Rental Frequently Asked Questions | LSU Hilltop Arboretum

Rental Frequently Asked Questions

What is your capacity for events?

Our maximum capacity for any event is 150. The capacity for the Beverly Brown Coates Auditorium in the Imo Brown Complex is 72. The Cherry Owens Library capacity is 22.

Are there any restrictions on music?

Yes! We do not permit live amplified bands. You are welcome to have a DJ or acoustical music (i.e., a string quartet). If music is going to be outside, we have a specific place on the pavilion where music needs to be set up. We monitor sounds levels during events and if the Hilltop Representative determines that the music is too loud, you will be required to turn it down or forfeit your deposit.

Where do people park?

Our parking lot can accommodate up to 40 guest vehicles and that includes cars parallel parked between our main parking lot and the auditorium. If your event has more than 40-50 people and you need more than 40 parking spaces (including caterers, musicians, and any other vendors), then you are required to arrange for off-site parking and shuttle people in. You are responsible for all of the costs and arrangements for parking and shuttle services. Shuttle vehicles should hold a maximum of 35 passengers as larger vehicles cannot maneuver in our parking lot. Parking in the adjoining neighborhoods is not permitted.

Do you require event insurance?

Yes, the Agreement for Use of Facilities and Premises Form (PDF) outlines all of the details about the coverage required and the specifics for how the policy is to be endorsed. Proof of insurance for the event as well as for all contractors and subcontractors must be received by Friends of Hilltop Arboretum at least 30 days prior to your event.

Do you provide catering? Or require certain caterers?

We do not provide catering services. All caterers must be licensed and insured. We recommend you use LSU approved caterers as they carry the required insurance needed.

What does it cost to rent the facility?

The price depends on a number of factors: which part(s) of the facility is being rented, the day of the week, the time of day, the length of time, and whether the rental party is a non-profit organization or a department from LSU. Facility Rental Rates (PDF)

Is smoking allowed?

No, we are a non-smoking facility. This includes E-Cigs and Vapes.

Is alcohol allowed?

Yes, at private rental events. Bartenders must be licensed and insured, with proof provided to Friends of Hilltop Arboretum at least 30 days prior to your event.

What is the process to make a reservation?

Complete an Agreement for Use of Facilities and Premises Form (PDF), the appropriate Application Form (Event or Meeting) and make a non-refundable payment of 50% of the rental fee plus refundable deposit.

Is any part of the rental fee refundable?

Yes, the rental fee includes a $500 refundable deposit. The deposit will be returned, within thirty days following the event, provided there is no damage; the facility was left as it was found; and the event did not run overtime. Damages exceeding the deposit are the responsibility of the Renter. The renting party’s failure to strictly comply with Agreement for Use of Facilities and Premises will also result in forfeiture of the deposit.

Do you require security?

Yes, security is required for events. We arrange for the security officer, paid for by the Renter, to be here from an hour before your event begins through the end of take down.

How far in advance can I book an event?

We accept reservations 12 months in advance.

What is the latest we can hold an event?

All events must end by 10:00pm. Clean up can go later but the party ends at 10:00.

What are the dimensions of the rental spaces?

Beverly Brown Coates Auditorium is 30’x40’
Margaret Holmes Brown Pavilion is 38’ x 60’
Bert Turner Courtyard is 38’ x 60’
Cherry Owens Library is 35’ x 13’

What do people do about mosquitoes?

We recommend you call Baton Rouge Mosquito Abatement (225-356-3297) the week of your event and ask them to come out and spray. While they will not spray all 14 acres, they will spray around the main areas that are going to be used. Depending on the time of year, you might also consider having bug spray available for your guests to use.

Do you have A/V equipment available for meetings?

Yes, the auditorium is equipped with a projector, screen, and podium with connection cables. There is a nominal fee for using our A/V equipment.

Is Wi-Fi available for meetings?

Yes, and passwords are provided the day of rental.

Do you have pictures of weddings that have taken place at Friends of Hilltop Arboretum?

We have a few pictures posted on our Engagement and Wedding Photography page.You can also find a number of other pictures by searching for Hilltop Arboretum on the internet.

Can we decorate?

Yes, you are welcome to decorate.  No nails, staples or tape can be used, so we recommend tying decorations onto the rails, cables, beams, etc. or you can use Command® Pull-Tangers. If you want to hang additional lighting in the courtyard, you need to rent stands as we do not want the trees used for this purpose. Open flames are not allowed, candles need to be enclosed. You are required to remove all decorations at the end of your event.

Do you provide trash cans or do we need to bring our own?

We provide cardboard trash boxes and bag liners. You are responsible for making sure all trash is taken to and put in the dumpster at the end of your event.

Do you have tables and chairs to rent?

We do have tables and chairs for outside use available for rent. The chairs are $2/each and the tables are $5/each. You are responsible for set up and take down for any rented furnishings. We have 8’ rectangular tables, no rounds.

Is there a place for the bride and bridal party to get ready?

Yes, sort of. We were designed to be an arboretum, not a wedding venue, so we make do with what we have. Typically the bride and bridesmaids get ready in the office area. There is a bathroom and plenty of space. Please note we do not have a full length mirror. The groom and groomsmen usually prepare in the library space.

Does the office stay locked so bridesmaids can leave bags and purses?


Can we have a crawfish boil?

No, crawfish boils are not allowed on site.

Do you have a clean-up crew?

No, you are responsible for making sure the facility is cleaned and returned to its original state. This includes hauling all of the garbage and placing it in the dumpster.

Any other hints from previous wedding couples?

Yes, it has been suggested to advise guests to wear appropriate footwear for an outdoor venue. There are some wide gaps in the planks in the pavilion which are a hazard for people wearing shoes with spike heels.