Weddings at Carleton
Thank you for your interest in Carleton College as a possible site for your wedding. The following important information will help you understand the facilities and services available to you as you plan your special day. We look forward to working with you.
All rental venues for 2016 have been taken
Rental space availability for 2017 will be posted by the end of February. Please check back.
To help schedule your event, make arrangements, or if you have any questions, please contact:
Special Events Associate and Administrative Assistant for College Communications
Leighton Hall 414
Because the college’s facilities are used extensively during the academic year, weddings are scheduled only for the summer months or winter break. Only one large catered event per weekend can be held on campus, and availability of facilities is subject to construction and maintenance projects, summer academic programs, and other college events.
Skinner Memorial Chapel
The chapel will accommodate seating for up to 900 people. There are 18 rows of pews in the main sanctuary and 4 rows each in the east and west wings. There are restrooms on the main level in the front lobby as well as on the lower level. Dressing rooms are available in the lower level. The chapel is now air conditioned (thanks to renovations during the summer of 2015)!
The chapel is accessible to physically-challenged individuals by means of a ramp at the northwest entrance, entering the sanctuary from the stage side. The restrooms in the chapel lobby are accessible; however, due to the weight of the doors individuals in wheelchairs may require assistance.
You are welcome to use the chapel piano and organ. If your organist is not a Carleton faculty member, he or she should be in contact with the college organist prior to the event. The piano is tuned on a regular basis; arrangements for special tuning would be the responsibility of the wedding party. If your musicians would like to rehearse in the chapel prior to the wedding, please call us to reserve a time.
There are six pre-set light setting options for the chapel. Basic microphones and sound equipment will be provided for the wedding ceremony.
You may bring in any floral arrangements you desire. Any flowers left at the conclusion of the ceremony will be considered abandoned and will be discarded. You may scatter flower petals in the aisle and throw rice or bird seed outdoors. Bubbles, a Carleton tradition, can be blown from the balcony or in the lobby.
The following chapel furnishings are available for your use:
- Pulpit or lectern for speaker or vocalist.
- Center steps to access stage – 36” high (6 steps 6” each), 56” wide, 60” long.
- Square platform for the center floor, covered in brown carpet – 4’ x 6’, 6” high.
- 2 oak candelabras that use 10 one-inch candles.
- 2 kneeling benches.
- 1 small table that works well for a unity candle – 22” x 22” x 34” high.
- 1 large round table and 1 rectangular table in the lobby that cannot be removed.
- The banners in the sanctuary are permanent fixtures and cannot be removed.
Arrangements for ministers, musicians, florist, and photographer are the responsibility of the wedding party.
Reception Space in Severance Great Hall (main reception area)
The maximum seating capacity is 200 (25 tables). If you plan to have a buffet, these tables will need to be in the hallway with full capacity seating. If a head table is used, the room is more comfortably arranged with only 21 tables for guests. Both 8' round tables and 8' rectangle tables are available, accommodating 8 chairs per table. Great Hall is air conditioned. The wall sconce lights can be dimmed. Basic microphones and sound equipment can be provided. An upright piano is available and can be moved as long as it remains within the room. The piano is tuned on a regular basis; arrangements for special tuning would be the responsibility of the wedding party.
Great Hall is accessible to physically-challenged individuals by means of a ramp at the front entrance of Sayles-Hill. The double wooden doors at the north end of the patio will accommodate oversized wheelchairs.
Wedding Ceremony Space in the Carleton Arboretum
The Arboretum Director and College Communications have agreed that the best location for weddings in the Arboretum is Monument Hill. Weddings will be scheduled through the College Communications Office, as other wedding parties are, with the College Communications Staff consulting with the Arboretum Director. These weddings will need to fall within the assigned open dates, keeping in mind that the College will host only one wedding per weekend.
Considerations for an Arboretum wedding: A tent can be rented and erected near the Monument Hill location. A Carleton staff member would need to be on site when the tent is erected to approve the location. Tables and chairs and any other rental equipment will not be provided by the College and must be ordered by the wedding party through an outside vendor. There will be no College sound system provided for an outdoor wedding. The College will make every effort to have rest rooms available at the Recreation Center. However, if these are not available, the wedding party will need to rent portable rest rooms. Parking will be available in the Recreation Center Parking Lot. Arrangements for ministers, musicians, florist, tents, chairs and tables, outdoor bathrooms (if necessary) and photographer are the responsibility of the wedding party.
Bon Appétit Catering provides all catering on the Carleton College campus. Menu choices and costs can be obtained by contacting the catering manager at (507) 222-4229 or (507) 222-5023.
Alcohol is permitted at wedding events on campus, but all alcoholic beverages must be confined to the reception room. Bon Appétit Catering provides all alcohol and servers for your bar. This will be at an additional cost to the food purchases.
Guest parking is permitted in any unrestricted area on campus and on the adjacent city streets (watch posted city regulations). Parking is usually not a problem during breaks as compared to the academic terms. However, with a large number of guests arriving for a single event, not everyone will be able to park immediately next to Skinner Chapel or to Severance Great Hall and Sayles-Hill Great Space. Parking for a wedding at the Monument Hill site in the Arboretum will use the Recreation Center Parking lot.
Rooms in the Alumni Guest House are not available for wedding parties to book until one month prior to the date. If rooms are available at that time, they may be rented for the event. To ensure space for your guests, we suggest that you book a block of rooms at a local hotel well in advance of your event. We would be pleased to provide you with a list of Northfield area hotels and motels.
Facility Rental Fees
The fee for use of Skinner Memorial Chapel is $800 for Carleton alumni/ae, faculty, and staff, and $1,000 for all others. Included in the fee is the use of facilities for the rehearsal and the wedding, set up and clean up, and basic sound system. A $150 deposit will secure the reservation. (The deposit is refundable if notice of cancellation is given three months prior to the wedding date.) The balance will be expected one month prior to the wedding date.
The fee for use of Severance Great Hall is $800 for Carleton alumni/ae, faculty, and staff and $1,000 for all others. Included in the fee is the use of facilities for reception, set up and clean up, and basic sound system. A $150 deposit will secure the reservation. (The deposit is refundable if notice of cancellation is given three months prior to the wedding date.) The balance will be expected one month prior to the wedding date.
The fee for use of the Arboretum Monument Hill Space is $200 for everyone. Included in the fee is the use of the Monument Hill location, College staff siting of a tent (if applicable), use of restroom facilities (if available) and parking. The entire fee will secure the reservation. No backup rain location is granted at the College. (The deposit is refundable if notice of cancellation is given three months prior to the wedding date.)
Scheduling Your Wedding
Call the Carleton Office of College Communications to inquire about date availability. A deposit is required to secure a particular date.
A “Hold Harmless Agreement” and “Wedding Reservation Information” sheet will be sent to you approximately six months prior to your wedding. These forms should be completed and returned as quickly as possible. In order to use any space on the Carleton College campus, we require that you provide us with a $1 million Certificate of Insurance (personal liability) identifying Carleton College as the "additional insured" for the time you will be on campus. There is usually a cost to secure this coverage. Please check with your insurance agency for more information.
We recommend that you schedule a visit to view the wedding site and review your arrangements with us at least one month prior to the wedding.