Everything (well, mostly everything) has been moved into the new place. You’ve met a few new neighbors and have explored the neighborhood for things to do … time to settle in? Nope! After the boxes are unpacked and the furniture is in place, christen your new home by inviting a few friends over for a proper housewarming party. Don’t know how to throw a housewarming party? Take advantage of our quick-and-dirty tips for setting up a low-key bash to show off your new digs. Just remember the true goal of every great housewarming … to party with close friends in your new home, and the gifts!
How to Throw a Housewarming Party:
- Plan Ahead: Always make sure you give your housewarming guests advance notice, so they save the date. The last thing you want is for everyone to ask “when is your housewarming again?” and to end up with a party of one. Giving 2–3 weeks of notice is a good bet, especially in the summer months when vacations and events keep people busier than usual. Also, consider your set of friends and choose a day and time that will work best for most. If you live across town and travel time is involved, consider a Saturday or Sunday when people have more time on their hands versus a weeknight. Plus, throwing a party on Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon gives you more time to get things arranged as well.
- Timing Is Everything: You want to provide both a start and an end time on your party invitation. Ideally, the published length of your party should be no more than three hours. Here’s why: The best part of the party is always when you achieve critical mass — that point where 90% of the people you invited are actually there at the same time, the room is buzzing and people are having fun. The longer the time window for the party, the more liberal people will be with coming and going, making it very difficult to achieve critical mass. Nobody likes that awkward, nervous feeling you get when you walk into a half-empty room, so avoid that by planning smartly. Of course, your best friends can come earlier and stay later, but shortening the general party window gets your housewarming party guests there on time and makes it more fun for everyone.
- Make the List: One of the most important steps to throwing a successful housewarming party is making sure you’ve invited the right people. Of course, you’ll want to be surrounded by your closest family and friends, but it’s also important not to overlook your new neighbors. Play a few entertaining ice-breaker games to ensure everyone gets along and nobody feels uncomfortable or out of place. If your space is small, and you’re worried about overcrowding, do a quick room occupancy calculation before sending out the invites. These days, simple invites — an email or phone call, a Facebook invite, or an eVite — are perfectly acceptable … and free!
- Be a Tour Guide: Your family and friends are going to be thrilled to see your new pad, so plan to give lots of tours. If you’re worried about being too busy playing host/hostess to walk your family/friends around your new home, ask a close friend or relative to help you out for the evening. Don’t worry if you haven’t fully unpacked — nobody will mind a few boxes lying around. In fact, the boxes could even be re-purposed and used as extra side tables for drinks or hors d’oeuvres. Paste some images/pictures/magazine cutouts on the walls of rooms that haven’t yet been decorated for a creative vibe. This will give guests a feel for what themes/colors you have planned for each room of the space.
- Smart Food: Keep in mind that food can be messy, so choose wisely. When you’ve got a drink in one hand, simple foods that can be held with the other are usually best. Miniature-sized snacks and sandwiches, finger foods such as chips and dip, cookies, sliced fresh vegetables, and fruits make it easier on your guests and will help keep the floors and furniture free of grimy spills. If you want to keep costs down, avoid throwing your party over a major mealtime when people may be expecting more. Otherwise, just let them know what you will be serving so they can plan accordingly. For example, a party that starts at 8PM gives guests time to go for dinner prior. Likewise, an afternoon party is perfect for light snacks.
- Plan for the Weather: Be sure to read the weather forecast before the day of your housewarming party. Is it supposed to rain? If so, keep mats by the doors to ensure guests aren’t leaving muddy footprints all over the brand new carpet, or simply request that guests leave their shoes at the door when they enter your place. If you ask guests to remove their shoes, consider having socks (or playful footwear) available for those who might feel uncomfortable going barefoot. You can buy a few packs of white socks for next to nothing and throw them in a basket by the door for your guests to grab.
- Don’t Overdo It: This is probably one of the most important rules to follow. Remember that your guests will know that you’ve just moved into your new place, so everything doesn’t have to be perfect! Think of it less as a housewarming “party” and more of a friendly get-together. Don’t stress over fancy or expensive decorations. Instead, stick with something simple and inexpensive — like fresh flowers — in a few of the rooms, or look into other ways to decorate on a budget that your wallet and your guests will be appreciative of. Choose just a few foods to serve — you don’t need to compete with the Whole Foods deli counter for variety; just a few yummy options will do.
Moving to a new home is a wonderful reason to celebrate with loved ones, and it’s an excuse to get to know who you’re sharing the neighborhood with. If you’re wondering how to throw a housewarming party, remember to enjoy yourself and don’t sweat the small stuff! Your new place is a testament to how hard you have worked and you deserve to relish every minute of it.