Formal Halls at Darwin

On most Wednesdays and Fridays a formal dinner is served.

Bookings are made through Upay, available in an app or desktop version. Please follow the instructions in the information book to register. Alumni should contact the Development Office who may make bookings on your behalf.

In addition to yourself, you are permitted to book places for up to three guests using the online booking system (except on especially busy evenings such as Burns Night or the Christmas Formal Halls, when only one guest is permitted); however if you wish to bring additional guests, owing to family or special guests visiting, please apply to the Catering Manager at for permission. Guests must be 16 years of age or above.

Full names of all guests must be completed in the online booking system. Any dietary requirements must also be added to your online booking – the Kitchens work from this list and it is the member’s responsibility to ensure the booking has been made correctly. Please note that you cannot bring your own wine to Formal Halls. Wine must be purchased through the Upay account at the time of booking.

Formal Halls usually take place in the  Dining Hall for a maximum of 140 guests. Check-in will be held from 7.00pm with dinner at 7.30pm. The dinner will be announced by the sound of the College gong and diners will following the senior member present to the dining area. Diners must remain standing by their seat until the College Grace as been said. Diners may then be seated.

You may cancel or amend your booking any time through Upay’s ‘Active Bookings’ link up to 2.00pm on the day before your meal is booked in for. After that time your payment will not normally be refunded.

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Formal Hall Etiquette

By definition, Formal Halls are formal meals often used for the entertainment of special College guests. As such they are governed by certain guidelines, customs, and rules set out to ensure all college members enjoy the occasion. Failure to observe these guidelines, customs, and rules may result in the individual(s) being asked to leave the Dinner.

The College member is responsible for hosting their guests and for their behaviour, for introducing them to the Master or Presiding Fellow, for ensuring that they are aware of the dress code, informing them of the customs and procedures, and for guiding them through the evening. Therefore you are not permitted to ask other college members to book guests into Formal Hall on your behalf.

All guests attending Formal Hall must be accompanied by the host who made the booking. Any guest who is not so accompanied  will not be allowed to dine.

Diners should arrive in good time for the pre-dinner reception.  At 7.25pm the College Gong will announce dinner, the Master or senior member and their guests will enter the Dining Hall first followed by the rest of the diners. Members and their guests should not delay in moving into Hall once called.

On being called to table, diners remain standing behind their seat; the gong will be sounded and once those present are silent, The Master (or deputy) will give The College Grace. At the end of the meal, the gong will again sound and all diners stand for Grace and during The Master’s (or Deputy’s) departure. Members and their guests should then follow on.

Diners should leave the Hall reasonably quickly after the gong has sounded and make their way to the relevant area; this allows the catering staff to clear the Hall.

As these dinners are more formal than normal meals, it is expected that members and guests will remain seated throughout the meal; moving around the tables particularly during service creates a safety problem for the staff and other diners. It is also not usual to leave the table during the meal unless a member or guest feels unwell. If you do need to leave at any point, you should exit the room, and return if recovered, as discretely as possible. Please note that this dispensation is not intended to be used for taking cigarette breaks.

The use of electronic equiment is not allowed in the Hall at any time. Please ensure that your and your guests’ mobile phones are switched off before entering the Hall.  Conversation should be kept at a reasonable level, so avoiding the need for anyone to shout.

Photos may be taken after the Master or her Deputy has left the table at the conclusion of dinner. Diners are expected to show respect for guests, other diners and staff. The Supervisor on duty has been instructed to ask any member or guests exhibiting unsociable or unacceptable behaviour to leave the room.

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Dress Code

There is a dress code at all formal dinners defined without reference to gender identity or expression. At Formal Halls and Supervisors’ Evenings this is a lounge suit/jacket with a tie or appropriate equivalent attire. College Members, and guests who are members of the University, are encouraged to wear gowns. Persons wearing a shirt without a jacket and tie, or appearing in jeans, training shoes, beach footwear, and/or hats or caps, will be refused entry. If you are unsure of the requirements – please consult the duty supervisorbefore the event.

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Booking a Formal Hall


Please read the Formal Hall Etiquette before making any Formal Hall bookings. Please be aware that all guest names must be completed for the booking to be made. Failure to do so may result in no admittance on the night.

Once you have registered, you may then purchase Formal Hall tickets as follows:

  • Choose the date of the Formal Hall you wish to book,
  • Choose the number of tickets you wish to purchase, remembering the the menu is by default vegetarian.
  • Enter your guests’ names,
  • Click on ‘Event Options’ to choose your ticket type and tick your ticket option, please ensure you purchase the correct ticket for your guests, student statuses will be verified before admittance to the dinner.

Make your wine or drink choices

  • Click on ‘Confirm and Pay’,
  • Please at this stage add any dietary requirements e.g 1 x vegetarian meal, 1 guest has a gluten and nut allergy,
  • Click on ‘Place Booking’,

Confirm payment with cashless card.

  • You will be emailed confirmation of your booking. If you have not received a confirmation email, the booking has not been completed.
  • Cancellations or amendments must be done via Upay and before 2.00pm the day before the date of the booking


You will now be able to view your current statement on-line or though the apps.

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Upay registration


Upay is an online booking system where you will be able to purchase your Formal Hall tickets. You will need to register an account before you are able to make a booking.

Note that this facility is available to current Darwin members only. If you are an alumnus of the College please contact the Development Office to be booked into Formal Hall.

Please note that in order to set up an account you will need the Affiliate ID along with your User ID.


For Darwin students, the user ID is your University CRSID (ie. what goes before For everyone else, including Fellows, visiting members, staff, and Research Associates, you can find your user ID listed as your Account reference at the top right-hand corner of your College statement. Please contact the accounts team if you need help with this.

Mobile Apps

The Upay website is mobile-friendly but you can also download a mobile app, but note that to have it work with Raven you should first:

• Download the appropriate the app, do not register yet.

• Go to the Upay website ( in your mobile browser, Raven authenticate and then launch the app for the first time using the “Load UpayChilli App” button resulting page. The app will then be linked to your Raven credentials for future use.

For further information on Upayplease refer to the Upay User Guide & FAQ available online at

Then follow the details below:

  • Once these details have been obtained, click on the link above for Upay;
  • You will be asked to confirm a Raven affiliate terms and conditions, please confirm;
  • Click ‘Yes or No’ to remain logged in on the device you are registering from;
  • Click ‘Return to Log In’;
  • Click ‘ Register My Upay Account’;
  • In the next page, you will be prompted to enter the Affiliate ID ‘DARWINKITCHENS’ ;
  • You will then be asked for your user id, please your CRSID (the part in front of your address).
  • You will the be asked for your email address – please use your address

Once you have completed these steps an email will be sent to you confirming your user account details.

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