If your son or daughter is bringing home graduation party invitations you may be wondering if you’re invited to these parties too, especially if the invitations didn’t come through the mail addressed to you. What is the etiquette for these situations? You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by not going to their party but you also don’t want to show up to a party if the invitation wasn’t meant for you.
First look at the invitation to see what kind of party it is. For open house type parties go to the parties for the students you know personally and avoid the parties for the grads you don’t know. If it’s an open house then chances are many people have been invited and even if you weren’t specifically invited it’s probably okay for you to go. If it’s a sit down dinner (most aren’t) and an RSVP is required then if the invitation wasn’t addressed to you then you weren’t invited.
Another question is whether your other kids are invited. If you’re not sure if you should bring your younger children it might be best to hire a sitter. If you know the family has kids the same age it’s probably okay to bring yours. But when in doubt you can always call and ask.
To avoid awkward situations like this for your own party, mail invitations to the parents you want to invite and make sure you address the envelope so the parents know they are invited. For example, if you want to invite the whole family address the envelope as “The Smith Family”. If you want to invite the parents plus their graduate but no other kids then address the envelope as ”John, Jane and Ashley Smith”.
Don’t rely on your grad to pass out invitations to the parents of his or her friends. It’s best to mail them. There are many stories of invitations never making it to the parents. Feelings get hurt on both sides.
When invitations from other grads start coming in, set up a basket or special area to collect all your invitations. Encourage your grad to include the ones he or she receives. Make sure you note which parties you’re invited to and which ones are for your graduate only.
Get a special calendar and record all the parties you hope to attend. Include the times in case parties overlap. If there was ever a time to practice good scheduling habits this is it. Help your graduate keep track of all of their activities during this busy time.
Many kids are now using Facebook and other social networking websites to invite friends and classmates to their parties. Encourage your grad to note these parties, or at least the ones they want to attend, on the calendar.
If you’re invited to parties on the same day as your own, chances are you won’t make it. If an RSVP is requested call right away, explain the situation, compare notes and offer your congratulations. Keep in mind that you can go to other parties on other days.
And last but not least … have fun! Try not to stress too much about the parties you can or can’t go to. This should be an exciting and fun time for you and your grad.