How to Send Graduation Announcements

The Proper Way to Address and Assemble Formal Graduation Announcements

Graduate with her family
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Graduating from high school is a major milestone in your teen's life. It's important to celebrate your teen's graduation because it marks the transition between childhood and adulthood. 

Whether your teen is going to college, joining the military, or entering the workforce, celebrate your teen's graduation in one way or another. 

In addition to throwing a party or hosting an open house, it can be a good idea to send out formal graduation announcements.


Graduation announcements aren't party invitations. Instead, they are simply announcements that let people know your teen has graduated from high school.

Who Should Receive a Graduation Announcement?

Graduation brings up etiquette issues for many families. They wonder who to invite to the ceremony or who to invite to a party. Fortunately, a graduation announcement is a socially acceptable way to inform people of the graduation, even if they aren't necessarily invited to the commencement. 

Most high schools and colleges limit the number of visitors a student may invite to the commencement ceremony because of space constraints. 

But, even if they aren't invited to the ceremony, some friends and family members will want to know your teen is graduating. Send graduation announcements to individuals who have influenced your child over the years, like a former babysitter or a childhood Sunday School teacher.


You can also send announcements to friends and family who are too far away to attend a graduation party. 

The Outer Envelope

Traditional graduation announcements  usually include several different pieces. Assembling those pieces can be a little confusing. 

The outer envelope (with the gummed flap) is the mailing envelope.

  • It should be hand-addressed using black or blue ink.
  • It should be formal.
  • Do not use abbreviations, except in the title.


Mr. and Mrs. Jones
1554 South Wallace Street
Deer Park, Pennsylvania 12345

The Inner Envelope

The inner envelope (without the gummed flap) holds the announcement, graduation picture, etc. It should be addressed informally.


  • Grandma and Grandpa
  • Rob and Gail
  • Uncle John

How to Assemble the Announcement

  1. Insert the card. If the announcement includes a card holder, insert it there. If not, place the personal card in the fold of the announcement so that your name faces away from the text. Do the same with a photo if you have one.
  2. Insert the announcement. The announcement is then placed in the smaller envelope with the folded edge inserted first and the front facing the envelope flap.
  3. Fasten the flap using a seal. If you do not have a sticker for the seal, do not tuck the flap.
  4. One envelope inside the other. The smaller envelope is placed into the mailing envelope with the flap facing the side that has the mailing address.

Why Is This Important?

To understand the importance of these steps, it may be helpful to picture how the receiver is going to open the envelope...

  1. They will open the mailing envelope's flap and see their (informal) name as they pull out the inner envelope.
  1. When they break the seal and open the next flap, they will be greeted with the face of the announcement card.
  2. When they open the announcement, your personal card (and photo) will be facing them.
  3. Behind your personal items, they will find the details of the graduation. 

The formality of these cards is designed to give the receiver an experience. It is like peeling back the layers of a perfectly designed package until the surprise is revealed. 

When to Send Announcements

It is nice to give guests plenty of notice. If you include an invitation to a party, they will want to add it to their schedules. They may also wish to purchase a gift. Ideally, one month is preferred for any party though this is not absolutely necessary.

  • If it is just being used to announce the accomplishment of graduation, it is still proper to send it up to 14 days after the ceremony.

A Note About Gifts

Gifts should not be expected from everyone who receives the announcement. Be sure to remind your teen to send thank-you notes to those who do send gifts.