Formals are one of Hatfield's favourite traditions. Held in the Hall each week throughout the year (twice weekly in Michaelmas term), they are regularly well attended and widely regarded as the best formal in Durham. Formal meals are a traditional part of Hatfield life, with a smart dress code, Latin grace, gowns and High Table. Wine and soft drinks are available at a small price. After dinner, everyone heads over to the College bar to continue socialising, and of course to partake in one of Hatfield’s greatest traditions - College Songs!
In the Michaelmas Term, Formal dinners are held twice each week, on Tuesday and Friday. In the Epiphany Term this is reduced to only Fridays, with some exceptions. There are fewer Formal dinners during the Easter Term because of examinations.
JCR sign up to Formals is coordinated by the JCR Secretary, Dom Cornfield, and takes place on a “first come, first served” basis. Livers-In sign-up takes place outside of the bar annexe at 17:00 on Sundays for Tuesday Formals and at the same time on Wednesdays for Friday formals. If for any reason you are unable to make sign-up but wish to attend, please contact the JCR Secretary. Livers-Out sign-up is via an online system and using their Durham login.
The JCR subsidises the cost of formal for members. Currently, Livers-In attendance is free for normal formals and £3 for Guest Nights, while Livers-Out attendance is £3 for normal formals and £5 for Guest Nights. While non-Hatfield guests are welcome to attend, they pay the unsubsidised price of £8 for normal formals and £10 for Guest Nights.
The dress code for normal formals is academic dress (suit and tie or dress, with gown). Guest Nights, which have a more formal atmosphere (and usually include a cheese course and live music), are black tie. You may be denied entrance into the hall if you are not in appropriate dress! If necessary, gowns may be hired for guests from the Exec prior to the start of formal, but you must notify the JCR Secretary in advance as there are a limited number available.
Attendees should gather in the college bar from 18:30 for a 19:00 start. You are allowed to purchase wine or soft drinks on the way into the hall, water and squash are available at no cost.
The full formal guidelines can be found here.
...it would be rude not to!