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Guide to Formal Dinner Booking


The Dinner Booking system exists to allow Fellows and Students to manage their own dinner bookings. Guests are eligible to attend some meals, but not all – please see below for details.

When you are booking yourself or a guest in for a meal, please remember to specify:

  • dietary requirements for each guest (drop down box)
  • seating requests – Fellows' stewards will try to accommodate these in the seating plan where possible
  • if a particular guest will not be drinking wine this should be noted in the 'seating requests' section

The maximum number the Hall can hold for each dinner is 110 - Bookings will be added to a waiting list at this point. Cancellations up to 4 days before the dinner will result in automatic elevation of those on the waiting list to the attendee list. Any cancellations / waiting list changes less than 4 days before the dinner will be done by the Fellow's steward emailing individuals on the waiting list. Please note that bookings cancelled after the booking system closes (at 12 noon, 4 days before the dinner) will still be charged. Please advise the Fellow's stewards and Kitchen of any last-minute cancellations as the seating plan will need to be altered in these circumstances.

Costs 2019/2020:

Formal Hall Dinner: Student - £17.00 each, Student Guest - £19.00 each

College Guest Night Dinner: Student - £22.50 each, Student Guest - £24.00 each

Fellows and their guests are each charged £21.50 for Formal Hall and £30.00 for College Guest Night dinners.

Notes regarding dining, customs and dress code

(extracted from the Blue Book)

Academical Dress

This is obligatory on various formal occasions, including special services in the Chapel, Matriculation Ceremonies, formal dinners and degree ceremonies, and members are strongly recommended to purchase a gown on arrival. Secondhand gowns are sometimes available. There are different gowns corresponding to different categories of members of the University, as follows:

(a) Members of the College with Cambridge degrees wear the gown of their degree.

(b) Members with M.A. or B.A. status (see above) wear the M.A. or B.A. gown but with the ‘strings’ (the fastening tapes inside the front of the gown) removed.

(c) Affiliated students and undergraduates wear the College undergraduate gown (available from various College outfitters in the city). Hoods are worn with gowns for some events (e.g. the Inaugural Ceremony in the Chapel). Hoods are never worn in the dining hall.

‘Scarlet’ occasions (announced in the College Calendar) involve the wearing of their festal gowns by holders of Cambridge doctoral degrees (Ph.D. or higher doctorate). On such occasions, doctors of other universities may wear their own doctoral gowns. Doctoral hoods are worn as appropriate (e.g. in the Chapel for the Inaugural Ceremony).


Guests are eligible to attend some meals, but not all. Students are entitled to invite up to two guests a day to any meal from which guests are not excluded or limited. Fellows and students may invite additional guests provided they consult with the Fellows’ Steward and the Manciple in advance. Children under 16 are not admitted to Formal dinners (see 8.10), but are welcome at all other meals and in particular at Family Lunches (see 8.10.2). Members are responsible for ensuring that their guests are aware of, and comply with, the dress code for Formal occasions in College (see 8.9.1).

Booking For Meals

Members are asked to note the arrangements for booking for meals, which vary from one category to another (see 8.10 for full details).

(a) For regular meals no booking is required.

(b) Members must book for all Formal dinners by accessing the Meals Booking System on the College’s website ( and following the instructions given there, including entering your name and those of your guests correctly onto the system. In case it is not possible to access the website Members should contact the Fellows’ Stewards by email: Please indicate when making your booking on line if you wish certain diners to be placed together on the seating plan and any special dietary requirements. We are (only) able to cater for the following dietary requirements: vegetarian, vegan, halal, celiac, gluten free, dairy-free, and nut allergy. The Fellows’ Stewards and Catering Manager will try to meet all requests.

Cancellation Of Bookings

Please give prompt notice of any cancellation of booked dining places at Formal dinners. This should be done by using the on-line dinner booking system (, up until the system closes. If it is necessary to cancel 48 hours before the dinner, please email the Fellows’ Steward ( or telephone the College Kitchen). Last minute cancellations can cause severe difficulties. Full charges will be levied for all cancellations made after the list closes unless the place can be re-allocated to someone on the ‘stand by’ list. Those enquiring about the availability of cancelled places should email the Fellows’ Stewards. All arrangements of this kind must be made through these channels and not between individuals.

Special Dietary Requirements

The College will seek to respond to the needs of members with special dietary requirements. Vegetarian options are routinely available. Other special dietary requirements should be discussed in the first instance with the Catering Manager, who will try to prepare appropriate meals if this can reasonably be arranged, though the College cannot guarantee to fulfil all individual requests. The College should be informed if a member has a serious food allergy; this should be discussed immediately on arrival with the member’s Tutor and with the Catering Manager, who will be able to advise on the ingredients and labelling of College meals.