Graduations mark major transitions in our lives. High school, college, and even kindergarten graduates want the world to know what they have accomplished and rightfully so. Parents can help make these events even more special with graduation announcements and a graduation party. However, proper care must be taken that the etiquette regarding invitations and announcements is used.
Memorable graduation celebrations can take many forms. They can focus on the accomplishments of the young graduate, look to the future, or carry a fun theme that all of your guests will enjoy. Organizing these events provides ample opportunity for parents to brag about their child’s achievement, and with good reason.
Put Out The Word
There are a limited number of seats available at most graduation ceremonies, so those seats should be reserved for immediate family and closest friends only. Of course, there are plenty other friends and family members who will want to hear the good news. Graduation announcements are an excellent way to share this good news.
Creating a graduation announcement follows many of the same rules of etiquette used in wedding announcements and invitations. Graduation announcements are typically sent out between two weeks before and two weeks after the event. Many families wait until after the graduation so they can incorporate a photograph of the graduate in their robe, using photo cards. Your graduation announcement should include the date of the ceremony, the name of the educational institution and the accomplishment.
The inner envelope, which holds the announcement and any photographs, should be addressed informally, such as ‘Aunt Mary.’ The announcement should be placed in the envelope facing the flap. This envelope is placed inside the mailing envelope with the flap facing the mailing side. Envelope seals add a touch of elegance to your proud announcement. A copy of the announcement and photo cards are great mementos and should be saved for the family scrapbook.
Planning A Graduation Party
As much as your young graduate will probably want to go out and celebrate with their friends, it is important that they recognize the contributions to their success made by friends and family members. There will certainly be time enough for celebrating with their friends and this social obligation provides an excellent teaching opportunity for parents. Enlisting the help of your graduate in the planning process is a great way to build their social skills and their enthusiasm for the event.
1. Guest List: As with any party, the first step is to create a guest list. The number and ages of your guests will determine many aspects of your graduation party. Once you have an idea of how many guests you can expect, you can begin to make decisions about the invitations, food and beverages, decorations and any outside help you may need.
2. Tone/Theme: Graduation party invitations can vary depending upon the formality of your event. Graduation parties can be elegant, black tie affairs, or they can be beachside events that feature a bonfire and barbecue. It depends upon what you and the young graduate want. In either extreme, graduation party invitations must be ordered. Consider using photo cards as invitations that feature images related to the theme of the event.
3. Venue: Once you have determined the venue for your graduation celebration, you can design the menu. Finger foods are a good choice for any party. You will want the food to be easy to handle and easy to clean up after. Vegetable trays, cheese and crackers, fruit salad, chicken wings, and other hors d’oeuvres are excellent choices. If your graduation party will feature a sit down dinner, you should mention that information in your invitations.
4. Decorations: Decorations set the mood for any party. Graduation parties are an excellent opportunity to share family photographs of your graduate. They are fun conversation starters and nearly always bring humorous groans of recognition and empathy. These types of photographs can also be used later to create memorable graduation announcements and photo cards. Balloons, streamers, hats, and banners are other good choices for creating a celebratory atmosphere at your graduation party.
The Fine Art Of Saying Thank You
There is considerable debate about whether or not gifts should be brought to a graduation party or mailed following the receipt of a graduation announcement. While gifts should certainly not be expected, they should always be accepted graciously. If a gift is received, it is very important that a thank you card be sent to the giver as soon as possible.
Thank you notes should always be on the same stationary as the announcements and invitations and they should be personalized with comments about how the gift is being used. It is important that the giver be kept in mind as the thank you is being written. This is the time to really share your true gratitude for all those that took time to celebrate with you.
Graduates should also be encouraged to send thank you notes to the teachers, coaches, and other mentors who made a contribution to the graduate’s success. There is no such thing as an overnight success. Your graduate has worked hard and deserves the recognition and reward for their hard efforts. Graduation announcements and a graduation party are an excellent way to celebrate their success.