If you have a May graduation and haven't started inviting people, do it now! You'd be surprised how long it takes to write out invitations. It took me 2 hours to write a handful of notes to family and friends yesterday, not to mention the time spent writing more invitations before that, and I'm not even completely done yet because I have to call people up to ask for addresses.
It took me a while to decide how to invite people this year. I never cared for buying the graduation excess peddled to us time after time, but this time I thought about going out with a bang. Nothing extravagant, but perhaps something nicer than before. At first, I toyed around with the idea of announcements. I've never really liked them, since they're expensive and comes across as somewhat cheapy. Sure, there's a nice foil seal of the school's logo, but I can't get past the fact that it's really just a sheet of paper folded in quarters, and you have to do the folding yourself. Good thing by the time I contemplated buying them, it was a bit late--the estimated shipping time was 11-15 business days, and I needed them like right now. Besides, who knows how expensive the shipping by UPS was going to be. I had a feeling that it was going to cost me another arm or leg.
Since I've been very attracted to the beautiful stationery on Etsy, I thought about doing a custom order. The cards are slightly more expensive than the announcements per unit, but the cardstock and personalization is much better in quality. Besides, I get to do it my way, and I didn't need that many announcements. However, I didn't know how long a custom order would take, and I needed my cards pronto. So, I contacted one of my favorite paper goods sellers, Courtney from Just Another Day. All it took was a span of 2 days to hash out exactly what I wanted, then I got my cards in the mail 2 days later (and I didn't have to lose another arm or leg to shipping). I was so stoked when I got them:
I got a few Thank You cards to go along with them--it was so sweet.
On the inside, I wrote something like this: "Dear so and so, you're hereby invited to my 'release party,' known by some as graduation. It's on..." and all the other details.
There are other nice and inexpensive (or even free) alternatives as well. You can send out invites written on regular nice note cards and letter papers--stationery that you can use all year round since it isn't graduation-themed. By now, I'm extremely busy and frazzled, and there are still more people to invite. I'm probably going to invite people by Evite or email; one of my friends has already done a mass email invite for his graduation. It's quick, easy, and free!
Now that I've covered the methods of invitation, another thing to consider is what to pack in it. Date, place, and time are requisites, but I've also made printouts of directions and other information about the ceremony so that people will know what to expect. I can't believe all that packed into a small envelop--wasn't easy, but I made it work. It's best to cover all your bases now so that you won't have a bunch of relatives calling you when you're already stressed out from studying.