\ Wedding Catering: Choosing a Caterer

Southern Alberta's wedding, honeymoon and special occasion planning website offers tips and information for planning your special event.

Useful wedding advice, tips, questions for planning your wedding.

Wedding Catering

You want your wedding feast to be special, so it is important to take care when choosing your caterer. Whether your reception venue comes with a caterer, or you are hiring a separate caterer, here are some fundamental questions to ask to ensure your wedding banquet is exactly what you want.

Menu Choices and Reception Styles

There are so many types of food to choose from when selecting your menu. The style of your reception will help determine the type of food you choose. You can have a traditional sit down dinner, buffet, or a cocktail reception. Your personal preferences, budget and choice of venue will help you decide on the menu.


Tell your caterer your budget at the start. It's best not to presume that a buffet or cocktail reception is less expensive than a sit down dinner. The cost depends on the type of food served, not necessarily how it's served.

Food Preparation

Does the caterer use fresh food and produce, or will some of the food be canned or frozen? Will all of the food be cooked in-house, or will some be purchased pre-made food from another source?

Number of Guests

Ask if quote prices are based on a minimum number of wedding guests. There may be additional fees if the minimum number is not met.


Ask the caterer what the ratio is for servers to guests.

Dress Code

Ask how the wait staff will be dressed.

Ethnic Food

Ask the caterer if they would be able to prepare dishes that aren't on their catering menu. If you have a favorite "family" dish or ethnic food that is special to you and your family, many caterers will customize to suit the bridge and grooms wishes.

Food Sampling

Ask your caterer if you can taste some of the caterer's dishes. You can taste the freshness and flavor for yourself.


Ask the caterer what is normally done with the leftover food. Sometimes leftover meat, etc. is used for a midnight snack during the dance. Some brides choose to have the food packaged up and brought home, but some caterers don't allow this because they cannot guarantee that the food is going to be stored properly after the dinner.

Wedding Cakes

Can they bake you a wedding cake? Will the caterer cut the cake for you? Is it included in the catering fee or is there an extra charge?


Be sure to include taxes in your budget calculations. Ask if they are included when you obtain quotes.

Tableware and Linens

Find our if table linens, dishes, glassware, and napkins are included in the price. Make sure you look at samples. If you don't like the tableware or linens they offer, you may be able to rent what you need.


Talk to your caterer about decorations. If you are planning a buffet station, some caterers provide floral arrangements and other decorations. Discuss the color theme with your caterer, so that all decorations and floral arrangements coordinate. Some caterers will also provide decorations for the head table and cake table. Ask what they offer, and you may be able to save money and time and time shopping for decorations!


Most caterers display their license. If you are unsure, just ask.


Find out if need a special liquor permit. If you are supplying the alcohol, find out if you will be charged a corkage fee.

Lethbridge Caterers