Weddings and Events

Celebrate your special occasion at Colgate.

Colgate University's majestic buildings and rolling green lawns provide a gorgeous setting for weddings and special events, specifically for Colgate alumni, current students, and current employed members of the faculty and staff and their immediate families. Weddings and events are permitted on campus during the summer months, no earlier than one week following Reunion and no later than two weeks prior to the arrival of the first-year students. Weddings and events may be permitted during other breaks, except over holiday weekends.

Receptions are permitted in the Hall of Presidents and Merrill House. The addition of the Class of 2002 Garden in front of Merrill House is a beautiful backdrop for tented receptions on the lower lawn.

Would you like to tour the wedding facilities or schedule a walk through with your vendors?  Campus visits should be arranged through the office of conference services and summer programs. A member of the conferences services and summer programs team will be present to guide you through the facilities and answer any questions you may have. 

  • The chapel has a total seating capacity of 750: 450 on the lower floor, 200 in the balconies and 100 on the stage.
  • There is no center aisle.
  • It is not air-conditioned.
  • The stage is equipped with chairs for the attendants, two pulpits and an altar table.
  • A 7’ baby grand piano and organ are located in the chapel. A request must be made with the office of conference services and summer programs to use. It is the responsibility of the reserving party to make arrangements for a musician.
  • There is limited electricity located at Willow Path.
  • During the warmer months the Library Peninsula and Willow Path are heavily populated with Canadian Geese.
  • Tents are not permitted on the Library Peninsula.
  • If choosing Willow Path, many folks opt to set up chairs on either side of the path which allows for an aisle.
  • Bathroom facilities in the James C. Colgate Student Union first floor are available for the reserving party and guest use.
  • The inside of Merrill House is best used to accommodate small dinner receptions for no more than 50 guests.
  • Existing chairs and tables in the Merrill House dining areas may be rearranged, but they cannot be removed from the facility.
  • Merrill House contains a kitchen which can be used by the caterer, including its equipment (refrigerator, ice machine, etc.) 
  • There are three bathroom facilities located in Merrill House for guest use; one on the first floor and two are located in the basement level.
  • Please note that guests are not permitted on the 2nd floor of Merrill House.
  • The front and back porches may be used for your event.
  • The Class of 2002 Garden is located on the side hill in front of Merrill House. Perfect for an intimate cocktail hour or small reception.
  • Restroom trailers are permitted on the lower lawn; however, there is no outside water source available at Merrill House, so it is recommended that you make arrangements with the rental company to provide water.
  • There are (2) 20 amp/120 vac electrical outlets located on the lawn and (2) 20 amp/120 vac located near the garden steps outside of Merrill house and (2) 20 amp/120 vac located near the porch, so it is highly recommended that you check with your vendors as to how much electricity they will require.
  • If this is not enough, you may want to consider renting a quiet generator. Generator rentals must include a fence for the perimeter of the generator.

Hall of Presidents

  • Has a dining capacity of 300, however, a maximum count of 250 is allowable if there is to be a dance floor and band set up.
  • There are 6’ long rectangular tables, 72” diameter round tables and elegant charcoal gray fabric with silver thread high back chairs.
  • Located on the second floor, it can be reached via stairs or an elevator.
  • It is air-conditioned.
  • There are 20 amp/120 vac circuits available on the far end of the room.
  • The fireplace is non-functional.
  • Any outside caterer can set-up outside, behind the Student Union. A kitchen tent may be used, any tent over 400 square feet will require a tent permit.


The Clark Room

  • Seats up to 90 and can be used for the cocktail reception or for caterer set-up.


The Alton Lounge

  • Is available as a coat room or as a sitting room.


Donovan’s Pub Patio

  • Available for cocktail reception.
  • Existing outdoor furniture on the patio, 4-5 tables and 16-20 chairs.
  • A tent no greater than 400 square feet is permitted on the patio.
  • As you will probably understand, the optimal time to address maintenance projects is during the summer months when the students are not on campus. Work on college facilities may not be determined for the following summer at the time of booking. Colgate University retains the right to access all facilities in order to accomplish ongoing renovations, repairs and upgrades as necessary. The office of conference services and summer programs will provide as much advance notice as possible of upcoming construction projects and will do everything in its power to assure a seamless event for your special day.
  • Summer weddings and events may not be scheduled earlier than one week following Reunion weekend and no later than two weeks prior to the arrival of the first year students. Weddings and events may be permitted during other breaks, except over holiday weekends.
  • Reservations are processed on a first-come basis.
  • Only one wedding per weekend. Typical facilities reservations begin Friday, 3:00 pm and end Sunday, 2:00 pm., unless otherwise specified in the contract. 
  • The office of conference services & summer programs will hold a date for 30 days. At that time either a deposit needs to be made or the date will be released. If a date is already being held by another interested party, your 30 days will begin the following calendar day following their release date.
  • A contract and deposit will follow once a date has been confirmed with the office of conference services & summer programs. Full payment is due one month prior the date of the event.
  • Please note that open flames are prohibited. The only burning of candles permitted is the burning of a unity candle, or similar religious ceremonies involving an open flame, which must be extinguished immediately following the ceremony. 
  • University owned audio/visual equipment and building sound systems are not available for use. Arrangements must be made by the reserving party with an external vendor.
  • No rice is to be thrown outside; however, bird seed, flower petals and soap bubbles are permitted.
  • The use of balloons is prohibited in the James C. Colgate Student Union, Hall of Presidents. The reserving party will bear any expense for the removal of balloons from the ceiling including use of a lift and repair of damage to the fans.
  • There will be no drilling, anchoring, nailing, gluing, taping, etc., to any structure or structure pieces on all Colgate facilities.
  • Parking is available along Lally Lane, Case-Geyer Library parking lot, Campus Safety, and the Colgate Memorial Chapel parking lot.
  • There is no parking along Oak Drive.
  • The facility rental fee includes a dedicated university staff member on duty for the rehearsal, ceremony and reception. 
  • A member of the conference services and summer programs team will be on site during the rehearsal and ceremony.
  • The reserving party is responsible for arranging the clergy or officiant of their choice for the ceremony.
  • Many couples who wed at Colgate bring their own officiants. The chaplains of Colgate University are also happy to offer their services and may be able to provide a Protestant minister, Catholic deacon, or rabbi. Interested couples should contact the Office of the Chaplains.
  • The University Chaplains office must be contacted for all religious ceremonies taking place in the Colgate Memorial Chapel, at least six months prior the event date. Arrangements can be coordinated with the office of conference services & summer programs.
  • Rentals must be arranged and paid for by the reserving party.
  • Tents are permitted on campus.
  • Tent rentals must include the following; exit signs, fire extinguisher, lit exit pathways, interior tent lights for events taking place during dusk and sunset.
  • If a generator is being rented, fencing must be included to surround the generator.
  • Rental company information needs to be submitted to the office of conference services & summer programs at least two months prior the event date.
  • The office of conference services & summer programs will contact the rental company to coordinate the tent permit with our campus partners and the Village of Hamilton codes enforcement officer.
  • Contact information for all external vendors hired by the reserving party must be submitted to the office of conference services & summer programs at least two months prior the event date.
  • For a listing of local vendors, please contact This list is intended to serve as a reference only; the inclusion of an establishment does not imply an endorsement by Colgate University.
  • External caterers are permitted on campus. Caterer information needs to be submitted to the office of conference services & summer programs at least two months prior the event date.
  • If the caterer wishes to use the Merrill House kitchen, the office of conference services & summer programs will contact the catering company to coordinate logistics, caterer deposit and the caterer certificate of insurance.
  • The caterer must leave the kitchen in the condition they found it.
  • In addition, there is a $500 deposit required by any outside caterer and must be submitted one month in advance of an event. If the kitchen is found to be in good order, the deposit will be returned in full following the event.
  • The caterer will need to provide proof of the appropriate liability insurance in the amount of $1,000,000 showing Colgate University as an Additional Insured for the day’s event.
  • In addition, if alcohol is to be served, caterers must have a New York State Liquor Authority Special Events Permit for the one-day event and provide proof of liquor liability insurance in the amount of $1,000,000.
  • The use of bands and DJs is permitted at all sites on campus.
  • If you are having entertainment outdoors, you will need to obtain a sound permit from the village offices, and it must be signed by the mayor. 
  • This should be done at least one month in advance of your event.
  • The office of conference services & summer programs will provide the sound permit application to the reserving party and assist with submitting the completed application to the Village of Hamilton.

Colgate University does not provide lodging or the use of the dorms. There are several local inns, hotels and bed & breakfasts. 


For any questions or to arrange a personal showing of event facilities, please contact the Office of Conference Services & Summer Programs at 315-228-7760 or