You've finally settled into your new space, and now you're ready to invite friends and neighbors over and celebrate your new digs. While the idea of hosting your first party in a new home may prompt a bit of stress, you don't need to worry—we're sharing plenty of tips and tricks that will make hosting a housewarming a total breeze.
Keep It Simple
Housewarming parties are often held "open house" style, meaning that all you need to do is give your guests a general time frame in which they can stop by (2 to 5 pm, for example) and allow them to choose when they would like to come say hello. An open house format can help make a gathering feel less stuffy and formal, and focusing on an afternoon time slot such as the one above makes things a lot easier on your behalf, as there's no need to serve a full meal. Lunch will have passed and dinner is still on the horizon, so all you need to do is provide your guests with delicious snacks and beverages. More on that in a moment....
Serve Easy Snacks and Drinks
Take your gathering as an opportunity to explore one of the grocery stores in your new neighborhood, and stock up on snacks that look good to you. Just remember to keep various dietary constraints in mind; it is thoughtful to always include a few vegetarian and gluten free options to accommodate guests. You can never go wrong with some vegetables and dip, cheese and crackers, or classic party favorites like pigs in a blanket (many grocery stores offer these in the frozen aisle; all you'll have to do is pop them in the oven and serve alongside ketchup, mustard and mayo). In terms of drinks, wine, beer, and some soft drinks are all you'll need. There's no need to set up your entire home bar for your guests; this is a casual, afternoon affair, after all!
If you have most of your friends' email addresses, sending a paperless invite is generally the simplest tactic. For neighbors you have only recently met, consider texting them or even knocking on their doors a few days in advance to give them a heads up about your get together. There isn't a need to require RSVPs for an event of this nature—just be sure to purchase plenty of snacks in case more people end up stopping by than you had anticipated.
Make it Festive
This is a housewarming party, not just any old gathering, after all! Make the occasion feel special by asking guests to come with a business card or takeout menu for a favorite local spot, or guide friends on a tour of your new space (you know they'll request this anyway!). You could also play a few games—scavenger hunts, word games related to moving in, and memory games are easy to set up and enjoyable for guests of all ages.
If you've recently moved to a new city or region, why not serve bites and drinks that reflect the location? For example, those who have recently relocated to the South may wish to grab some pimento cheese and whip up deviled eggs. New to Ohio? Don't forget to serve some buckeyes (made from peanut butter dipped in chocolate) for guests to munch on. You get the idea!
Arrange the Party Area
Since you'll just be serving snacks, it's fine to scatter them around the party area in various spots. For example, set drinks on the kitchen island, along with a couple of plates of snacks. Other snack items can go on the coffee table or kitchen table. The idea here is to encourage guests to spread out and mingle, assuming you have the space. This way, no one will spend the majority of the event hovering by the food—snacks will be available everywhere.
Don't Stress About Decorations
You're likely still unpacking those remaining boxes and may not have all of your decorations in order yet. Don't underestimate the power of smaller touches, like a vase or two filled with fresh flowers, some candles, and fun party accessories (such as cheeky cocktail napkins, whimsical plates, and patterned paper straws). All of these things are easy enough to grab but can really add ambiance to any home.
Don't rush around getting ready right before guests are set to arrive. Allow yourself plenty of time to party prep so that you don't feel frazzled when you hear that first knock on the door. And note that it's ok to be a bit nervous—meeting new people, particularly as an adult, can be a bit daunting, but keep in mind that your neighbors wouldn't be coming by if they weren't eager to get to know you. Who knows, a simple invite to your housewarming party could result in an introduction to a fabulous book club, athletic league, or volunteer opportunity, so don't be shy!