Planning Tips


  • Prepare a list and schedule of things to be done, by when and by whom?
  • Determine the reason for holding the event or dinner.
  • When selecting your caterer, find out about their experience – ask whom they’ve worked for? Give examples of some of the menus and sizes of events, as well as ask for references. 
  • Do you have an event theme? Would you like the caterer to make suggestions?
  • Have you considered a token of appreciation or gift for your guests?
  • Decide what you need your caterer to do? Does the budget you set include costs for having the caterer provide these services?
  • Have you budgeted for service gratuities on your food costs? Taxes?
  • Who will provide or arrange for linens, tableware, cutlery and centerpieces – you, your event planner or the caterer?
  • Prepare a budget – understand what you have to spend? Where your limits are? What areas of your budget are flexible? Does this budget include tableware, rentals, linens, menus, gifts, etc?
  • Will seating be pre-assigned? Have you assigned your seats? Are there any quests that the caterer needs to be aware for presentations or special meals?
  • What is space like at your facility? Is there enough room for buffet tables? How large is the kitchen? Are there heating facilities for heating and refrigerating the foods? The caterer may also want to view the facility in advance of preparing a cost proposal for you. This will help the caterer to determine if additional storage and heating equipment or facilities are required, and recommend menus. The kitchen and room layout also influence what serving styles are appropriate. 
  • Find out from your caterer what space requirements they have for serving of different menus.
  • Have you given your caterer an itinerary for the evening? Let the caterer know what time guests will be arriving, when speeches will be made and entertainment performed?
  • Have you considered in your itinerary a time for introducing the caterer and staff to your guests? Is it most appropriate, before or after the meal?
  • Do you require special meals – i.e. do any of your guests have food allergies? Are any vegetarians or Vegans or have any other dietary requirements? Let your caterer know what they are, and how many people when the caterer is preparing a menu for you or you are selecting your menu. It helps for plated service if you have a way for the caterer to know where they people are seated – i.e. seating plan, colored ribbon, nametag, or unique place setting. 
  • Will you need a blessing of the food?
  • Have you prepared a site map?
  • f possible, arrange for a tasting to sample the menu you’ve chosen or the caterer’s suggested. This will give you a chance to see and experience the presentation to ensure all elements of your event are synchronized.
  • Meet the caterer in advance to discuss your food and event needs. If there is an event planner involved, ensure they are also at this meeting.
  • Do you need a menu card? A menu card can heighten the experience for your guests informing them in advance of what to expect and if you select First Nation foods, the card will help you introduce them to the First Nation culture. 
  • Don’t forget to provide the deposit 30 days in advance.
  • Have you confirmed the final number of guests three (3) days before your event?
  • Provide any comments, feedback or suggestions to your Caterer after the event.