If you have a high school or college graduate, or you have been invited to a graduation ceremony or party, here are some graduation etiquette tips to help you make your best impression.
Q – When and to whom do you send graduation invitations?
- The graduate should give those to the closest family members as soon as possible (3-4 weeks for in-town guests and 6 weeks for out of town guests).
- If you receive a graduation invitation, you should RSVP immediately so the graduate can give the invitation to someone else.
- Also, if you receive an invitation, you should still send a gift even if you can’t make it to the ceremony or party.
Q – When and to whom do you send a graduation announcement?
- These may be sent before the graduation, but it is even better to send them after the graduation.
- Those receiving an announcement are not obligated to send a gift, but it is nice to at least send a card congratulating the graduate.
Q – When and to whom do you send a graduation party invitation?
- Send the party invitation 3-4 weeks for those in-town, and 6 weeks for guests from out of town.
- A formal paper invitation is best for this formal occasion, but if money is an issue, you may use an electronic invitation instead where people even RSVP online.
Q: How much should you spend on a graduation gift?
- Spend or give what you feel comfortable giving. It will also depend on how close you are to the graduate as you will want to give more for a family member or close friend.
- For a high school graduation gift you would give a minimum of $25 and for college $50 would be the minimum.
- Buy gift applicable to what they will be doing after graduation.
Q – How should I behave during the graduation ceremony?
- Be respectful of those around you (ex, don’t stand up and video tape blocking others’ view)
- Put your cell phone on vibrate during the ceremony and restrain from posting anything negative (or unflattering pictures) about the event on Facebook or Twitter
- Don’t yell or be really loud when they are calling your graduate’s name because it means others might not hear the name of the next person called.
Q – How should I behave if I’m attending a graduation party?
- RSVP on time.
- Behave yourself and don’t drink too much.
- Know your table manners (buffet tips & basics like elbows off table).
- Bring a hostess gift.
- Bring something for the graduate (gift and/or card).
- Understand that the graduate cannot just hang out with his/her friends, but should in fact talk to all of the guests especially those coming in from out of town.
Q – When should the graduate open gifts and thank people for the gifts.
- Unless a guest has requested that the graduate open his/her gift in person, it’s best for the graduate to spend time mingling with the guests and then open the gifts later when everyone is gone.
- Within a month, the graduate should send a hand-written thank you note for all gifts received. A “thank you” email or text is not appropriate.