Always send a handwritten invitation. Do not use abbreviations. Spell out all days, dates, and locations.
This depends on whether you are sending announcements or actual invitations to the graduation ceremony. If you are sending announcements as a form of celebration, up to 14 days after the actual ceremony takes place is acceptable. If you are sending actual invitations, try to mail them out four weeks before (14 days before is acceptable). Keep in mind how long it will take for the invitations to arrive in the mail when making this decision.
Announcements- It is acceptable to send these to extended family/friends but clearly not class members/teachers. A graduation announcement is a great way to allow everyone to feel included even if they are unable to attend.
Invitations- Immediate family and closest friends, up to the number of guests the graduate is allowed to have at the ceremony.
Send invitations to the amount of people the graduate is allotted to invite. If you are having a party, it is a great idea to invite everyone to attend after graduation. This is a great time to share photos and details of the ceremony. The graduate will have more flexibility with the number of announcements to send out.
The gift ties in with your relationship with the graduate.
If you received an announcement, you are not obligated to give a gift,but certainly may if you choose. An option for this situation would be to send a card or note of congratulations.
Leave the large or expensive gifts for close relatives. It is very common to give cash gifts, an appropriate amount would be $20. This allows you to say congratulations without making anyone feel uncomfortable. Gift cards are another great gift.
Other thoughtful gifts to give are a planner, a personalized item, or a briefcase. The gift should be sincere and appropriate and convey best wishes for the graduate.