Civic receptions and events

To mark special events or achievements, the Council may provide hospitality in the form of a civic reception. These can range from small buffets and presentations to large formal dinners depending on the nature of the occasion, the number of participants and the venue. The events are funded by the City's Common Good Fund.

Examples include a welcome event for an international conference being held in the city, a reception to celebrate a major anniversary of a local organisation, or the launch of a new community project.

The Council will consider granting hospitality to:

  • Promote new initiatives which help deliver key priorities of the Council
  • Welcome major events to Aberdeen which have clear economic, social or promotional benefits to the city
  • Recognise outstanding achievement by individuals, groups or organisations from the city

Decisions to grant civic receptions are taken by Officers of the Council in consultation with the Lord Provost and the Convener of the Finance and Resources Committee. 

Applications which do not fall within the three categories above are unlikely to be granted. If you are not sure whether your application will meet the criteria, please contact us before you submit your request. Repeated annual requests should be avoided. Organisations are asked not to apply for hospitality on more than one occasion in the same financial year.

You can submit an application using the following form:

Please apply no later than 8 weeks before the date of the proposed event. Late applications will not normally be considered. 

Remembrance Sunday

Remembrance Sunday is the day traditionally put aside to remember the sacrifices made by members of the Armed Forces in the service of the country.  In Aberdeen, serving and ex-military personnel join the Lord Provost, Councillors and other public representatives for a short service at the War Memorial, Cowdray Hall and Schoolhill. Remembrance Sunday falls annually on the second Sunday in November.

Kirkin' o' the Council

The Kirkin' o' the Council takes place on the first Sunday following the statutory meeting of the Council after the periodic ordinary election of Councillors. A procession of Councillors and civic dignitaries makes its way from the Town House to the Kirk of St Nicholas Uniting for a service in which Members of the Council dedicate themselves to working for the 'common weal' (overall wellbeing) of the city and its citizens.

Freedom of the City

Freedom of the City is the highest honour that the Council can bestow.  The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 states that "a local authority may, by resolution passed by not less than two-thirds of the members voting thereon at a meeting of the authority the notice of which specifies the proposed admission as an item of business, admit to be honorary freemen of their area persons of distinction and any persons who have rendered eminent service to their area."

In order for such a resolution to be considered by Aberdeen City Council, a motion signed by no less than two-thirds of the members must be lodged in accordance with the Standing Orders.

The most recent recipients of the Freedom of the City were Denis Law (2017), Scotland the What? (2008), The Highlanders, 4th Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (2006), Professor John Mallard OBE (2004) and Sir Alex Ferguson CBE (1999).

Read more about the history of the Freedom of Aberdeen here.

Aberdeen City Council’s Headquarters, Marischal College, is one of the largest granite buildings in the world and its impressive gothic revival façade is stunning when lit.

If you would like Marischal College to be lit up to coincide with a charity day, charity event or other significant occasion, please send an email with details of your request to

The Lord Provost will consider you application and you will be notified regarding the outcome by a member of the Civic Team.  Please note that the decision of the Lord Provost is final.

Civic Affairs Officer
Town House
AB10 1LP

01224 523573

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