Fraternity Formal Booking Issues

Fraternity Formal

This question was submitted by one of our readers. If you have a question you want me to answer go here to submit it: Fraternity Advice.


I am attempting to setup a fraternity formal for a weekend in southern California. We are running into a problem with a lot of locations refusing to accommodate big groups, more specifically a group they assume is going to party. Any suggestions?


This is a tough one with a lot of different factors that come into play.  Let me break the question up into two areas:

Where to Stay

You can play this two ways.  I have done both and will explain each.

First, you can rent the place out in a brother’s name and have the fraternity reimburse him.  I have been the guy with renting houses at the beach.  Of course, the lease specifically says that the renters can not be a fraternity, but I figured that I had a loophole because I was cutting the check.

The second way is you can get a group rate at a hotel and have brothers rent hotel rooms.

The first way is much cheaper.  However, as the guy who signed on the dotted line I never enjoyed the weekend because I was worried that something would happen.

Also, I know of a chapter who did exactly what I did but caused some damage to the house.  The owner of the house looked up the brother who rented it on facebook and soon realized it was really a fraternity function.  The chapter paid all damages, but the owner still caused a stink and reported the chapter to the university.  The chapter spent the year on social probation as a result.

Because of the liability involved, I strongly advise taking the second option when planning your fraternity formal.

Where to Have the Formal Dinner

I imagine this is the real core of your question.  If a restaurant doesn’t want your business, have your chapter advisor or Greek Life director call on your behalf.  With all the negative publicity fraternities get in the news (some deserved) you can understand why a business owner does not want to take a chance that a rowdy group will destroy his business.  He will see the risk involved isn’t worth your business.  However, if someone respected vouches for you, then he may change his mind.

If they still don’t want your business, then screw them.  There are plenty of people out there that want your money.  It may take you a little more effort than you’d like to find them, but you will.

One more idea – don’t discount having the hotel you are staying out host the formal dinner.  They often will give you a deal on rooms, and it is always smart to eliminate transportation.  This will probably always be your best bet.

Above all else though, remember that you represent all fraternity men when you are at a formal function away from campus.  The reason you have this question is because brothers before you acted like idiots.  Don’t perpetuate the stereotype!

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