So it’s safe to say 2020 is not a year many will look back on fondly, and with celebrations and social activities being strictly forbidden for the majority of it, gatherings of any kind are still uncertain as we all try and navigate the ever-changing rules and regulations of the pandemic. But as we make our way through the winter months, social gatherings are still possible as the rule of six allows us to enjoy the company of friends and family, albeit in a smaller group. Here at Social Pantry we’ve had to make a lot of changes and have adapted to adhere to the government guidelines in order to provide our private catering services for smaller settings. We’ve rounded up a few of our favourite tips and ideas we’ve picked up over our years of private catering to make the best of parties in a pandemic!
Hire private caterers
The biggest misconception about private catering services is that they should be reserved for large scale events and big budget celebrations. Private party catering can In fact be a brilliant way to bring an extra special element to intimate dinner parties and can save hosts a lot of time, effort and money in comparison to a DIY dinner. As private caterers we provide our services to gatherings as small as four and can work to a range of budgets to please all parties.
Speak to a few local private caterers and discuss your requirements with as many as you can so you’re clear on your options before you begin your party planning. Bear in mind the time it takes to prepare the perfect menu and the pressure of pleasing all of your guests, also remember the costs of the added extras on top of the food that you would need to budget in before you make a decision to opt for private catering or a home-made menu.
Get creative with your menus
A theme or feel can be a great way to start with your party planning and something to build your menu around. Whether you chose to hire the help of private catering services or provide the menu on your own, think about the feel you want to create. A seasonal menu can be a great option and allows you to create extra tasty dishes using seasonal produce. Your local delecatessens or greengrocers will be able to advise on the best seasonal ingredients to use depending on the time of year. We’re passionate about using locally sourced, sustainably grown produce to create amazing menus for our intimate dinner parties. Speak to your local private caterers and discuss the options they offer to ensure they can fit to your feel and theme or advise on a direction to go in.
Make sure you also establish if any of your guests have dietary requirements or restrictions when planning your private catering. If you do need to cater for any allergies or particular dietary requirements you’ll need to give private caterers plenty of notice so they are able to create a menu that pleases the entire party. Ask your guests about any special requirements when they confirm their attendance.
Make homemade cocktails
Intimate dinner parties allow for more thought and consideration to be given to the drink menu. Cocktails are a great way of making a party feel more special. 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. The cocktail menu can be creative without being complicated. Consider how keen you’re going to be to play mixologist towards the end of the night after possibly a few too many! Prepare as much as you can ahead of your guests arriving, starting with cocktails and bring out the bottles as the night goes on can also help! Private catering services are 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 booze but if you consider the drinkware and accessories needed to really wow your guests it may become more viable to go with a caterer.
Play dinner party games
We might have all been a bit over virtual games and zoom quizzes earlier in the year but party games are still a brilliant way to add a bit of fun to intimate dinner parties. Keep it simple, there are some great card and smaller board games that are easy to pick up and can be fun for groups of friends and family. Cards against humanity and Obama Llama are two favourites and are sure to bring a bit of fun to the evening, especially good when played with a cocktail in hand!
Set the scene
A great thing about throwing intimate dinner parties is that it allows you to really focus on your guests and the smaller details that make all of the difference. Less guests allow you to bring personalised elements to the party. Elaborate table settings, thoughtful place holders and extra special elements can make all of the difference between brilliant intimate dinner parties and just a standard supper! Lighting is a really simple and easy way to set a scene for your gathering. Candles can be extremely cheap and can make a standard room feel more like special setting. If you’re worried about not being able to cater for your guests in the space you have don’t forget that many local restaurants and pubs also offer private party catering in their venue, remember this will mean you are limited to the 10pm curfew at the moment.
Our doors are firmly open at our South London venues and we’re always happy to discuss your dinner party ideas and the private party catering services we offer. Do feel free to contact our dedicated events team here to find out more.