Graduation Invitation Etiquette

Audience: Who To Invite To Graduation Ceremony

Although you will likely be sending invitations and announcements to a wide range of acquaintances, it’s important to keep your general audience in mind as you write. Here are some things to consider:

Consider Your Relationship

Many of the invitees will likely be members of you immediate or extended family, while others will not.

  • For invitations being sent to family members, or even close friends, consider including a separate, personal newsletter-style note detailing what the graduate has been up to, and what his or her plans are for the future. This note can either be placed directly in the envelope with the graduation invite, or sent separately. Including a short newsletter will allow you to make the invitations more personal for specific recipients, without needing to change the wording or the design of the invitation itself.

Consider The Personal Family Situation

In all likelihood, your invitees will have a wide range of family and living situations. Make sure that your wording is respectful, and non-dismissive.

  • Instead of tailoring your invitations only towards the classically defined family (husband, wife, kids), make it more open, and less specific.

Consider Your Choice Of Language

Take into account creating graduation invitations in multiple languages for guests who speak English as a second language.

What’s The Normal Invitation Length?

Graduation invitations should be brief and informative. Generally, this means a few lines of information, often presented as individual points (name of graduate, date of graduation/party, location, etc.). You’ll want the invitation to be easy to read and unique to you.

Ceremony Invitation Or Party Invite

The invitation itself is really a means to an end—getting your guests to attend the graduation event. In order to be able to do this, the event needs to be clearly referenced. Be specific in naming the event; don’t just say that you are celebrating a graduation. Is the invitation to the actual commencement ceremony, a family party, a semi-formal dinner at a local restaurant, or to something else entirely? Briefly explain what the event will entail, and include a telephone number where guests can reach you should they have any questions.

Graduation Invitation Wording Guide And Examples

There’s more to creating the perfect graduation invitation than merely printing the date on a card and dropping it in the mail. Using proper etiquette, choosing the right tone, and being brief are all factors that should be considered. If forgotten, your invitation may not be as effective as you’d hoped.

We’ve created this easy graduation invitation wording guide to help navigate you through the steps to creating the perfect graduation invitation. Take a few moments, and learn how to design an invite that will guarantee your grad party a celebration to remember.

Graduation Invitation Wording: What To Include?

Graduation invitations are used to request someone’s presence at either a commencement ceremony or the festivities that follow. Many graduation venues limit the number of guests a graduate can invite so throwing a graduation party is the perfect opportunity to celebrate with all of your loved ones. It’s important to present clear language and proper wording on your graduation invitations so your guests know what is being asked of them.

Whether you are creating your high school graduation party invitations or your college graduation party invitations, there are a few logistics that should be included no matter what style or type of celebration. Be sure to include the following information on your party invites.

  1. Full name
  2. Name of high school/college/university
  3. Degree and honors, if applicable
  4. Graduation year
  5. Time, date, location of ceremony or grad party
  6. RSVP date and instructions
  7. No gifts clarification, if applicable

Graduation Invitation Wording Style

The language you choose to include in your graduation invites will ultimately set the tone for the entire event. You’ll want to be sure to take a few moments to decide on what it should be. Consider the formality of the graduation party, whether or not you’ve selected a theme for the event, the degree of graduation and your own personal style.

Will your get-together be a casual affair, such as a BBQ party or a backyard get-together featuring summer party ideas? Will it be a formal dinner party? Is this your high school graduation, college graduation or have you earned your graduate degree?

Make a decision about what kind of graduation event you will be hosting, and then tailor the voice and tone of the invitation to match. For example, if you are hosting a BBQ party you’ll want the wording you select to be more laid back and casual. On the other hand, if you are planning a catered dinner party then you’ll want to be sure you’re using formal dinner invitation wording and proper etiquette.

High School Graduation Invitation Wording

Most high school graduation celebrations are informal, with guests arriving at non-specific times, in whatever comfortable attire they prefer. As such, the wording on your graduation invites will likely be informal as well. Use some of your high school graduation party ideas to inspire your invitation. Here are some high school graduation invitation wording ideas and tips to help get you started:

Be Conversational

Keep the focus on the excitement of the celebration, by using casual wording in your invitations. How is this accomplished? Simple, just ask yourself how you would invite someone if you were speaking with them face-to-face.

  1. Recognize that the graduation invite should be half of a conversation, rather than a formal declaration. Be sure to include yourself in the wording as well and avoid using the passive voice instead, rely on the active voice. For example, replace The party is being held at ____ with We’re having the party at ____.
  2. Keep the wording simple and brief by cutting longer sentences in half. Don’t be afraid to start your sentences with conjunctions such as and, but, because, etc., or to use contractions such as we’re, she’s, you’ll, etc.
  3. Above all, be sure that while you’re limiting your formality, you’re retaining clarity—you want your guests to be able to actually understand what your invitation is trying to say.

Be Brief

First and foremost, your invitation is designed to share pertinent information. So, keep it simple and share the most important details first.

  1. A quick introductory sentence, such as “Celebrate with us,” followed by the party logistics including the event, date, time, location, RSVP contact number, etc should do the trick.
  2. Consider including future plans.
  3. Close with a friendly farewell.

Be Visual

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so why not let your images do the talking? Using a photo graduation invitation can elevate your invite and warm the hearts of recipients who are proud of your journey:

  • When it comes to visuals, you can use senior pictures, images of the grad through different stages of his or her life, or photographs of the grad with friends or family, etc.

If the graduate can’t choose just one photo, try a collage invitation where you can display more than one photo from the graduate’s beautiful senior shoot. This way, the graduate can incorporate a variety of photo selects such as a photo of their grad cap style if they’ve added any special design to the top.  

College Graduation Invitation Wording

Because college graduation is often seen as the first step into true adulthood, college graduation invitations are generally more formal than high school graduation invites. Use your college graduation party ideas as inspiration for your invite wording. Here are some college graduation invitation wording ideas and tips to help get you started.

Be Specific About Accomplishments

College graduation is the culmination of a number of other accomplishments including extra-curriculars, athletics, academic achievements and other items that are worth noting.

  • Let recipients know what those accomplishments are, by briefly mentioning them in the invitation.

Be Ceremonial

Use formal college graduation invitation wording and proper etiquette in your graduation invitations.

  1. Use formal titles, the graduate’s and hosts’ full names.
  2. Avoid contractions.
  3. Spell out common abbreviations and all numbers.

Consider The Theme

If your invitation is to a graduation party that has a specific theme, then the wording you select should reflect that.

  • If, for example, the party has a Luau theme, then use the Shutterfly graduation invite personalization options to select a bright color scheme, as well as an appropriate font (such as ‘Zalderdash’ or ‘Felt Tip Roman’).

Additional College Graduation Announcement Wording Tips

Don’t be afraid to add some fun to your invitations, your recipients will surely appreciate it. Use appropriate graduation quotes to reflect the theme of your celebrations. Reference our guide for graduation bible verses to celebrate your faith as you honor this academic achievement. You can also create your own special graduation messages and wishes for your guests.

Remember: the most important job of the invitation wording is to invite the intended recipient in a way that is clear and accessible. So, make sure that your choice of wording doesn’t detract from that.

Sample Graduation Invitation Templates

Of course, your graduation invitation wording is going to be unique to your own circumstances, but if you follow our guidelines, you’ll be able to create something that retains that uniqueness, while also providing a clear and engaging call-to-action for you invitees. Here are a couple of examples of what your graduation invitation might say:

Graduation Invitations Wording Examples

These sample graduation invitations are perfect fill-in-the-blanks for you to make use of for your own grad announcements. Just pick your favorite from below:

Example 1:

Mr. and Mrs (name of parents)

Are pleased to announce

The graduation of their son/daughter

(name of graduate)


(name of school)

Please join us to celebrate this success




Dinner will be served

Please RSVP by (date)

(Host contact information)

Example: 2

The days and years have flown right by

And now it’s time to learn to fly

And prepare at last to face the world

To soar to the future, with wings unfurled

(Names of hosts)

joyfully invite you to a

Graduation Party

in honor of their little bird

(name of graduate)



Example 3:

Let’s get together

& toast the grad

After four years,

we’re more than glad!


(name of graduate)

& the class of (year)

on (date)

at (time ) in the evening


Proud Parents:

(Name of Hosts)

(Hosts contact information)

Example 4:

Mr. and Mrs. (name of parents)

Are proud to announce

The Graduation of their daughter

(name of graduate)

Class of (year)

(name of school)

Please share in their happiness

at Commencement Exercises

on (date)

at (time) o’clock in the morning


Arrive early due to limited parking

Reception to follow at (location)

How To Address Graduation Invitations

Sending graduation invitations is a formal occasion for many. It’s not everyday that you take a trip to the post office and drop your greetings through the mail. In fact, you may not even remember the last time you addressed an envelope. Whether you are graduating from high school or college, this is one of those major life accomplishments that deserves formal attention and proper etiquette. Getting your graduation invites addressed is one of the first steps in the right direction towards inviting your loved ones to help you celebrate this special day. Between creating the perfect graduation invitation wording, searching for extended family addresses’, and figuring out the right postage– there’s a lot to do. So if you find yourself asking how to address your graduation invitations, we’re here to help. Check out our step-by-step guidance below.

How To Address Graduation Announcements And Invitations

Ensure that your good news gets to where it’s going and learn how to properly address your graduation invites with these easy steps:

  1. Print the recipient’s address on the front of the envelope. You’ve worked hard to create a select guest list for your graduation celebrations so when addressing your envelopes, this information goes front and center.
  2. Hand write your recipient’s address, or have them printed.Write them front and center, legibly onto the envelope in three lines including: their full name on the first line, their street address on the second and finally city, state and zip code on the third line. Due to the formality of the celebrations avoid using abbreviations and spell words out completely.
  3. Print or stamp the return address. This goes in the upper left-hand corner or back flap of the envelope. Include the address of the person sending the invitation, usually yourself, so that it can be used by recipients as a way to respond if need be. Include your full name on the first line (optional), your street address on the second and the city, state and zip code in the return address. The same rules apply for inscribing your return address as did with your recipient’s address.
  4. Add a postage stamp. This goes in the upper right-hand corner of the envelope. This will pay for the delivery of your party invite.

Tips For Addressing Graduation Invitations

With technology making it easier than ever to stay in touch, it may seem like a reasonable idea to invite your friends and family through a quick text message, email or even social media. Although efficient, your graduation is one milestone that deserves to be treated the old fashioned way (signed, sealed, and delivered). Keep these addressing tips and tricks in mind prior to sending your invites.

  1. Consider creating custom return address labels or custom postage stamps for your graduation correspondence. They will help you elevate your invitations, save you time and add a little style to your envelopes.
  2. Use blue or black ink and write your addresses. Addressing your envelope so that it’s legible will make your correspondence stand out in a bold way. Not to mention, it’ll be easier for the post office to get your invitation to its destination.
  3. Double check that you have the right amount of postage. Square shaped envelopes and heavier letters cost more for delivery.

How To Address Graduation Invitations To A Family

Your party invites will not only inform your loved ones of the celebration, but will also serve as a special keepsake for you, the soon-to-be alumni, years down the road. With these easy steps you’ll have your graduation invites in the mailbox and on their way to spread the good news.

When it comes to graduation invitations, more often than not, your loved ones will want to send you graduation wishes, messages and graduation gifts after receiving your invitation. In that regard, it’s important to include your return address so they know where to send their replies and goodies.

You know best how your family wants to be addressed. Make sure you use the correct forms of “Mrs.” “Mr.” and “Ms.” on the envelopes.