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Formal Hall procedure

Guidelines for dining in Formal Hall

Students are encouraged to regard Hall as a special occasion when often guests can be present both at High Table and in Lower Hall. These guidelines are devised to help keep Hall something special which all will enjoy.

  • You and any guests should arrive in good time for Grace which starts Dinner, and should be at your table by 7.25 pm. Groups of ten or more diners, whether from within Pembroke or including guests, must seek permission in advance from the Catering and Events Manager by emailing Formal Hall Team; she will ask you to name one Pembroke student as a host and steward for every ten guests, and to assume responsibility for the behaviour of the party for the evening.
  • Pembroke students must wear gowns.
  • Baseball caps should not be worn.
  • No more than one bottle of wine per person is permitted; no spirits or cans of beer are allowed.
  • No photography is allowed during dinner (after the Fellows have left it may be permitted).
  • Mobile phones must be switched off whilst you are in Hall and may not be used under any circumstances.
  • No games are allowed at table; no drinking competitions; nothing must be thrown at any point in the evening. Toasts (eg for birthdays) should be saved up until after the Fellows have left.
  • Diners should remain seated through dinner and not move about; this applies for the whole of the meal, whether or not Fellows are present.
  • Diners do not need to stay in Hall until the Fellows leave.
  • If present to the end, all stand for the final grace and kindly wait for the Fellows to leave. The last Fellow customarily gives a bow; a bow in response from anyone near to High Table is always appreciated.
  • Smoking in Hall is not permitted, nor anywhere on the College site except for two designated smoking areas, outside the Bar in New Court and in the bicycle sheds beside the Library.
  • Whilst your guests are on Pembroke premises (eg bar, or room), you as host are held responsible for proper conduct.

At all times due consideration must be shown to the Hall staff. They have authority, backed if necessary by a Fellow dining at High Table, to restrain inappropriate behaviour and to require individuals or groups to leave.

These guidelines are intended to assist in making sure that everyone, whether at High Table or in Lower Hall, can enjoy dinner together. The golden rule is to be observant of others.