends for their loyalty and support. A handwritten note or simply your smiling senior portrait makes their loyalty and sacrifice totally worth it.

How To Address Graduation Announcements

Graduation announcements should be addressed as formally as birth announcements, wedding invitations, and other staples of personal correspondence.

design on envelope with graduation cap design on envelope graduation with gold design on envelope please deliver to in black

Addressees should be acknowledged by their formal titles, and be sure to avoid address abbreviations. If you're unsure how to proceed, spell out full names. For example, use "John Smith and Mary Harper" instead of "Mr. and Mrs. Smith-Harper." See the examples below for clarification:

John Smith and Mary Harper
225 Ivy Street
Los Angeles, California 95054

Dr. and Mrs. Greenbaum
85 Norfolk Street Apartment 4F
New York, New York 10001

Depending on your timeline, you might consider including the ceremony or graduation party invitation in the inner envelope with your announcement. When assembling the announcement, don't seal the inner envelope (doing so just creates more work for your addressees), and make sure to assemble the two envelopes with the seals facing the same direction. Remember to print your return address clearly on the outside envelope, or use matching personalized address labels for a more formal touch.

Take care to use the correct address on your labels, especially when sending college graduation announcements. If the grad is sending the announcements, he or she may want to include a home address if its likely recipients will receive announcements well after a move away from campus. If you're including a "no gifts, please" request the return address is slightly less significant, but it's still important to provide your friends and family with updated contact information. Graduation announcements should be sent via first-class mail. If invitations to the ceremony or grad party are included, remember they should arrive no later than two weeks before the event. Announcements on their own can be sent in a wide timeframe, but as always, promptness will be appreciated, and don't forget to use your matching personalized stationery for thank you notes!

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