There are many details to consider when planning a graduation or convocation. Organizers have to create a guest list, send out invitations, choose a venue, distribute tickets. The to-do list goes on and on.

That’s why we pulled together a few tips to help navigate the event planning process. By following the steps below, your next graduation or convocation ceremony will go off without a hitch.

1. Create a Master Event Plan

The first step to planning and executing a successful graduation or convocation ceremony is to create a master plan that outlines all the event logistics. As part of the master plan, the event team will make decisions regarding:

  • Date and time
  • Speakers
  • Number of guests
  • Ticket costs and distribution
  • Venue
  • Decor and signage
  • Event promotion
  • Photographer
  • Printed materials
  • Music/entertainment
  • Food (if applicable)

Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to start building a master plan well in advance—ideally 6 months before the graduation or convocation ceremony. Being proactive with adequate planning will lead to optimal results on the day of the event.

2. Manage Tickets and Registration

After solidifying the logistics, it’s time to manage tickets and registration. Digital ticketing and mobile registration provide a secure, convenient option for your guests—not to mention it means less work for you! Digital ticket payments minimize the need for handling cash and the frustration that comes with trying to keep track of who has (and has not) paid.

Mobile ticketing also makes admission and ticket management a simple, straightforward process for you and the guests. Consider allowing guests to present either digital tickets (that can be scanned at the door on a smartphone) or printed tickets to maximize their options.

3. Send Out Guest Invitations

The next step is to send out guest invitations to graduates, ideally approximately two months before the ceremony date. The email should include specific event details, such as location, date, time, and cost, and a link for digital registration. Email and text reminders and follow-up invitations are a great way to boost attendance. Send them every few weeks leading up to the event to allow guests time to purchase tickets and make any necessary travel arrangements.

By using a school event management solution like InviteRight, you can automate several of the tasks related to sending invitations—including email and text reminders and at least 2-3 follow-ups to help boost attendance. You can also customize your invitations to match the graduation theme (if one exists) and add your school’s logo.

4. Determine Seat Selection

Managing seat selection can be a time-consuming endeavor. An event management solution with an interactive seating chart helps simplify the seat selection process, providing an easy and visually appealing way to plan where guests of the graduation or convocation ceremony will sit.

To make the process even easier on yourself—and allow guests as much freedom as possible—consider letting them select their own seats using the interactive seating map. Aim to finalize your seating at least a week or so before the graduation or convocation ceremony, as this will allow you time to make adjustments as needed.

Planning a graduation or convocation ceremony can undoubtedly be overwhelming at first. However, with the right plan in place and the right resources at your disposal, you can execute a successful event that graduates and their families will be sure to remember.

Make Event Planning a Breeze

If you’re still struggling to navigate the planning process for this year’s graduation or convocation ceremony, InviteRight has you covered! Download our event planning checklist for access to a handy guide, complete with several comprehensive lists to track tasks in the months and weeks leading up to the event.

Download our Event Checklist

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