17Apr2015

Spring Graduation Party Planning Tips

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If you are in charge of planning your school or university’s graduation ceremony, you might feel as though you have a lot to do in the next couple of months. Depending on when your school releases for summer vacation, your graduation might be in mid-May or early June. If this is the case, right now is the time to make sure that all of your ducks are in a row and that your ceremony is completely planned, and if not completely planned, that the wheels are in motion to make sure you will have everything prepared for the graduates when the big day comes.

Here are some graduation party planning tips to help you plan the perfect graduation party.

First Things First

The very first thing you want to do during graduation party planning is make sure that you know your budget. Most schools will allocate a budget for the planning of graduation, so before you buy anything or even pick your venue, you want to know how much money you have to spend. Taking care of this item of business first will ensure that your plans do not exceed what the school can afford to do.

Another item of business that should be taken care of very early in the planning process is deciding on a dress code. While most outfits will be covered by gowns, decide whether or not the boys should be wearing ties and the girls should be wearing dresses. Also, let the families know what sort of dress is expected for the entire ceremony, so they, too can dress appropriately.

This is also the time to decide on a rough program. Do you know how many people you want to speak? What kind of acts or entertainment you might want to have during the ceremony? Most schools have a teacher speak, often one who is chosen by the students. Many universities will pick a professor from the department (if your university has separate colleges) to speak, as well. Someone from the administration, whether the school’s principal, vice principal, president, vice president could also speak.

A student should also be selected to speak at the event, whether the valedictorian, salutatorian, cum laude, or just an exemplary student. Some schools will even run a contest, to which students can submit speeches or speech ideas for the administration or the student body to choose from. Depending on the school or university’s policies, it might be appropriate to have a creative reading, one of the school’s choirs perform, or some other kind of entertainment.

Caps and Gowns

Getting the caps and gowns in as early as possible should be one of the first things on your list. There are lots of companies that provides caps and gowns, so look for one that offers bulk orders in the specific color you are looking for. My high school wanted a very specific shade of green for most of the students and gold robes and caps for students who were graduating with honors.

This is also a good time to decide whether or not students will be given special awards during the ceremony, or if honor students or high-performing students are spotlighted simply by wearing a different color and graduating before the rest of their class.

Invitations

The graduating class probably already knows exactly which day they are going to be walking across the stage and getting their diplomas (though they also probably know that most schools don’t actually hand you your diploma—that will be sent in the mail once all grades have been submitted). The families, relatives, and friends, however, might not yet know the exact date and time of the ceremony. While you might not want to just give invitations away, you might want to have school-issued invitations available for purchase so students have something official to send to their friends and extended family members who might be interested in attending.

Venue

Picking the right venue for a graduation ceremony can be difficult, especially when you consider how many people you need to accommodate. Even if your school has a relatively small graduating class, your main auditorium might not be large enough for all of the students and all of the family members they want to invite. You can remedy this problem by limited the number of invitees per graduate (and letting graduates who have fewer people to invite to the ceremony give their seats to someone who has many more family members they want to invite).

If this is not the best solution for your ceremony, you might consider a less traditional venue. For example, if your high school or university has a large football stadium that would accommodate parents, teachers, extended family, and friends, you can easily make this green space into a great graduation venue by ordering a rental tent. Getting one or more rental tents means that you can use outdoor space and even if the weather is very sunny or a little drizzly, you will still be able to have your ceremony outdoors.

Other Details

Details like who will be reading the graduates’ names, who will be making the closing remarks, and who will be in charge of the processional and recessional music are often overlooked. For example, some universities or high schools will have their band or orchestra in charge of playing the processional or recessional music. Sometimes the last student to cross the stage will give the closing remarks and initiate the “tassel moving” and “cap throwing” portions of the evening. Making sure you have these details covered can ensure a smooth graduation ceremony.

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