Holding a Private Party While Social Distancing: A Guide

The country has never been in more need of a knees up than we are right now, but private party planning is certainly not what it used to be. Local lockdowns, the rule of six and social distancing, the guidelines are constantly changing and with that so are the ways in which we are legally allowed to socialise. But there are still plenty of private party ideas to ensure that no celebration should go unmarked. From COVID compliant wedding receptions to virtual office parties, our many years of experience in private party catering has allowed us to draw on our experiences and expertise in order to provide private catering no matter what the next government announcement may be!

How do you have a socially distant party?

We’ve all had to adjust to social distance and safety measures to allow for life to resume and so too is now the case when it comes to throwing a private party! Longer length dining tables, extra space between guests, safety screens and outdoor dining options are all new measures we have introduced as part of our private party planning options. Here at Social Pantry, we have re-thought our entire private party catering options to ensure maximum safety for our clients whatever the occasion.

Can I host dinners at the moment?

This entirely depends on the rules and regulations in your region, as we are seeing local lockdowns becoming the way in which the country manages the second wave during the winter months.  The safest option to stick to when private party planning is to keep your guest numbers to a minimum. With the recently introduced ‘rule of six’ it is no longer legal to provide private catering to larger groups, something we all hope to see change soon but for now, we must plan for gatherings on a much smaller scale this season.

Catering for a private party


Whether you choose to seek the assistance of a professional private catering service or plan to provide the menu on your own, when throwing a more intimate private party it’s worth bearing in mind that the food served will be a much bigger part of the evening than a larger gathering where guests may expect more of a buffet-style offering. The menu will undoubtedly take centre stage at a dinner party and with less guests it allows you to nail one of the most important elements of the evening. Have a look into your local private catering options. Hiring private catering doesn’t have to be reserved for grand dinner parties and extra special occasions. We offer a personalised private party planning service starting from £35pp and can cater for groups as small as four people.


Establish from the early on the mood and feel you want to create for your private party. It may be a birthday bash, seasonal celebration or simply a gathering of good friends, whatever the reason make sure you consider the ambience when private party planning. Candles and lighting can be a truly effective way to decorate your table and create a special feel for your event. If you’re not creating the menu personally a private catering service is also able to suggest ways in which to compliment the menu through simple added extras such as seasonal blooms and selected scents.


Establish a budget from the beginning when you start to consider your private party ideas. With a limited number of guests it may allow you to allocate more budget to elements you wouldn’t usually consider or perhaps go for extra special options to make your private party even more impressive.  Prioritise the most important elements of your private party and look at ways you can save without compromising on quality.

What food to have at a party?

Think about the purpose of your private party and the guests in attendance. With such a small number of guests it can allow you to be much more tailored and considered. Dietary requirements can easily be covered with smaller private party catering and you could also give thought to personal aspects of the menu. Is there a specific dish you can recreate from a special occasion, a favourite desert for the birthday guy or gal or a local delicacy from a holiday destination you all once visited? Let the time of year also influence your menu and go for locally sourced seasonal produce when possible.

What drinks to serve at a party?

When the party is limited in numbers it also allows you to give more thought to the drinks menu. Can more budget be allocated to that extra special bottle to mark the occasion? Cocktails are a great way of making a private party feel more special. There are endless private party ideas which show simple ways to impress your guests with special cocktails, have fun with your menu and get creative with your cocktail names. Make sure to also consider all of your guests when thinking about your drinks menu and don’t forget to offer non-alcoholic refreshments.  A private catering service is also able to provide you with a drinks menu so explore all of your options from the start. It can be cheaper to buy your own alcohol but if you consider the drinkware and accessories needed to really wow your guests it may become more viable to go with a caterer.

Party playlist

It’s an element that is often overlooked but your private party playlist is a vital part of creating the perfect mood for your get-together. Allocate some time before your guests arrive to ensure you have a good couple of hours’ worth of playlist ready to go. The last thing you need to worry about when entertaining is a sudden silence or a mood-killing song. Music streaming services such as Spotify offer an optendless amount of ready-made party playlists, you’ll be sure to find one that is certain to please!


Here at Social Pantry we are constantly adapting our services to align with the current guidelines and would love to discuss how we may be able to assist in your private party planning. Our cafés, Crane’s Kitchen in South London Gallery and Social Pantry Café in Battersea, are also available to hold private party events which you can find more info on here – Social Pantry Cafe, Crane’s Kitchen 


For more information about how Social Pantry can provide socially distanced private party catering, check out our catering services here. Otherwise, you can make an enquiry today and we’ll get back to you!