Graduations mark the completion of a certain level of education, whether it’s college graduation, high school graduation, or other. Upon graduating, the graduate receives a diploma, degree, or some form of certification showing they’ve completed the educational and/or time requirements. Graduations typically include a commencement ceremony to celebrate students’ achievements at the institution as well as graduation celebrations with friends and family.

Typical Graduation Celebration Timeline

Students in high school and college will typically know several months in advance when they’ll be graduating. Through their education institution, they can receive their graduation date, information about the degree or diploma awarded, and can rent a graduation cap and gown. Since the ceremonial cap and gown is sent out in advance of the graduation ceremony, students can also  take graduation photos to share with friends and family.

Graduation Photos

Some graduation photo ideas include posing in the cap and gown at the school’s football stadium or other well-known areas like the gymnasium. If a student was involved in extracurriculars like sports or school organizations, they can also take photos at their practice fields or club offices to commemorate their time there. Other graduation picture ideas including posing with family and any friends who will also be graduating at the same time.

Graduation Announcements

Leading up to your graduation ceremony, you should have plenty of time to send graduation announcement cards to friends and family. A graduation announcement can let your loved ones know that you’re graduating, especially if they live far away. Inside the announcement card, you can include your degree, age, and any future plans you might have for after graduation. If you’ve had the chance to take graduation photos, you can include the photos in your graduation announcements as well.

Graduation Ceremony

The graduation ceremony will typically take place in your school’s arena or stadium. In some cases, the school might schedule the ceremony at a separate location nearby. The time that graduation ceremonies last all depends on how many students are graduating. Typically, graduation ceremonies take an hour to two hours to complete. During the ceremony, students are called up individually to shake hands with their dean and receive their diploma or degree. Graduation ceremonies might also include singing the school song and recognizing different staff or faculty members.

Graduation Parties

After the graduation ceremony, many friends and family get together for graduation parties. Typically, it’s customary to send out graduation party invitations at least a month in advance so you can give your guests time to prepare, especially if they’ll be traveling. You may also decide to include information about your graduation party in your announcement cards. Some graduation party supplies might include a graduation-themed cake, party balloons, and themed party favors.

Graduation Day Ideas for Celebration

If you don’t want to spend time on graduation decorations at home, you can always plan a graduation celebration outside of the house. A fun graduation picnic could be a great way to get the family together with minimal cleanup. Many families also like to make dinner or lunch reservations to get together and celebrate the grad before or after the ceremony. Other graduation ideas might include virtual graduation for those who can’t be together on the big day. During a virtual graduation party, you can offer a web conference link in your announcements or invitations and let everyone know the time they should join.

Graduation Gift Ideas

If you’re attending a graduation ceremony or party, make sure you help your loved one feel accomplished and celebrated! Graduating and all of the time and hard work required is always something to celebrate. If you can’t attend, send graduation cards in advance to show the grad you’re still thinking of them. Consider the following personalized gift ideas for an extra special day:

  • Custom wine glasses – If the grad is of drinking age, they’ll love personalized wine glasses that they can use to toast to the end of an era. Add their monogram or name and graduation date and share the first toast to all their accomplishments.
  • Personalized notebook – Whether your grad is heading off to college or starting their first job, they’ll love a custom notebook that includes some of their favorite photos. They can use their notebook to stay organized or write down their thoughts. 
  • Framed print – If you’re close to the graduate, consider gifting a framed print of the two of you together. Select your favorite moment together that they can proudly display, especially if they’re moving to a dorm or new home. 
  • Business card holder – For college graduates, entering the workforce can be a stressful time. Help ease the transition with a custom business card holder. They’ll love feeling more professional and prepared for what’s to come!
  • Custom wood utensils – If you have a high school grad, you may need to do a little encouragement to help them eat more healthy at school. Custom engraved wood utensils may be just what they need to cook more often and show off their utensils in the dorm kitchen.

On the receiving end of some excellent graduation gifts? Don’t forget to send your thanks with graduation thank you cards. You can also take the time to thank everyone who attended your ceremony and celebration.

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