College Graduation Party Etiquette

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During the summer, a multitude of college graduation parties occur. Parents, graduates and guests must adhere to the rules of etiquette. Parents make sure the proper people are invited to the party and that they have the correct information. Guests will make sure they attend the party at a convenient time and buy the graduate a small token, while graduates try to juggle their party with their friends' parties.


Who’s Invited?

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According to, parents and graduates should use caution when sending out graduation announcements and party invites. Some families send college graduation announcements to the entire family, symbolizing the special day, when in essence colleges usually provide each graduate only four to six tickets to view commencement. Concerning the actual graduation party invitations, the graduate can invite more guests, including all those friends and family who have assisted him on his educational journey. Emily Post cautions that parents should know most of the graduate's friends to ensure that the party will not get out of hand.

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Invitation Etiquette

When parents send the graduation party invitations, they must follow certain etiquette. Besides listing the location and address of the party, they must include a print-out map of the location and a contact number in case guests get lost. If the graduation party is an open house, they should state what time dinner will be served. If the party has a theme, they may state if the party includes a specific dress code.



While at high school graduation parties guests shower graduates with gifts to prepare them for college, it is not expected at college graduation parties. According to, if graduates are not entering college or the military service, guests are not required to bring a gift, though small tokens will be appreciated. College graduates will most appreciate money as they build their nest eggs and start their new careers.


Guest Etiquette

When attending a college graduation party, guests must also remember their good manners. They should aim to arrive at the party 15 to 20 minutes after the party begins to avoid the awkwardness of being the first arrival. They should mingle and make conversation with others, and leave no sooner than 45 minutes after cake has been served. They do not want to appear too eager to leave, but they do not want to wear out the hosts by being the last guests there either.


Graduate’s Role

Parents should attempt to plan a graduation party around their child's major or interests, be it a degree in literature or a degree in medicine. According to Party411, parents should also realize that no matter how great a party they have planned, their child may still leave early to go celebrate with some of her friends at another graduation party.



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