08 Jun

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

We received a graduation announcement from my husband’s cousin’s son (did you follow that?) several months ago. We may have missed the event because it is buried in the disaster I call my office. Anyway, what’s the etiquette here? I bought a card (also buried under aforementioned crapola) but do I need to send a gift? Money? We never hear from this branch of kinfolk except Christmas cards. I don’t even know if it is a high school or college graduation! I would totally blow it off except I have befriended all of them now, including the graduate, on Facebook and they know I haven’t left the country. What should I do?


Perplexed by Protocol


Dear Perplexed,

See, this is why I always tell people to marry into a completely trashy family where nobody graduates from anything.   Sure, you may be called upon to post bail for your second cousin twice removed’s common-law wife once in a while, but that’s only after she gets busted for selling meth at the prison rodeo. The rest of the year’s gravy.

But since you “followed your heart” and married a man whose relatives actually achieve things, let’s talk about your dilemma. Now personally, I’ve always been of the school that you only send graduation and wedding invitations and announcements to people who you actually know, or people your parents have talked to in the last decade. Otherwise the random greeting after years of silence always smacks of money grubbing to me. The “let’s send out 200 of these babies and see what sticks” approach, if you will.

(Although, let’s see what I think of this in 10 years when my oldest son graduates from high school and I start blanketing the tri-state area with his announcements so we can rake in enough money to afford his first year at Harvard.) (Oh, yeah. He’s getting in.)

Now, my advice would be to just send a card, but since you’re sort of friends with them on Facebook, you can add in $10 if it makes you feel better. But don’t take my word for it—here’s what EmilyPost.com has to say:

“If there is an actual invitation to the graduation ceremony, then I would consider this an invitation. Simply call whoever issued the invitation and RSVP whether it was requested or not. You may want to send a small gift or at least a congratulatory card to acknowledge the occasion since you were invited to the commencement.

By comparison, a graduation announcement would be sent after the ceremony is official, and would not obligate you to send a gift — it is simply a great way to share a huge accomplishment and wonderful news. In that case you may choose to send a gift, a card, and still or do nothing at all, but no recipient is required to send a gift.”

Hope that clears it up, Perplexed. And remember, next time—try to marry a guy whose relatives only graduate from head dishwasher to chief fry cook. You’ll thank me later.


Wendi, TMH

8 Responses to “Congradulations?”


Comment by Peggy Sue Brister.

If it happened several months ago I would just blow it off.


Comment by Cheryl.

Wendi, you may always be the MH on whatever day this was written but I’m not bound by traditions like calendars. I can always tell you’re responding to the question from the opening line. Freaky weird isn’t it?

And Perplexed, fork over the .44 and send the card. You don’t need it anymore so you might as well get rid of it. Who needs more clutter?


Comment by Desperate Dietwives.

Why don’t you write him a congrats message on FB?

GrandeMocha Reply:

And send hime sonething nice in FarmVille.

Marinka Reply:



Comment by dusty earth mother.

I married into a seriously un-trashy family where graduations of all sorts, even kindergarten ones, are celebrated with marching bands. I have officially given up trying to look like a polite and thoughtful person and now send cards willy-nilly and whenever I remember. So send the card, money-free, and be done with it.


Comment by MarathonMom.

That happens in DH family all the time but they also come with a baby shower invite in the same envelope. Real perplexion there.


Comment by mom, again.

if you do send the card and include cash or a gift, be sure to take note of it. So you can be totally pissed in x years when your darling child graduates and neither your husband’s cousin or his kid can be bothered to make a gift.

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