The Complete Graduation Invitation Wording Guide

The cheat sheet you need to get those graduation party invitations out the door in record time. 

Mother and daughter hugging at graduation
Photo: Lorraine Boogich/Getty Images

Your child's graduation is a big deal. And whether they’re excited to start middle school, eager to be freshmen in college or ready to enter the real world, it’s time to celebrate. Let your friends and family know about the upcoming day with the perfect graduation invitation.

To choose a theme, consider the honoree’s personality. Is your graduate a jokester? A fan of all things sophisticated? Once you've landed on an overall style, think about the details. Are you inviting everyone to the ceremony or just looking to party? Whatever your preference, be sure to include the appropriate information to share with your loved ones.

And because each life stage warrants a different type of announcement, each invite will have a different type of message. Real Simple has compiled a few wording suggestions for your kid’s graduation invitation. Check out the following ideas to inform everyone of the graduation of your 6th grader, biology major, hired real estate developer, and everything in between.

Elementary School Graduation

As your child embarks on middle or high school, it’s important to celebrate their promotion.

  • Be playful. Fun exclamations like “Hooray!” and “It’s time to party!” are appropriate ways to invite your guests to the ceremony or after-party. “Guess who’s off to middle school?” or “Where did the time go?” are other great taglines to start the message about celebrating your little one’s big day.
  • Include the details. Guests will look to your invitation to provide information about where and when the party is happening.

High School Graduation

After four years of high school—and about 18 years of living at home—your child is most likely moving out and growing up at this stage.

  • Highlight the grad's next step. Many college-bound grads are excited to share their next move, so let your guests know “Michael will be attending Columbia University in the fall” or “Kayla is going to be a Wildcat at Northwestern University!” For a subtler take, create an invitation in their future school's colors. If the guest of honor is heading into the work force, share those plans in a similar way.
  • Keep it simple. Though highlighting future plans is a fun direction to take, keep the details (like what they'll be studying) off of the invitation. Focus on logistics, like time and place, saving the more conversational elements for the party.

College Graduation

A college degree is certainly a happy occasion to celebrate, so let your invitation reflect that.

  • Get creative. Depending on your grad’s experience and sense of humor, you can have fun with the invitation by including sayings like “She did it!” or “The tassel was worth the hassle.” Lyrics from graduation-related songs or quotes could also help express your grad’s feelings about post-graduate life.
  • Tout accomplishments or future plans. Similar to the high school invite, people love to hear where and what your child is doing next. You might also want to include the degree they are receiving, so add their discipline as “Bachelor of Arts in Art History” or “Bachelor of Science in Biology.” And if you’re the proud parent of an honor roll student, be sure to include their distinction, as well (Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, or Summa Cum Laude).
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