Planning your reception

Your reception in one of Northwestern's elegant facilities will make your wedding celebration an event to remember. Our facilities and delicious cuisine are also available for rehearsal dinners, bridal showers and gift openings, and we even offer dressing room refreshments for your special day. 

Bon Appetit custom restaurant bowls of fruit on white table cloth

Bon Appétit Management Company

Bon Appétit is an on-site, custom restaurant company that provides café and catering services for all Northwestern events. Bon Appétit is known for its culinary expertise, commitment to socially responsible food sourcing and business practices, and strong partnerships with respected conservation organizations. Bon Appétit strives to create food that is alive with flavor and nutrition, prepared from scratch using authentic ingredients.

From the first time you visit University of Northwestern to the day of your wedding, you can expect consistent and professional service with the highest ethical standards. Bon Appétit will coordinate the details of your event according to your needs and will manage the catering process from beginning to end.

Reception facilities

Nazareth Great Room decorated with white wedding decorations and lights

Nazareth Great Room

The elegant, newly renovated Nazareth Great Room is our largest venue, with seating for up to 288 people. This exquisitely decorated hall is adorned with beautiful chandeliers and pleasingly neutral colors that can accommodate an array of colors and decorations, from formal to casual.

During the day, sunlight pours in the many windows to offer a pleasing view of the courtyard, while evening receptions take on a glow of their own with shimmering light from the chandeliers and candles.

Your guests will enjoy your special slide or video presentations on large, state-of-the-art monitors and an outstanding sound system.


Rehearsal dinner venues

Professor teaching class in Graham Commons classroom

Graham Commons, Room G227

The intimate setting on Room 227 in the Graham Commons offers an exquisite high wood-beamed ceiling and gorgeous wall of windows. Located on the second floor of the Graham Commons this dining room can be decorated for both formal and casual events to suit the needs of your rehearsal dinner. Seating for 48 guests.


Youderian Center organized for rehearsal dinner

Youderian Center

With breathtaking views of Lake Johanna, the Youderian Missional Center on the third floor of Nazareth Hall provides a welcoming setting for your rehearsal dinner of up to 60 people.

This intimate setting features a vaulted ceiling with heavy stained-wood beams and a fireplace set in a carved stone surround.


Outdoor receptions

The outdoor courtyard of Nazareth Hall is a lovely venue for a small reception, rehearsal dinner or bridal shower.

Reception details


Reservations can be made by calling the wedding coordinator. You may hold a wedding and reception time for two weeks without a deposit. At some point within the two weeks you would need to request the contracts. A deposit of $675 for the reception and $450 for the chapel is due with the contracts. These deposits are applied to your final bill. We accept cash, check, Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

Purchase minimums

There is no rental fee for the Nazareth Great Room. Food purchase minimums vary by day and time for your event. Contact the wedding coordinator at for details.

Dance policy

University of Northwestern invities you to host a wedding dance as part of your reception in our exquiste Nazareth Great Room. Any dancing that is part of a wedding reception festivities must be family-oriented and wholesome.

Dancing may be incorporated with a Nazareth Great Room reception on Friday evenings, Saturday evenings and Sundays. If you choose to have a dance with your reception, a Dance Package fee will be charged. Couples must use a disc jockey service from the University of Northwestern Approved DJ List. All approved DJs are required to work from a pre-approved music list for any event at Northwestern. A limited number of songs may be submitted to your DJ for approval, if a song you would like is not on the list.

Attendance guarantee

It is necessary to guarantee the exact number of guests attending your reception. This guarantee must be finalized at least ten days prior to your event. Billing of all food, taxes, service fee, and equipment rental (if applicable) will be based on the guarantee. We customarily prepare for 10% above your guarantee (10 maximum). We cannot refund any money for guests who are unable to attend due to weather-related causes.

Service charge and sales tax

Food prices are subject to 17% service charge and state sales tax. There is sales tax on the service charge, required by the state of Minnesota.

Final payment

An invoice will be sent to you so that all wedding and reception costs can be paid in full prior to the event. The payment due date will be indicated on your invoice as well as on your contract. Please pay by check, credit card or money order made payable to University of Northwestern.

If you would like additional specialty items, special or extra linens, etc., they will need to be rented. The rental fees will be applied to your final invoice.

Cancellation policy

If cancellation is necessary, the deposit will be refunded only if the same date and time are rebooked by another party. If a cancellation is made within 72 hours of the scheduled event, 50% of your estimated total will be charged, based on your attendance guarantee.

Food and beverage regulations

Due to Minnesota Health Department Regulations and Bon Appétit Management Company Policy, Bon Appétit must prepare food and beverage consumed on the premises. In addition, Health Department Regulations prohibits guests from taking home extra food and beverage. This policy excludes wedding cakes. Alcohol, including communion wine, is prohibited on campus. We reserve the right to dispose of any alcohol found on the premises.

Provided decor

  • Table linens, napkins

  • Table skirting

  • Glass votive candle holders

  • Vases and mirror tiles (12" square or round)


"Outstanding service throughout! Our wedding was amazing.Thank you for making it so special."