Graduation Etiquette — Top Manners for Grads, Guests, and Families

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If someone in your life is about to graduate, or you’ve been invited to a ceremony or party, or have received a graduation announcement, it might be a good time to brush up on your graduation etiquette. A few simple tips will allow you to join in celebrating the new beginning with ease, sincerity, and above all, graciousness.

graduateHere are just a few suggestions for graduates, guests, and families:

For guests: A gift isn’t always required if you receive a graduation announcement. Announcements are simply that – the family’s way of telling the news to the people in their social circle. If you attend a commencement ceremony or party, then you’ll want to bring a gift. You can bring it with you, or have it delivered to the graduate’s home prior to the party. The best gifts are ones the graduate will use in his or her next stage in life. Whether it’s tech school, four-year college, grad school, or first job and apartment, think of what would come in handy, and buy accordingly.

For families: If your son or daughter is graduating, congratulations! Here’s something to keep in mind: because so many people believe they “should” send a gift to the graduate when they receive the graduation announcement, it’s gracious to limit sending announcements only to relatives and those with whom you’re in regular contact.

For graduates: If you send holiday cards but wouldn’t normally send one to a particular person, then don’t send him or her a graduation announcement. Also, don’t send a graduation announcement to anyone the graduate wouldn’t recognize in person. Announcements are sent to family members, and to those outside of the family the graduate knows – not to someone who has a relationship exclusively with the parents of the graduate.

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