TheStationeryStudio Etiquitte Expert, Sue Fox, provides these tips for How to Throw a Graduation Party with style:
Invitations & Announcements
Graduation ceremony invitations and announcements are normally given out by the school, which means immediate families are normally the only ones that are able to attend. Parents usually plan a party or afternoon reception after the graduation ceremony. It can be elaborate or simple, and depending on the nature of the party, invitations can be printed and customized.
Again, the larger and more formal the party, the better it is to issue a written or printed traditional invitation. On the other hand, if the celebration is a backyard barbecue for family and a few neighbors and close friends, you may decide to send a themed invite that shows the casual but fun nature of the event. Often, graduates spend time at their own party, and late in the day begin circulating among their friends’ houses to greet them and visit their graduation parties as well.
Parents often mail out announcements of a child’s graduation, especially to out-of-town friends. (This announcement differs from an invitation to attend a graduation ceremony or reception.) The announcement should be mailed two weeks prior to graduation.
To Give, or Not to Give?
If you receive a number of graduation announcements from various friends, does this mean you’re obliged to give everyone a gift? Not at all, you are not obligated to attend or send a gift. Actually, a note of congratulations or a graduation card is all that etiquette requires. Of course, you’d most likely want to send a small gift or gift card if it is a family member. Remember, announcements do not equal invitations. You are not obligated to give a gift, although you may choose to do so. Remember, if you’re invited to the ceremony or are attending the party, send or bring a gift.
Gifts That Are Appropriate
Gifts are de rigeur at a graduation party. Even if you are unable to attend the party, as a close friend or relative, it’s thoughtful to send a gift to the graduate. Students going off to college could always use items for their dorm rooms, baskets of toiletries, such as soap, toothpaste and towelsor towel wraps. Though, recent surveys show that most Americans who will buy for graduates will fill envelopes with cash or gift cards. Depending on your preference and price range, other welcome gifts might include the following:
* A book
* A diary or journal
* An electronic device such as iPod, iphone, etc. in a personalized tech skin
* Personalized stationary or note cards
* Pair of tickets to a sporting event, rock concert, or play
If the graduate is someone you have a close relationship with and you feel you can splurge on something more expensive such as jewelry, a computer, or a paid vacation, go for it! But, just keep in mind that for all gift-giving situations, you should always spend what makes you feel comfortable. If you’d like to spend less, possibly check with a friend or family member and share the cost of a gift. And, don’t plan on handing a wrapped present to the graduate at the ceremony — it would only get lost in the confusion. Send your gift to the graduate’s home or if the party is at the parents’ home, bring it with you.
Thank you Notes
Finally, remember to remind your graduate to write their thank you notes!