Author Topic: Graduation Announcements Vs. Invitations  (Read 7196 times)

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lakey

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Re: Graduation Announcements Vs. Invitations
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2014, 12:40:08 AM »
I believe that one of the reasons people send out graduation announcements is that the sale of these items are promoted at the schools as part of graduation, similarly to class rings, yearbooks, special photo packages, and so on. A lot of times you buy these items because it seems that everyone else in the senior class is. Frankly a lot of this stuff is a waste of money.

In my opinion, give a gift or don't, based on how close you are to the graduate or based on tradition in your family. I have a very large extended family. My mom had 6 brothers and sisters, and my dad had 5. Most of my aunts and uncles had 5 or more kids. So there are a ton of aunts and uncles and a ton of cousins. The tradition in our families was that First Communions, weddings, and wedding showers were gift giving events. There were no baby showers or very large graduation parties that the extended family was invited to. It just would have been too much.

Go by what is usual for your family unless you are particularly close.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Graduation Announcements Vs. Invitations
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2014, 12:50:27 AM »
It's an announcement.  If you are not willing to purchase an actually gift, maybe sending flowers or a card to arrive by the time of the brunch is an option. 

A gift is not expected, but at least you know they graduated :D

peaches

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Re: Graduation Announcements Vs. Invitations
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2014, 01:31:43 AM »
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!

That's a tough one.

In our families (DH's and mine) high school graduations are celebrated, and announcements or invitations might be mailed out. We always give/send a gift to high school graduates.

High school graduation is a rite of passage; it's a graduation into adulthood. Some young people are headed to college or other educational opportunities, some are getting jobs and striking out on their own. I think the reason it's widespread to celebrate high school graduation is because just about everyone has one.

College graduation is different, and celebrated more quietly in our circle. Some graduates don't want to attend a ceremony; others do, and might invite parents, grandparents or siblings, or boyfriend/girlfriend. There might be a small party or dinner. Invitations aren't mailed to a wider audience, and gifts aren't given.

In Gellchom's situation, I would treat the invitation as an announcement, and send a note or card of congratulations.


 

blarg314

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Re: Graduation Announcements Vs. Invitations
« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2014, 01:47:48 AM »
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. 

That's been my experience too. High School - graduation ceremony with caps and gown followed by a city organized "Dry Grad" extravaganza, prom and post-prom parties, and often a family party too.  Undergrad - ceremony, followed by going out for dinner with classmates and their families. Masters - was on campus the day of the ceremony, didn't attend. PhD - was out of the country on a postdoc by the time the ceremony came around, didn't bother picking up my diploma until I needed it for visa documentation.


Coley

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Re: Graduation Announcements Vs. Invitations
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2014, 07:54:24 AM »
gellchom, I think it's entirely up to you whether to acknowledge your cousin's graduation with a card or gift. I agree with you -- I don't think they believe people 2,000 miles away are going to attend the brunch. I would send at least a card at a minimum, but I have to admit that we do generally send gifts when we receive invitations or announcements. Here's my experience with graduations:

I remember sending announcements to relatives (aunts and uncles mostly) when I graduated from high school, college, and graduate school. My cousins sent announcements to my parents, too. I've seldom received an invitation to anything from any of my cousins directly -- certainly not graduations.

Some of my aunts and uncles have sent cards or small gifts for my high school and college graduations, but not all of them did. I don't recall receiving many gifts when I finished grad school.

You mentioned notes in graduation cards. What I do remember from my grad school graduation was a very kind note in a card from my uncle (dad's brother). I worked a full-time day job and went to classes four nights per week to earn my master's degree. I finished in two years with a perfect GPA. In his note, my uncle said that he was very proud of me because he knew it was hard to work full time and go to college at the same time, but to finish in two years with a great GPA was a special accomplishment in his eyes. He was the only person who acknowledged that. It meant a lot to me, and it really is the only "gift" I specifically remember from my graduation. I still have his card.

An old friend of mine finished her PhD about five years ago and sent invitations. She and her DH were pretty strapped for cash at the time. I sent flowers, a card, and a gift certificate for a nice restaurant so they could celebrate her graduation.

All three of my stepsons have finished advanced degrees in the past few years. My future DIL just finished hers and graduated last weekend. To my knowledge, none of them sent announcements. Two of my stepsons didn't attend their graduation ceremonies and didn't want any hoopla. One stepson and my future DIL did attend their graduation events (and invited only parents/siblings) because it is generally expected in their professional discipline.

We received an announcement/party invitation for my DIL's sister's graduation (advanced degree). We weren't invited to the graduation itself, but to the party the following day (which was a week ago). We were unable to attend, so sent a monetary gift along with a card. We've already received a very nice thank-you note.

CookieChica

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Re: Graduation Announcements Vs. Invitations
« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2014, 08:39:56 AM »
In my area, high school graduation parties are the norm and college not so much. I think the HS parties are sort of "welcome to adulthood" parties (I know lots of kids who pay for school on their own) as opposed to thinking that finishing high school is a miraculous achievement. I think of mine in particular - as the oldest, leaving my parents' full time meant that I would no longer be as available for some extended family traditions and it was a "last hurrah" in the current family format.

That doesn't help OP other than I view HS graduations as adulthood showers and like to give money for tuition or dorm stuff or a meal after the cafeteria is closed or whatever.

MurPl1

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Re: Graduation Announcements Vs. Invitations
« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2014, 09:27:58 AM »
Gellchom, I would tend to take that as we realize you probably can't come but if you did we'd love to have you here.  More of a your important to them and not just in the stack that goes to coworkers and people from church as a heads up.

Thipu1

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Re: Graduation Announcements Vs. Invitations
« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2014, 11:05:43 AM »
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.

I agree.

Unless the class is very small only a few invitations are available to each Graduate.  Sometimes, even siblings have to be eliminated. 

Announcements are perfectly fine if they are sent to the people who are genuinely interested in the
Graduate and are in regular contact with the family. 

Also, many Commencements are shown live on the Internet.  Relatives who can't attend can still be part of the event if they wish. 


Wintergreen

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Re: Graduation Announcements Vs. Invitations
« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2014, 04:13:15 AM »
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.

May I as where you are from (out of curiosity :).

Around here (northern europe) graduation from high school (or the equivalent) is big thing. For the ceremony, usually only close family is there (parents, siblings, maybe grandparents, usually the seats are limited). But after that most commonly there is a cake&coffee served, most often at the graduate's home, which is basically free for anyone to drop by and congratulate the graduate, no invitations needed by etiquette. Though often invitations are send especially to relatives living far away to give the details and those who are especially hoped to be there. But neighbors and parents' colleagues may just drop by.

As for Gellchom's post, I tend to agree with few others and take it "I know you probably can't come but we invite so you don't feel left out". They might have not been comfortable inviting some of the uncles and aunts but not the others. Nice card might be in order, but I would consider sending a small gift if you like the cousin and think the occasion is worth commemorating. Personally, I do think graduations are nice moments to give, as they are celebrations so clearly for an achievement. Wedding gifts are traditional (and wedding is a nice moment to give too!) but getting married is really not an achievement as such, as something  you work day and night to reach. 

katycoo

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Re: Graduation Announcements Vs. Invitations
« Reply #24 on: May 26, 2014, 08:37:50 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.

May I as where you are from (out of curiosity :).

Around here (northern europe) graduation from high school (or the equivalent) is big thing. For the ceremony, usually only close family is there (parents, siblings, maybe grandparents, usually the seats are limited). But after that most commonly there is a cake&coffee served, most often at the graduate's home, which is basically free for anyone to drop by and congratulate the graduate, no invitations needed by etiquette. Though often invitations are send especially to relatives living far away to give the details and those who are especially hoped to be there. But neighbors and parents' colleagues may just drop by.

Australia.  I'm also surprised that this is a gift giving occasion for some people.

Highschool: We had a ceremony at school during school hours.  My parents attended.  No follow up celebration.  Maybe a party at a students house, for students only?

Uni: Evening graduation ceremony followed by a cocktail party hosted by the uni.  Parents and husband attended- capped at 3 guests.

Supreme Court Admission: Daytime weekday admission ceremony.  Parents and husband attended - capped at 3 guests.  Went to lunch after along with the friend who moved my admission.

I got a congratulations card from my ILs for either my uni/admission.  My sister probably phoned me. 

It never occurred to me that anyone else would care.

MurPl1

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Re: Graduation Announcements Vs. Invitations
« Reply #25 on: May 26, 2014, 08:58:52 PM »
It's interesting reading the differences between countries.  I'm Texas, US and I just picked up 4 graduation cards for upcoming HS graduations.  1 in response to a distant relative's announcement (I haven't seen in 17 years and totally thinking gift grab), and three for kids I haven't gotten announcements for yet.  And honestly, not sure I will.  They're neighborhood kids I met when we all moved in and they were in 5th.  It's been fun watching them move from elementary to HS and seeing them grow into themselves. For me, it's more of an acknowledgment that they've made it to this fun world of adulthood :)

kareng57

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Re: Graduation Announcements Vs. Invitations
« Reply #26 on: May 26, 2014, 10:55:03 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.

May I as where you are from (out of curiosity :).

Around here (northern europe) graduation from high school (or the equivalent) is big thing. For the ceremony, usually only close family is there (parents, siblings, maybe grandparents, usually the seats are limited). But after that most commonly there is a cake&coffee served, most often at the graduate's home, which is basically free for anyone to drop by and congratulate the graduate, no invitations needed by etiquette. Though often invitations are send especially to relatives living far away to give the details and those who are especially hoped to be there. But neighbors and parents' colleagues may just drop by.

Australia.  I'm also surprised that this is a gift giving occasion for some people.

Highschool: We had a ceremony at school during school hours.  My parents attended.  No follow up celebration.  Maybe a party at a students house, for students only?

Uni: Evening graduation ceremony followed by a cocktail party hosted by the uni.  Parents and husband attended- capped at 3 guests.

Supreme Court Admission: Daytime weekday admission ceremony.  Parents and husband attended - capped at 3 guests.  Went to lunch after along with the friend who moved my admission.

I got a congratulations card from my ILs for either my uni/admission.  My sister probably phoned me. 

It never occurred to me that anyone else would care.


I'm in Canada, and secondary-school graduation here too is very low-key compared to the US.  Of course there's a ceremony, but generally it will only be attended by parents, or perhaps very close relative such as grandparents - if there's room. Generally only parents or again, sometimes very close relatives, will give gifts. And while parents might hold a party for their child and his/her friends, there usually will not be a party that includes neighbours, parents' friends etc.  Overall, graduation here is considered to be an expectation (although some kids need a modified program) rather than a significant achievement. 

I'm not saying that it would be "rude" for anyone to send HS graduation announcements here, but it would be raised-eyebrow territory.

It's very interesting to see the regional differences, for sure.

gellchom

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Re: Graduation Announcements Vs. Invitations
« Reply #27 on: May 27, 2014, 01:11:25 AM »
It's pretty much the same here.  Often there are HS graduation parties, usually extremely casual open house style, often more than one family sharing a party -- after all, there are only so many evenings.  People just sort of make the rounds, often more than in one evening.  All the kids just go to all of them!

College and beyond, I rarely see a party.  Just a nice dinner out or something.  (Maybe included in a multi-occasion party, as we did, come to think of it, when our son graduated college the same time as our daughter graduated high school.  But it was really her party; she made all the plans and invited all her friends; he invited one or two of his who happened to be in town.  It just seemed a little strange not to include him, if only pro forma, when he was also graduating.) 

It seems sort of funny, as we think of university degrees as the greater achievement.  Maybe it is because, as someone above said, HS graduation is sort of the launching into adulthood.  I think also it is because the families know so many of the other kids in the class, too, many since babyhood.  It's almost a community celebration.  Later graduations aren't like that.

We never sent announcements for any graduations; maybe they aren't common here.  The branch of the family that sent this college graduation brunch invitation sometimes sends HS grad announcements, but this is the first announcement or invitation to a college graduation party we've gotten.  It did seem kind of funny to us -- I mean, a brunch to celebrate a college graduation doesn't seem like the kind of thing most people would typically fly thousands of miles for -- but we don't care; we are fond of these cousins. 

My own reaction, though, tells me that I wouldn't send them out if I were in their position.  I'd send invitations to the brunch only to locals.  Any out of town people close enough that they would fly in for a graduation, I'd include in the party, of course, but I wouldn't mention it until I knew they were coming in for the graduation.

And I'm still going to make my husband decide if he wants to send anything!  (Let him handle the social obligations for once  :))

TootsNYC

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Re: Graduation Announcements Vs. Invitations
« Reply #28 on: May 27, 2014, 07:37:20 AM »
Quote
It seems sort of funny, as we think of university degrees as the greater achievement.  Maybe it is because, as someone above said, HS graduation is sort of the launching into adulthood.  I think also it is because the families know so many of the other kids in the class, too, many since babyhood.  It's almost a community celebration.  Later graduations aren't like that.

I also think that the lack of college graduation celebrations is linked to the idea that in the U.S., it's not really cool to host a party at which you yourself are the guest of honor (e.g., birthday parties).
   Your parents can host your birthday party or your graduation party or your wedding. (In the old days, brides & grooms didn't host their own weddings much.)

But by the time you graduate from college, you're a grownup. And while other people could still host the party to honor you, it's not as comfortable a thing.

So I think that's in the mix as well.

Were I your husband, I'd send a nice note and leave it at that.

It may have been a gift grab, but it may also be that they were going to send out announcements, decided to have a brunch, and made a single invite for all purposes.

Carotte

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Re: Graduation Announcements Vs. Invitations
« Reply #29 on: May 27, 2014, 07:54:43 AM »
Funny, I never heard anyone do anything special for highschool graduation here (in France).
Something like a week or two after the last test (think SAT like) you just go get your result and diploma at your school or a nearby one. It's open throughout the day, they printed the list with every ones name and pass/fail, you find your name then go to the right table to retrieve all the papers (diploma, grades,..) - if they don't have everything your school might ask you to come pick it up at a later date.
You'll see people crying because they passed, crying because they didn't, happy, calling their parents...

After that families might open the champagne, whole classes/grade might have a last party, groups of friends might go to a bar...