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Housewarming Party Ideas: Tips For A Stress-Free Gathering

Molly GraceJanuary 10, 2020

When you move into a new house, it’s the love of your friends, family and neighbors that makes it a home. A housewarming party is a great way to introduce the people you love (or the neighbors you want to get to know) to your new place, celebrate your new home and make the unfamiliar start to feel more familiar.

However, the months after moving into a new house can be pretty hectic. As you unpack, get your household up and running, and get all your documentation and records updated, throwing a party can seem like an unnecessary stressor. It doesn’t have to be, though – a party should be fun, after all!

Here are some of our best tips on how to throw a stress-free and memorable housewarming party.

Housewarming Party Basics

The nice thing about a housewarming party is that it can be whatever you want (or need) it to be. You can throw a fun barbeque to show off your great new backyard, an intimate dinner party if you don’t feel like entertaining more than a few people, a casual open house that allows guests to come and go during a specified time range, or something else entirely. It’s all about what suits you and your new place.

That being said, there are some basic elements you should employ any time you throw any type of party. This can be boiled down to just three things: food, fun and refreshments.

To throw a successful housewarming party, you’ll want to serve a meal (whether that’s a more formal, sit-down meal or a serve-yourself, buffet-style meal is up to you) or, if your party is outside of a regular mealtime, provide snacks or finger food. Offer at least a few beverage options for your guests to choose from.

The kind of entertainment you decide on for your party will depend on its structure. If it’s more casual, some background music for people to mingle to may suffice (though you may want to put out a few lawn or card games for any kids who will be there). If you’re throwing a party with a more established structure, like a dinner party, you may want to have some fun board games or party games ready to go for before or after the meal.

To start planning your housewarming party, you’ll want to set a budget. With all the costs of moving, you might not have a lot of money to spend on a housewarming – that’s OK! It doesn’t have to be expensive. Setting a budget ahead of time will help you figure out how much you can spend and help you avoid overspending.

Your budget will likely help dictate your guest list, as more people = higher costs. You can choose to invite everyone – friends, family, coworkers – or you can keep the list down to just a few of your closest people.

Should you invite your new neighbors to your housewarming party? While you certainly don’t have to, it’s a nice gesture and can go a long way in setting the foundation for a good neighborly relationship. However, if you plan on having a huge, raucous shindig, it’s generally considered polite to at least give them a heads up before guests arrive and start clogging up the street with parked cars.

Think about any other elements you’d like to include as you plan, including activities (a “get to know the new house” scavenger hunt, perhaps?) or even small favors for guests to take home.

Additionally, don’t worry too much about your house being in perfect shape when you have your party. Give yourself some time to unpack and get settled – don’t feel bad about waiting a few months before throwing your housewarming – but if you still have a few boxes left to unpack or you haven’t quite figured out the furniture layout for your living room yet, that’s to be expected.

Just try keep the main party area as tidy and organized as you can, and make sure there’s ample seating.

Housewarming Party Themes

What type of party do you want to have? The theme doesn’t have to be elaborate (though if you want to go all out with decorations for your “under the sea” themed housewarming, have at it).

To brainstorm ideas about what kind of party you want to throw, think about what makes sense for your new home (and your budget). If your new backyard features a lovely patio with lots of gorgeous foliage, you might opt for a simple but elegant garden party. Or, if you have a beautiful, large kitchen (and enjoy cooking), a dinner party might be a better fit.

You can also opt for more traditional party themes or types, such as a potluck or a simple wine and cheese hangout.

One theme that’s popular for housewarming parties is a get-together that helps the new homeowner in some way. For example, a “stock the bar” party where guests are asked to bring a bottle of their favorite booze for the host to keep. Unpacking parties or room painting parties fall under this umbrella as well. However, rules of etiquette generally dictate that you shouldn’t ask for things of this nature of your guests (unpaid manual labor isn’t much of a party, after all).

If you have a few close family members or friends who have offered to provide you with help during the move-in process, it can be thoughtful to make it a little fun for them and show your appreciation by offering food, refreshments and some good music while you put stuff away or give the walls a new color.

But generally speaking, a host shouldn’t ask their guests to perform work for them. A housewarming party is about relaxing and showing off your new digs.

Housewarming Party Invitations

Again, it’s all about what you want to do and what fits your theme and budget. Typically, housewarming parties are more casual, so it’s perfectly acceptable to send out a simple email invitation – provided that everyone in your circle of friends regularly checks their email.

If you prefer something more formal or are worried that your guests will forget about an invite that was delivered electronically, it’s also OK to send out a physical invitation. Pharmacy store chains that offer photo printing services often sell predesigned invitation templates that you can customize with your information and have printed at a reasonable cost.

You might also consider setting up an event on Facebook instead of sending out individual invites. That way, all the party information is quickly accessible, and you can easily track RSVPs and provide updates or reminders to everyone you’ve invited.

Plus, Facebook will typically notify attendees that they have an event coming up, so you don’t have to worry about it slipping anyone’s mind.

Housewarming Party Decorations

Since you’re still settling into your new place, you don’t need to worry too much about decorating for your housewarming party. Instead of streamers or a big “welcome home” banner, why not make use of some items you already have on hand to make the place a little more festive?

Light some candles to create a warm glow, or pluck a few flowers from your new garden to display on your kitchen table.

Still have a few boxes to unpack? Drape them with pretty tablecloths to make them look nice (just make sure your guests don’t mistake them for seating or a place to put their drinks). And if there are any rooms that aren’t ready to be shown off just yet, feel free to close the door and let guests know that that area won’t be part of the house tour.

Housewarming Party Food

You don’t have to spend hours working away in your half-unpacked kitchen to have a tasty housewarming party spread.

For an open house-style party, think easy handheld foods: mini sandwiches, cheese and crackers, a fruit and veggie platter, etc. If you’re having a backyard barbeque, grilling some hotdogs and hamburgers is an obvious and fairly easy choice. Keep your food simple and on-theme.

Those throwing a dinner party-style housewarming party will likely have a bit more work on their hands, but you can lighten the load by seeing if your friends would be interested in participating in a potluck, where each attendee brings a dish to share.

What better way to warm a house than with the scrumptious smells of your loved ones’ home cooking?

Housewarming Party Games

Keeping your guests entertained can be as simple as setting out a few bean bag game sets in your lawn or as complex as inventing your own trivia game with questions related to you and your guests’ house histories, like “Who’s lived in their house the longest?” or “Which of the guests has previously been roommates with the host?”

Depending on the type of housewarming party you’re having, your entertainment could be a fun board game, charades, karaoke, a scavenger hunt, or just whatever your friend group usually enjoys doing when you get together.

Relax And Enjoy

The most important piece is that you and your guests enjoy yourselves. After the long, stressful process of moving out of your old place and into your new one, you’ve earned some time to sit back, relax and show off your new home – stress-free.

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    Molly Grace

    Molly Grace is a staff writer focusing on mortgages, personal finance and homeownership. She has a B.A. in journalism from Indiana University. You can follow her on Twitter @themollygrace.