Weddings & Special Events
Winona State University offers two unique venues for weddings and special events:
The Tau Rotunda's unique circular structure and floor-to-ceiling windows create an intimate setting for small receptions with up to 200 seats. It is available year-round.
Lourdes Dining Hall is a beautiful and elegant venue ideal for larger groups with up to 500 seats. It is available from mid May to early August.
Winona State University is pleased to have Chartwells on-site as the campus food service provider. Whether the occasion calls for traditional fare or a special culinary adventure, Chartwells’ Executive Chef and Catering Director can work with you to create a dining experience carefully tailored to your conference, camp, or special event.
For catering information and special orders, visit Chartwells or call 507.457.2688.
Alcohol may be served in a limited number of campus locations. Please contact us for additional information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can we visit the spaces before we make a decision?
Yes, please give us a call at 507.474.3900 to arrange a visit. We are open M-F from 8am - 4:30pm but may be able to arrange for an evening or weekend visit if you cannot see the spaces during our office hours.
Are these spaces available year-round?
The Tau Center can be reserved year-round; Lourdes Dining Hall is only available when school is not in session = a very short time over winter break and from mid-May to early August.
What is the capacity of these spaces?
The Tau rotunda can seat up to 200 people at round tables; Lourdes Dining Hall can accommodate up to 400 and is one of the largest venues in Winona.
How much does it cost to book the spaces?
Rental fee is $500 for an 8 hour period for each space – we do offer a discount to Winona State University faculty/staff/current students and graduates. If you need the space over 8 hours, there is an additional $15/hour fee.
What is included in the fee?
We take care of all set-up and tear-down of furniture and post minimal signage. You have access to our Tau parking lot and use of our AV equipment (screen/projector/microphones). We do not have any decorations for rent, and linens are rented through catering.
Can we have both ceremony and reception in your spaces?
We do not have the staff to rearrange a room from theater style (chairs only) to reception style (tables and chairs) on the same day. If your event is in the Tau rotunda and is fairly small, you can set up half the rotunda with chairs only for the ceremony, and the other half reception style. This is more easily achieved in Lourdes Dining Hall, which is much larger and has two wings in addition to the main space. You can also book a second conference room for an additional $75 as long as you are already renting the Tau rotunda or the Lourdes Dining Hall. Depending on the season, you could consider having the event outside (behind Tau by the creek or in the Lourdes courtyard), however we do not set up chairs for outside ceremonies. We would still recommend that you rent a second room as your back-up in case of inclement weather.
Once we have made our decision, how do we book the space we want?
Please call us at 507.474.3900 and we will enter the date in the campus-wide online registration system. We will also prepare a rental contract.
Do we need to pay anything when we book?
Once you receive the contract, you will need to print it and return it to us with a $150 deposit.
When will the balance payment be due?
You will be billed for the remainder of the fee after your event. This allows us to bill you for any time over the 8 hours.
What is the insurance requirement?
Prior to Licensee's occupancy of the Space, Licensee shall provide Licensor with a certificate of insurance naming Licensor [= the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, on behalf of Winona State University] as an additional insured and reflecting the following coverage: general liability coverage of $2 million per claim and $2 million annual aggregate. Licensee shall maintain this coverage at its sole expense during its use of the Space.
What is the best way to find insurance?
When do you need the insurance certificate?
We like to have this on file at least one month prior to your event.
We do not plan to serve alcohol, what are our catering options for food?
All licensed food caterers are allowed in the Tau Center. If your event is in Lourdes, you must work with Chartwells, our campus caterer. Please visit the Chartwells website and talk to Catering Director Jen Kouba – 507.457.2688.
We plan to serve alcohol, what are our catering options for food?
You will need to work with Chartwells on both food and alcohol. Please visit the Chartwells website and talk to Catering Director Jen Kouba – 507.457.2688.
What are our options for wedding cake?
You are allowed to work with any outside vendor for the wedding cake to be served both at Tau and in Lourdes.
Who should we talk to regarding alcohol?
The alcohol will be provided by St. Mary’s University division of Chartwells. Please call 507.457.1655 for more information.
When will the space be ready for us to decorate?
The room will be set up for you at noon the day prior to your event. You will be able to come in and decorate during office hours (until 4pm in summer and 4:30pm during the school year) and that time will not count
toward your eight hours. If you need to stay past office hours, we will need to schedule a student worker to act as building monitor and that will start counting toward the eight hours. If you go over the eight hours by the time your event is over, you will be charged an additional $15/hour. The room and the building will be locked after you leave so it is safe to leave decorations overnight.
What decorations are allowed?
You are welcome to hang decorations as long as they are not heavy and you stay away from smoke detectors. We do not allow hanging anything from the high ceilings and chandeliers of the Lourdes Dining Hall, but you may decorate the wrought-iron balconies. We recommend that you use painter’s tape in Lourdes Dining Hall and strong magnets in the Tau rotunda as the beams are metal.
Are candles allowed?
We allow unity candles for ceremonies. Candles are also allowed on the guest tables but we recommend candles that are in a container so that the flame is contained.
Are the spaces carpeted? Will we need to rent a dance floor?
The Tau rotunda is carpeted. Some couples find that it is fine to dance on carpet, but others have preferred to rent a dance floor. We do not have a dance floor for you, but many of our couples have called and worked with a vendor in La Crosse and we can give you his contact information. Lourdes Dining Hall has a tiled floor and is ideal for dancing.
How much parking is available?
There are about 50 spots in front of the Tau Center and a lot of street parking. Tau permit holders are asked to vacate the lot for the duration of the event.
Where are the bathrooms?
We have bathrooms on first floor right off the Tau rotunda, in addition to several more in the basement (access from lobby via stairs or elevator). The Lourdes bathrooms are on the same floor as the Dining Hall.
What sort of AV equipment is available?
The Tau rotunda has a built-in screen and projector with microphones and surround sound. Lourdes Dining Hall has sound and we can bring a portable screen and a projector for you.
How late can we stay in the space?
You need to be out of the building by midnight the day of your rental, so we usually recommend that you start wrapping up your event around 11:30pm. If you have a DJ, you need to make sure they will have enough time to pack up and be out of the building by midnight.
We don’t have time to pick up all our decorations - can we come back another day?
If you are not able to take everything with you after the event, you can store your items at the Tau Center and come back during office hours the following week. If there is no event scheduled in the days after your event, you can leave decorations etc. in the room but we prefer for you to gather them in one part of the room so that Facilities may start to clean up and reset the room.