Moving is a drag, and getting through all the physical and financial challenges that go along with packing, relocating and unpacking isn’t easy. Once you’ve finally unpacked and settled in, you really do deserve a chance to celebrate this milestone.
A well-planned and thoughtful housewarming party not only gives you a chance to show off your new digs, but it can also renew old friendships, jump-start some new ones and help you build your support system in the community.
The key to a successful housewarming party lies in good planning, and we’re here to walk you through the steps, so pick your date and let’s get started!
Decide on a Style
Before you can do anything else, you have to decide what you want your party to be like. That means deciding things like:
- Do you want an “adults-only” party, or are kids welcome?
- Would you prefer an afternoon “open house” or should everybody show up around 7 p.m.?
- Will you be hosting indoors, or are you dying to show off that fantastic back deck and fire pit?
- Is this going to be a small, intimate gathering for your besties, or do you want everybody you know – plus your new neighbors – to come?
- Do you want to keep it “basic and boozy,” or do you want a full-on dinner party with signature drinks and a theme?
- Is it going to be just beer and seltzer for the night, or are you going to break out the good stuff, i.e., fine wine and aged spirits?
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with whatever you choose, but the answers to these kinds of questions are key to figuring out how many people to invite, whom they should be, what sort of activities you plan (or not) and what to tell your guests to expect.
Get the Invitations Out
Life gets busy for everybody, so put your guest list together and make sure your invitations get sent out early – but not too early. Most people know their basic schedule a few weeks in advance, so send the invitations (paper or electronic) about three weeks or a month in advance.
Consider setting up a Facebook group for your party or using an app like Evite to keep track of RSVPs and make communicating with your guests easy. Those are also good ways to nudge folks who haven’t responded, ask about dietary restrictions or send out little reminders a few days in advance.
When you send your invitation, do make sure that you inform your guests about anything that might be important to know. For example, make sure they know if kids are welcome, whether you’re serving snacks and drinks or something more substantial and whether the party has a specific theme.
Keep the Menu Fairly Simple
Food and drinks are the heart of any party – and housewarmings are no exception. Tailor your menu to the overall tenor of your party and your own personal preferences and budget.
If you’re having a daytime garden party, for example, serving petite sandwiches, pastries and glasses of wine makes perfect sense. If you prefer to keep it ultra casual, there’s nothing wrong with firing up the grill and serving hot dogs and hamburgers with some local brews. If you include nearly everyone you know and too many kids to count on the guest list (plus most of your new neighbors), you might want to stick with pizza and soda.
Just keep plenty of snack-sized “finger foods” around that your guests can nosh on while they hang out and talk. Some good choices include:
- Charcuterie boards with plenty of cured meats, cheeses and pickles
- Spinach and artichoke dip with crusty bread
- A veggie platter with hummus
- Guacamole, salsa and tortilla chips
- Fruit kabobs
- Mini brownies
You should also set the wine, beer and spirits — if you’re having them — out where guests can easily serve themselves. Make it perfectly clear that they should do so. A relaxed approach that encourages guests to help themselves to food and drink will make them feel more comfortable and welcome in your home. This can also make it easier for you to mingle since you won’t be playing bartender all night.
Create a Focus Through Entertainment
A party can lag and get awkward if folks run out of things to talk about, so create a focal point with a little entertainment that matches the rest of your theme. For example:
- Did you tell everybody to come in their pajamas for a sleepover because your friends are all big kids at heart? Provide boxes of crayons and paper and ask everybody to create new art for the walls.
- Is the party outside? Lawn games like Corn Hole and Giant Beer Pong can get everybody engaged.
- Want to break the ice with a diverse group of people? Board games and card games can do it. Pick something easy and modern like, “One Night a Werewolf,” or a classic like Jenga or Trivial Pursuit.
- Want to do something sweet? Have everybody write a message of goodwill on scraps of paper and put them all in a bottle that you bury in the garden.
If your guests all know each other well or feel like your guests are the sort of people who can make their own fun, just turn on some music and let the party direct itself!
Capture the Memories
Okay, maybe it sounds a little cheesy, but you really do want to capture the memories so you can always remember the good times you had with the special people in your life.
Take plenty of photos. If you have a friend or relative who can wield a mean camera phone on your behalf, that’s even better. After the party is over, send out personalized thank-you notes (whether you use actual cards, email or texts) with a snapshot, so that you always have at least one shared memory with each guest.
Remember, the essence of a successful housewarming party lies in the genuine warmth and hospitality you extend to those who share in your celebration. So, get ready to open your doors, create unforgettable memories and embark on this new chapter of life with a housewarming party that will make your new house really feel like home.