After a move, planning a party is probably the last thing you want to do, but with a bit of time after you finish unpacking, a party is the perfect way for you and your family to meet neighbors and make new friends. The key is to keep it simple. Guests know that you've just moved and won't be expecting you to host an elaborate get-together.
Keep it Simple
It's a housewarming party. What you do need to decide is who will be invited; will it be for adults only or will it be an afternoon get-together for families?
Remember that an afternoon get-together is a lot more casual than an evening affair, and if you have children, it's a great way for your kids to get to know people their own age.
You might want to decide what to serve before you confirm a time, just because what you serve may determine the party's theme and time. To keep plans and effort to a minimum, host an afternoon tea - after lunch, but before dinner. It doesn't take too much prep to serve tea, cookies and juice. Again, your neighbors won't expect too much fuss so don't overdo it.
To keep it simple, you can either speak to your neighbors in person or create a small invite and drop it into each family's mailbox. Or have your children deliver the invite. Make a point of inviting people as you see them in their yards or on porches. To keep fuss down to a minimum, don't ask for RSVPs, instead, let people know they can drop by between specific hours.
As long as you receive a few verbal confirmations that people will attend then you know that there will be at least a few people dropping by.
Because you just moved, and may have cleaned your home before you moved in or unpacked, a quick tidy should be easy enough to do. To help, check out this great article on how to do 15 minute clean-ups; that's really all the time you should take to make your home feel welcoming.
Get Supplies But Ask People to Bring Stuff
It's up to you if you prefer to wash dishes or use disposable plates and cups; just remember the extra garbage that will come from using paper and plastic items. Or if you have time, you can rent supplies as well. Renting party supplies is best if you're expecting a lot of guests. If it's an outdoor party, ask guests to bring their own lawn chairs.
If you're hosting an evening reception, you can ask people to bring over their own wine glasses (if you're serving wine). I did this once and it was a huge hit! It saved me washing over fifty fragile glasses (never mind finding enough glasses to use!). I also suggest buying all the food you're planning to serve. This is not the time to show off your culinary skills. Besides, combing the area stores for specialty foods or bakeries will force you to take time to explore your new neighborhood.
Arrange the Party Area
Create some conversation areas, a place where the food will be served - whether that's a bar or the dining room table - and a place where people can put their shoes, boots and coats.
Clear out the front closet or foyer to allow for the extra room you're going to need. It's a good idea to also create a place for the drinks so people can serve themselves giving you time to mingle and enjoy the party, too.
Use Fresh Flowers for Decorations
If you're concerned that you haven't decorated your home, or that your home is not feeling lived-in, fresh flowers are a great way to bring warmth into your home. You don't need to spend a lot of money, either. One large bouquet or a few small ones scattered throughout the rooms you'll be using will add a lot of punch with little fuss.
Since this might be the first time you're meeting your neighbors, make sure you allow for enough time to get ready for their arrival without stress and last minute fixes. Keep it casual, but welcoming, and remember to take a few minutes to relax and recoup from your efforts.