On-Premise Catering Policies

These policies apply to events hosted in the University Unions including the Michigan Union, Michigan League and Pierpont Commons.

Food and Beverage Policies


All catered events are subject to:

  • $35.00 minimum food and beverage sales
  • State of Michigan sales tax
  • 18% Gratuity
  • $35.00 minimum gratuity (for commercial and U-M department events)

To ensure quality of food and service, food and beverage orders should be confirmed three weeks prior to the event date. While every effort is made to accommodate last-minute requests, a minimum of one week’s notice is generally required for all events.

All prices are subject to change. Food and beverage pricing may be confirmed a maximum of two months in advance based on the selected menu.

Due to health department regulations, leftover perishable foods may not be removed from any event by anyone except Michigan Catering staff. This policy addresses public safety concerns and is non-negotiable. (Examples of acceptable items to remove: whole fruit, baked goods and canned sodas). Michigan Catering works closely with Food Gatherers to donate unused food items.

All menus are based upon a 90-minute service period. Food items will be removed at the end of the service period to maintain food quality.

Guest Guarantees

The final guaranteed count must be provided a minimum of five business days prior to the event. The final charge will be based on the guaranteed count or actual number served, whichever is greater.


While reasonable effort will be made to minimize cancellation charges, groups will be held responsible for all charges incurred as a result of any commitments made to facilitate the event.  Events canceled within three business days may be charged up to 100% of the total estimated food and beverage charges.

Payment Policies

For commercial events, advanced payment of all estimated charges is required two weeks in advance of the event in the form of:

  • a check or money order payable to “University of Michigan” or
  • a Visa, Master Card, American Express or Discover credit card payment

Refunds will be distributed in the same form as the original payment method after accounting is complete.

University Departments and student organizations must pay with a University Short Code.

Student organizations must deposit adequate funds to cover all charges in their S.O.A.S. accounts no later than one week prior to the scheduled event.

Multiple Entrées

For served meals, an additional $1.00 per person will be charged when multiple entrées are offered.

Alcohol Service

As a licensed facility, the University Unions are subject to all rules and regulations of the State of Michigan’s Liquor Control Commission. No alcohol, other than that provided by Michigan Catering, may be served within our facilities. Additionally, no alcohol can be removed from the event room or University Unions facilities.

At all events where alcohol will be served, the hosting organization will be notified of any special requirements relating to the service of alcohol. All associated expenses will be the responsibility of the hosting organization.

For events hosted by student organizations or with an expected attendance of two-thirds or more students, the following conditions must be met:

  • Division of Public Safety and Security officers and/or faculty or staff chaperones (determined by facility management)
  • Non-transferable identification procedures (i.e. wrist banding)
  • Cash bar service only

At all events where alcohol will be served, the host must provide food of a substantial nature for the guests. For receptions, food of a substantial nature is equivalent to a minimum of three hors d’oeuvre portions per person attending the event for each hour of bar service.

Bar service is limited to four hours. For events including a full meal service, one hour of wine service may be added during meal service.  Bar service may begin no earlier than one hour prior to meal service and must end one hour prior to the end of the event.

Due to the scope of the liquor licenses; changes to alcohol service times may only be accommodated under strict circumstances.

  • If the request is submitted prior to the event start, Michigan Catering may adjust the contract
  • If the request is submitted after the event start, the change may only be approved by the Director of Michigan Catering based on availability of TAM-certified staff and the review and acceptance of any applicable charges
  • Under no circumstances can the overall alcohol service time exceed five hours of service or extend beyond the room reservation hours

All bartenders are trained in and observe the “Techniques of Alcohol Management.”  In an effort to maintain the health and safety of guests, the following parameters apply to alcohol service:

  • All drinks must be served with the appropriate amounts of mixers and ice
  • No straight shots of any liquor or combination of three or more liquors will be served
  • All beer, wine and mixed drinks will be provided in individual servings

In regard to alcohol service, Michigan Catering reserves the following rights:

  • to limit the maximum number of drinks an individual may purchase at one time
  • to deny alcoholic beverage service to anyone at any time
  • to recheck ID’s
  • to shut down alcohol service entirely

Additional Policies and Guidelines


No candles of any kind are permissible in University Unions facilities. The alternative to candles is LED votives, pillars or tealights.

China and Silverware

We provide china, stemware and flatware for your event at no additional charge. Samples are available in our office. Silver-plated and gold-plated flatware, white china, ivory china with a gold band and gold and silver chargers are also available as rental items.

Parking and Valet Service

Michigan League: Parking is available at the Fletcher Street Parking Structure after 4:30 pm Monday – Friday and all day Saturday. All Fletcher Street Structure parking arrangements must be made with your Event Coordinator at least two weeks in advance. Events Monday – Saturday always require a parking attendant.

Michigan Union: Parking is available at the Thompson Parking Structure. After 6 pm Monday – Saturday and all day on Sundays your guests may park for free unless Parking Services is staffing an attendant for another special event. Events starting before 6 pm Monday through Saturday require a parking attendant.

Please contact your Event Coordinator for additional information about payment options, per vehicle parking fees, parking attendant fees and valet parking service providers.

Place Cards

Place cards should be delivered in alphabetical order and contain the guest’s name, table number and menu choice, if applicable. If you are offering a choice of plated entrées, please code your place cards (Ex. B for Beef, C for Chicken, F for Fish, K for Kid’s Meal, Vegan for Vegan and V for Vegetarian). Please also provide a list of the meal selections by table (Ex. Table #1 – 2 Chicken, 5 Beef and 1 Vegetarian).

Preferred Vendors

Your Event Coordinator will provide you with a list of suggested vendors from cake designers to valet parking providers. Please feel free to contact them directly or request that we handle those arrangements for you.


Michigan League: Five foot diameter round tables are available to seat 6-8 guests. We have a limited number of six foot diameter round tables that accommodate 9-10 guests.

Michigan Union: Six foot diameter round tables are available to seat up to 10 guests.

Both facilities have a limited number of café and bistro tables for hors d’oeuvres receptions and a limited number of high chairs and booster seats. We are happy to provide table numbers and stands upon request.

Table Linens

There is no charge for standard white 90” square tablecloths and white napkins when a full meal has been purchased. Please note that our tablecloths are not round, nor are they floor length. Rectangular or square banquet cloths with white skirting are provided for gift, cake and place card tables at no charge. A variety of napkin colors are also available; additional charges apply. Full-length white tablecloths, colored or patterned linen tablecloths, specialty napkins, overlays with liners, chair covers with sashes and Chiavari chairs are all available at various rental prices.  For wedding receptions only, we provide floor length, round white tablecloths at no additional charge.

Vendor Meals

Please contact your vendors (DJ, band, photographer, videographer, etc.) regarding their meal/break policy. Please inform your Event Coordinator of their meal/break requirements and seating arrangements.

Vendor Set-up

In general the room will be ready to receive centerpieces, special plants, cakes, musicians or disc jockeys approximately one hour prior to the start time of your event. Please let us know if this is not sufficient. Providing the room is available for an early set up, there will be a charge associated with early access or set-up of the room. Service providers should be aware that the loading dock doors may be locked, in which case they will need to request access at the facility information desk. Please instruct your vendors to contact your Event Coordinator to confirm timelines and for additional information.

Wedding Ceremony and Wedding Dinner Reception

When the Ballroom is reserved for both the wedding ceremony and the dinner reception, the following guidelines will be applied:

  • Pipe and drape must be rented for the ceremony
  • A minimum of 1 ½ hours is required to change the Ballroom from a ceremony set-up to a dinner reception set- up
  • A $200.00 room turn fee will be applied
  • You will need to rent additional rooms to accommodate your guests for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while we reset the ballroom

Wedding Cake and Favors

The wedding cake and favors are the only foods that may be supplied by an outside source. There is a $.50 per person cake-cutting service fee; $.25 per person cupcake service fee. These fees cover the cost of providing plates, forks and clean-up.

If you are offering favors or menu cards that need to be placed at each table setting, we will happily place them for you. Please have these preassembled items delivered to our office three days before your event, along with alphabetized place cards.

Wedding Rehearsals

If your wedding ceremony is scheduled with us, we will make every effort to accommodate your rehearsal. Unfortunately, we will not be able to confirm your rehearsal until one week prior to your event. We therefore strongly recommend that you have an alternate plan in case the space is not available.