For my ceremony our chancellor happened to be absent, which meant we had Lord Seb Coe as a replacement. I have to ashamedly admit, I didn't know who he was, and thought it was very strange when he said that a lot of students had brought up the olympics when he congratulated them, but when Daniel explained it to me later, it made a lot of sense!
I realised that there's quite a few things I wish I had known before graduation. It's not the most novel stuff, but you know, just in case anyone of you like me has never been to a graduation.
1. Come in plenty of time. 1 hour for us really wasn't enough, especially with having professional photos taken (there'll be a whole point on photos though!). I reckon if I could do it again, I'd aim to arrive 2-2.5 hours before hand, that way you'll have plenty of time to collect your tickets and robe, catch up with your friends, take professional photos and also some fun photos with everyone at different places on campus
2. Don't be put off, if they've only allocated you 2-3 tickets! I was, because I really wanted 5 people to be there with me, so we checked on the day, and it wasn't a problem at all. They have to promise everyone the same amount of tickets, so they can't have you ordering that many, but if there are any left over on the day, they're likely to give them to you, so just ask!
3. Bring safety pins. Sometimes the gown rental company has some, but don't count on it (they didn't have any left at Daniel's graduation). There's a thing to put around the button on a shirt, but 1) girls tend not to wear blouses for their graduation but pretty dresses 2) it pulls your top up too high, so it doesn't look very nice. SO it's better to use safety pins to attach the hood bit to the actual gown on two sides, and if you only put it through the bottom layer of the hood thing, you can't even see it much at all!
4. PHOTOS. I found this bit to be a disaster, and it still upsets me! First of all, as mentioned in point one, we didn't end up having enough time to take a lot of photos, we took professional ones, but even though they were super nice, I thought it was a rip off :(. It was a pretty hard sale, and they kind of trick you into thinking you're getting more than you're getting, but then of course on the day you don't want to worry about money too much, so you end up spending an absolute fortune. But before I tell you Daniel's genius idea about saving money: try to have them taken before the ceremony! Even if it's not as hot as at my graduation, you'll look a lot fresher/be a lot happier with your hair, plus you'll be a lot more relaxed afterwards when you can just say your goodbyes etc.
But as for saving money, Daniel thought (and I agree), that it'd work out cheaper to ask a photographer to come along to take photos, if you do this between 3-4 of you! This also enables you to agree on deals beforehand, so you don't end up spending a lot more than you're comfortable with. However, my mum said that the uni might not allow this, so it might be worth checking!
If this isn't an option, leave yourself a lot of time to understand their pricing, their packages and what you can and can't get! We bought a package of 1 handshake photo, 1 individual and 1 family photo and they told us that for individual and family you get 5 copies. So, when they took 5 different scenario photos of family, I thought that's the 5 copies we bought. I couldn't have been more wrong! You get 1 photo and 5 copies of it! We bought a couple more (just because we didn't have time to take any other photos before, and we had to leave earlier, due to my granddad being unwell), but I'm really unhappy about them misleading us! If you want a digital copy of the photos you already paid a fortune for, it was another 8 pounds per photo and on the day, they told us you could absolutely not buy any digital copies without having purchased the printed version. However, when we came home and checked on the website, we realised that this was very much an option! So, as I said, if you have a proper look beforehand, you should be able to find out everything you need to know, because on the day, you won't have the nerves to deal with it/they'll give out misleading information.
Anyway, all this isn't to say that it wasn't nice! It really was, and it finally made this whole finishing uni thing feel official, but I just thought I'd share my experiences with you, so you won't make the same mistakes :)