The guidelines are provided to help assist you with planning a successful and memorable post-commencement ceremony reception.  Please read them carefully.

The College provides you with the physical reception site and a set of guidelines for the use of said site.

Group Size Guidelines

  • Each reception site is limited to a designated number of graduates.  See Site Locations for the max numbers for each location.  For example, if a site location has 30 max guests, this means there is space for 2 graduates with 15 guests each (not including the graduate).
  • Each designated reception site has a maximum number of 15 guests per graduate that can be accommodated in the space provided.
  • Multiple parties are often assigned to the same reception site. 


All graduates hosting post-ceremony receptions on Saturday, May 21, 2016 at Saint Mary's College of California are held responsible for following all of the conditions outlined in your signed Facility Use Agreement and the Alcohol Responsibility Form.  

The following guidelines and procedures must also be followed in addition to those stated in the Facility Use Agreement:

  • Set up for your reception cannot begin prior to 12:00 Noon on Friday, May 20, 2016. The College cannot guarantee the security of your reception site and/or any items (i.e., canopies, barbecues, tables, chairs, etc.) left on your site.

  • Catering Vendors are allowed to set-up at a site location or a designated vendor location, the cost is $50.00 per student group. All catering vendors wishing to be on site the day of commencements must register with the Meetings, Events, and Conference Services. Catering Vendors that are not register and set-up will be asked to leave.

  • Receptions cannot begin prior to the official conclusion of the Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 21, 2016, and must end by 4:00 pm that day.

  • All reception furnishings must be removed by 6:00 pm on Saturday, May 21, 2016. You will be provided with a clean reception site for your graduation social. You are required to return the site to its original state. Failure to do so may result in additional fees being charged to the account of the designated site "Sponsor".
  • You are solely responsible for the contracting of vendors and/or caterers, reception provisions, site set-up, reception management and cleaning up your site. The College does not endorse or recommend any particular catering service and/or rental company.
  • All reception furnishings (i.e., canopies, tables, buffet tables, etc.) must be chosen carefully to fit within the confines of the space allotted to your reception.

    a) The College does not provide reception furnishings. Do not remove any College equipment and/or furnishings from one campus area to another.

    b) If you are assigned an area with existing tables, BBQ equipment, chairs and/or other amenities, you are to divide them according to the number of groups assigned to that specific reception site. Please be considerate of each other.

    c) Only open canopies (no enclosed tents) are to be used.   If you are part of a large graduation group (i.e. 12 graduates) and are planning on having a canopy larger than 20’ X 20’ on your reception site, you must procure the proper permit from the Moraga Fire Department or your vendor. Canopies MAY NOT be spiked into the ground, you must use water to hold them up!

  • You are responsible for adhering to California state law and College policy concerning the consumption, use and provision of alcohol to guests (and non-guests who stop by) at your graduation reception. No common-source of alcohol is permitted, including but not limited to party balls, beer bongs, kegs, cocktail machines, beer pong tables and ice sluices. Common-source of alcohol is also defined as a quantity of alcohol more than can be responsibly consumed by an individual. No hard alcohol is allowed. Only wine, beer and champagne may be served and consumed.   NOTE: No beer pong tables and no ice luges are allowed on campus premises during post-graduation receptions, regardless of how they are used.
  • Do not add additional graduates to your reception group without prior written clearance from the Conference Services office. Please be aware that the space you are assigned for your reception is largely decided by your original reception site request that takes into consideration the number of graduates in your group. The addition of another graduate also implies the addition of their guests and this could cramp the space you were originally allotted.
  • If you are coordinating a reception site for a number of your classmates, please be considerate of their needs and ability to participate in this reception as it is their celebration as well. Try to keep the celebration modest and the price reasonable.
  • You must plan your reception for the space you have been allotted through Meetings, Events, & Conference Services. You may not negotiate or enact a site change without the express written permission of the Conference Services office. If you have the consent of another group to consider a relocation of your reception site (a trading of), you must both make a formal written request through Meetins, Events, & Conference Services. 

Congratulations on this momentous occasion and blessings on your future endeavors. If Meetings, Events, & Conference Services can be of further assistance to you in the planning of your post-ceremony reception, please feel free to call us at ext. 4030 or email at [email protected]. Office hours are 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.

Commencement Grads

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Saint Mary's College of California
1928 Saint Mary's Road
Moraga, CA 94575
(925) 631-4000
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