General Etiquette > Family and Children

Graduation Announcements Vs. Invitations

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--- Quote from: TootsNYC on April 02, 2013, 11:56:29 AM ---Snip

If it's just an announcement, it might be smart to leave off the exact date, so people don't think it's an invite (people often just don't "get" announcements).

--- End quote ---

POD, especially if announcements aren't common in your extended family.  My mom sent announcements for my HS graduation and had quite a few relatives try to RSVP that they couldn't come. 

My favorite invitation was for my exchange student's in Brasil. My husband called me at work to tell me he booked a ticket for me to go! So apparently their celebrations are similar as to the U.S. I went to the ceremony, had a family party at their home, and then attended a huge dress-up party put on by the university with drinking/dancing/food/bands.

We could only have 6 people attend with an actual ceremony invitation and so we sent announcements to relatives which included an invitation to a party. In MI the party is never the same day as the graduation. Only grandparents tend to attend the actual ceremony while family and friends attend the party. We sent out just party invitations to our children's friends and our friends and hosted a party. This included a general invitation for everyone at church. People don't give big gifts (perhaps cash of $10-25) and it's really not a big expectation. I'm sure there were some who attended who didn't give a cash gift. That's not the reason we had a party. We had a party to celebrate with family and friends.


--- Quote from: jaxsue on April 03, 2013, 08:33:34 AM ---
--- Quote from: Zizi-K on April 02, 2013, 01:45:17 PM ---The actual graduation ceremony is often difficult to attend unless you are immediate family. Not only are there restrictions on how many tickets you can obtain, but they are often hours long and mind-numbingly boring. People who get offended about not being invited to the ceremony seem quite ignorant about how these things work.

--- End quote ---

This. In my experience, graduates are given only so many tickets for the graduation ceremony. My younger DS got 4. And you're right...the ceremonies are pretty tedious!  :)

--- End quote ---

It's pretty similar in Canada.  Of course I'm not going to criticize US traditions but it's just different here.

Overall, HS graduation is treated as an expectation rather than a special accomplishment.  With very few exceptions - any student who wants to graduate does so, even if it's within a special program - such as one that accommodates learning disabilities.  Generally, gifts are given only from parents and perhaps very close relatives such as grandparents.

Yes, there are ceremonies and parties - but usually parties are given by parents of a graduating senior and include only their kid's friends.  There are generally not parties that include adult neighbours, parents' friends, extended family such as great-aunts etc.  I am not saying that anyone who did such a party here would be considered "rude", but it would be in raised-eyebrow territory.

But late Dh and I recognised that things were different in the US when we booked a night in Coupeville WA (we needed to catch the ferry the next day).  We'd previously seen (on a prior trip) some picturesque B&Bs but found that they were all fully booked even for a Thursday in early June.  Even for the nice hotel that we were able to book a few weeks ahead - the manager informed us that it had been the last room available and she seemed to figure that this was perfectly normal at that time of year - "it's graduation weekend!"  And yes, while strolling the town (it's pretty small) we saw plenty of license plates from California, Montana, Arizona etc.  Naturally not all of these people would have been attending the graduation ceremony, but it would seem to convey that in the US it's very mainstream to drive for a day or two to attend a HS graduation.

So overall, I'd think that this would be a know-your-audience situation.  While no announcement or invitation is a gift-summon - if I received a graduation announcement, I would indeed think that a gift was expected.


--- Quote from: katycoo on April 02, 2013, 06:06:54 PM ---This comment is not very helpful, I know but this is just one of those things I find quite baffling/fascinating about US culture. 

Graduations here (whether High School or University) aren't really a thing to be announced.  Parents and perhaps siblings or a partner might be invited to the ceremony but if there's any kind of celebratory party its an "I'll be drinking in this pub if you wanna come too" style.

--- End quote ---

In some circles, graduations can be huge deals. This is especially true in immigrant families because the child who finishes High School may be the first in the family to do so.

In season, the museum where I worked was host to a number of Commencements.  The institutions ranged from elementary school up to and including a local university. It was interesting to watch
because the younger the graduates, the more attention was paid. 

After a middle school commencement, every kid came out with more medals and trophies than an Olympic champion.  On the other hand, some PhDs I know went to their Graduations only for the chance to have their pictures taken wearing the soft caps and velvet-trimmed robes. 

Parties, however,  tend to be small and gifts are often given only by close family and friends who know the Graduate well.  Others may send cards but that's about it. 

Reviving this old topic because we received a combination announcement and invitation to a brunch for a cousin's (daughter of my husband's first cousin) college graduation.

2000 miles away.

I know that an invitation isn't a summons (we are not attending), and I know that announcements are proper and aren't gift grabs.

But I truly cannot imagine that they believe that there is even a remote possibility that we (and all the other relatives that they are presumably sending these to) would fly out for this.  I like these cousins a lot, but we aren't especially close to them.  Nor is it an especially historic occasion because no one in the family has yet graduated from college; they all do.  In my experience (and both my husband and I have big extended families that love to get together for life cycle events), college graduations are attended by parents, siblings, perhaps grandparents and maybe a close aunt or uncle, but not the whole huge extended family. 

Probably they just intend it like an announcement or a courtesy invitation.  We've sometimes gotten high school graduation announcements, but I don't think I've ever seen a college graduation announcement. 

As I said, I know that etiquette doesn't require us to send a gift when we receive an announcement (which is what this invitation amounts to).  But I always feel like we have to anyway.  Do you?

Do you feel like a note of congratulations, which I know is proper, nevertheless comes across like it's saying, "Did you send us this because you are hoping for a gift?  Well, too bad, we figured it out, and it didn't work" -- ?

I am going to let my husband decide how he wants to handle this! 


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