I think $250 is ridiculous for a pinning ceremony. We had ours in a small auditorium on campus, and we used money each class had made (we'd do small fundraisers like bake sales throughout the year to make a little cash for stuff like this) to have a little reception afterwards, just cake and coffee. The only thing we had to pay for was our pin, and there were choices for that. We could choose 14 or 24 karat gold, gold plated, etc. There was an economical choice for those who couldn't or didn't want to spend a ton of money on their pin. I bought the 14 karat gold one, and I honestly couldn't even tell you were it is today.
If they won't budge on the $250, I wouldn't go, personally. It was a nice ceremony, but I don't remember it being one of the high points of my education or nursing career.
Now, I'm not very religious, but I have to say that the one thing that really stands out to me from nursing school
, ceremony-wise, was an event that happened before we started our very first clinicals sophomore year. Our families were invited to the school chapel (it was a Catholic university) and we had a "blessing of the hands" ceremony. The priest and our instructors spoke about how special nursing was and how we were going to touch so many lives in our careers. They wanted to bless our hands before we literally touched our first patients, kind of like saying that we were doing God's work. I swear, no matter what religion we were, all of us were very very touched during this ceremony and there were many tears.
I work in a Catholic hospital now. Every year during Nurse's Week, the hospital priest and chaplains come around to all the units on all the shifts and bless the hands of the nurses. I still get very teary eyed every time.