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Durham University

St Cuthbert's Society

Formal Dinners

Communal dining is an important part of college life whether you live in or live out of college. Formal Dinners are an excellent occasion to experience the excitement of life at Cuth’s. We host many themed and traditional Formals during term time, made successful by our talented catering team and the enthusiasm of all who attend.

Who is invited to Formals?

Formals are advertised via email to all members of the college around a week and a half before the event. Anyone can apply for a ticket, but occasionally a particular group of students will be given priority (e.g. Postgraduate students, Graduating students) but usually our Formals are open to everyone from Cuth's. Even if one group is given priority, there may be spare places available, so remember to check your emails! A menu will be sent with the invitation so that you can alert staff to any dietary requirements in advance. Due to high demand, guests from other colleges are not permitted unless stated in the invitation.

How much does it cost to go to Formal?

For fully catered students (i.e. students living on the Bailey, or in Parson's Field with the meals package) it costs £7.25. For self catered students (i.e. students living out, or in Parson's Field without the meals package) it costs £9.25. This price covers the cost of the meal, so occasionally the price is raised marginally to include other costs such as entertainment or a charitable donation. However, this price can fall if a business decides to sponsor a Formal and subsidises the cost of the meal for students.

How do I get a ticket?

Students are sent an email invitation with a link to the University website where tickets can be purchased. Tickets are allocated on a first come first served basis - so you have to be quick! Successful applicants will be emailed the following day.

What should I wear?

The email invitation will state whether the dresscode is 'black tie' or 'lounge suit'. For a black tie event, men would traditionally wear trousers and a lapelled jacket with a white shirt and black bow tie, although we welcome variations! Perhaps you want to show off your Scottish heritage with a kilt, or wear a green bow tie to demonstrate your devotion to Cuth's! Women's attire is much more flexible, with the options of a full-length gown, cocktail dress, trousers and blouse; anything that looks smart and appropriate for an evening event. For a lounge suitl event, men would usually wear a suit and women have the choice (once again) of most outfits, except jeans and t-shirts. Occasionlly a Formal may be themed and request an element of fancy dress in your outfit.

What should I expect?

The time of arrival is typically 6.30pm, giving you enough time to buy drinks at the bar and be seated ready for serving to begin at 7pm.The majority of places at a Formal are taken up by students, who sit in rows along the hall. You can choose your seat and who you sit next to. There is also a High Table made up of the Principal, her guests, members of staff, and members of the SCR. Meals are three courses and will be served to you at your seat. There is always some form of entertainment during the meal, be it songs from the Choir, a poem read aloud, or an amusing extract from the history of St Cuthbert's Society.