How to Throw a Memorable Housewarming Party

House dinner party in progress

Jill Chen / Stocksy

Moving into a new home or completing an extensive renovation is significant. Hosting a housewarming party is a great way to welcome your favorite people to see your new digs and fill your home with good vibes. It's time to break out the bubbly and celebrate. And, if you're new to the neighborhood, a housewarming can also be a way to meet your new neighbors. Sometimes, family, friends, or even neighbors might potentially throw you a surprise housewarming party.

You can expect that visitors want to tour your home. Offer some food and drinks and keep it simple. The same rules for hosting a party apply: introduce old friends to new ones, make everyone feel comfortable, and keep the conversation flowing. You might even consider a housewarming game. Read on for more tips for making your housewarming party memorable and fun for everyone.

Consider Invitations

If you are sending out paper or electronic invites, give good directions. If some guests do not have a car, spell out some public transportation options. Tell driving guests where to park their cars. If you plan on having food or refreshments, note it in the invite. Many people can assume that if you host a party during major dining times, e.g., noon or 6 p.m., you will be serving a meal while there. Also, housewarming parties are usually open house shindigs with people coming and going—an hour here or there—within your timeframe.

Also, if you prefer not to get gifts, note it in the invite. If you do not say anything, it is natural for people to suppose that you are accepting gifts.

Housewarmings are usually casual events. Plan for a couple of hours during the day since it's easiest for people to see your home.

Tip

How do you inform all your friends and family about a change of address without inviting everyone to a housewarming party? Some like to create and mail out a formal "Change of address" postcard or a "We've moved" announcement card. However, the quickest (and cheapest) way is to send an email, text message, or electronic card with the information to your important contacts.

When to Host the Party

If you're hosting your housewarming party, there is no need to wait until your home is in perfect shape or until everything is unpacked. Your friends and family will understand that it takes time to get settled. The best timeframe is for a time where you don't feel rushed, your home is not in complete disarray, and your friends and family are likely available. It would help to have some furniture for seating, too. Don't rush into it.

In terms of party etiquette, a "housewarming" is usually within six months of moving in. After a year, you're probably pushing it and should call it a house party. Of course, if extenuating circumstances circumvented your housewarming plans, like major renovations after moving in or other life situations, call your gathering whatever you want.

Offer House Tours

Tours of your new home are the main attraction, so prepare your space for showing.

  • You can allow guests to give self-guided tours. Label each room with its name, purpose, and interesting details you'd like to show off.
  • If a room is off-limits like it's under construction or one big storage room, mark it "Please Do Not Enter."
  • If you've made extensive renovations to your home for fun, post a "before" picture outside each room. You could also post photos from when the rooms were under construction. People love to see the magical transformation.
  • A housewarming is one occasion where you are showing off your home. So, having a messy or clean house can leave a lasting impression. Clean or tidy up all of your rooms if you can. If you still have rooms with packed boxes, leave them as is. No one expects that all your moving boxes have to be unpacked.
  • If your home is historical or has some interesting stories you learned from the seller or realtor, give some of that background to your guests too.

Plan for Food

Offering food and refreshments is an excellent way to thank your guests for visiting your home. If it's summertime and you have a yard or outdoor patio, consider hosting a BBQ or outdoor party. Or, you can keep things indoors by offering casual finger foods. Serve different choices in each room. Then, as they discover your rooms, there will be edible surprises to keep them moving around.

If you have a small group, think about having a sit-down meal. If you like to cook, whip up a particular dish or cater in a few trays of food for an easier time. Keep in mind that people might have dietary restrictions, so having some vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, nut-free, and gluten-free options might be a wise idea. You can also ask your guests to inform you of their food sensitivities so that you can be prepared in advance.

It's nice to offer your friends a selection of beverages. If you plan on having alcohol at the party, make sure you have non-alcoholic choices for people who choose not to drink. If friends bring wine or bottles of bubbly for your housewarming, it's at your discretion whether you open it that day or save it for a later time.

Gifts

The term "housewarming" is believed to have started in the Middle Ages. Back then, guests would literally warm up a new home by bringing firewood as a gift.

Although etiquette dictates that housewarming guests should bring a gift unless noted in the invite, not everyone knows what's customary. If a guest asks you for gift ideas, you can point them to a housewarming registry if you have one. If you create a registry, make sure you have small ticket items on the list.

Usually, guests bring a bottle of wine, champagne, or liquor to assist in building up your beverage station. People tend to get home and kitchen items or small custom-made signs and decorations for gifts.

The hard and fast rule is you should never expect gifts. Remember that gifting is always a personal, optional choice. The good wishes of your friends and family should always be enough.

Decorations: Keep It Simple

Special party decorations are unnecessary. You don't want to detract from the features of your new home. You can hang a welcome sign or "Home Sweet Home" banner with a few balloons, but beyond that, a few cheery floral arrangements are enough of an adornment.

It's more important that your home is straightened. If you had renovations, clean up all the construction dust. Make sure the kitchen and bathrooms are sparkling clean. Give carpets a good vacuuming, sweep and mop up, and dust the furniture.