I graduated 4 years ago and was President of the class, so I had a hand in the planning of the ceremony.
Each year is a little different, according to the size of the class, but many things are the same either d/t school policy or tradition.
We wore all white uniforms. (Tradition) Most wore pants. It was by choice if you got "capped" at the time you were pinned. The person who pinned you was your choice. Some had family members, friends, and some chose an instructor. I had my husband pin me, of course!!! A faculty member "capped" you, since the idea is that it is a nurse to nurse symbol. I had the Dean of Nursing cap me, as I felt it was a nice symbol and had lots of tradition in it. As we were a small class (23), we each were allowed to make a small statement of thanks after we were pinned IF we wanted to do it. About half of us did. It turned into a wonderful, crying, blubbery, emotional experience!!!:chuckle
As President, I gave a speech (tradition) as well as the Valedictorian of the class. (I was recovering from bronchitis and feared that my voice wouldn't hold out! But it went well.)
The Dean presented each of us a class flower (Ours was a white rose) as we were pinned. The year I graduated, a favorite teacher was retiring, and most of us, if not all, presented her with our flower as we walked off the stage.
Then we held a party with cake & food that we had raised the money for thru the year. By tradition, the 1st year students act as ushers and servers at the ceremony. They also donate money from their fundraisers to the class as a "gift". The amount is up to the class. Also by tradition, the grads donate a gift to the school or to the class below us. We gave $100 to the Nursing Lab to purchase new supplies for practice lab.
Our pins cost between $35 -$150 depending on the metal. I did not buy all gold because at the time the money was tight (Daughter was getting married a week later) But I wish I had. Maybe I will get a new one next year for myself as an "anniversary" gift!
The college has a separate graduation ceremony where we graduate with other members of the college and wear caps & gowns and get our diploma.
We also chose a Class Song - As we graduated in 1999, lots of us wanted Prince's song "Party like It's 1999", but we felt we should be a little more conservative and chose "I Believe I Can Fly".
Some classes have even had slide shows that had picture students had taken thro the years. I think it can be a cute idea, but often is boring to observers as you don't know who all the people are. I'd say a person should be act as commentator if you do that.
GOOD LUCK & CONGRATS TO ALL GRADUATES!!!! PARTY HEARTY!!!