• Kaitlyn Hackett

First Time Housewarming Party Guide

Updated: Jul 12

Congratulations! You’ve found a place to call your new home. You are all moved in and now it's time to throw a party! Throwing your very own housewarming party is a major step in the adulting world, it’s the time to show off your new space with your friends and family. Planning a housewarming party may seem overwhelming if you've never planned one before but do not fear, you’ve made it this far so this will be a breeze! We’ve put together our best advice to make sure your party is one for the books.

When Should You Send Out Invitations?

Whether you are sending invitations via letter mail, putting out a Facebook event, or individually inviting people you should invite people two to three weeks before your party. This allows you and them to have enough time in advance to plan for the party.

Should You Ask for RSVPs?

Absolutely. Will your party be a rager because everyone you invited brought five-plus ones or will your party only have four people awkwardly trying to make conversation because they don't know each other? You don't need to mail out formal cards if you do not wish but do ask everyone you invite to RSVP at least a week before your party. Asking for RSVPs is just another step further into the adulting life.

An easy way to centralize and keep track of who can or cannot make the party is by creating a private event page on Facebook. You can easily enter all information for the party (i.e. address, time, updates) and everyone you invite has the option to RSVP as ‘yes’, ‘maybe’, and ‘no’. This is a less stressful way to make sure you know how many people to expect and how much food to prepare!

Follow Up with Thank-You Notes

Housewarming etiquette does not *technically* require your guests to bring a gift, but you may happen upon a generous guest who brings a bottle of wine or a small gift for the house. If this happens always be sure to follow up after the party with either a small handwritten thank you card or a heartfelt text message to let the person know that you appreciate the gift.

Setting a Menu: Meal Versus Appetizers

The decision to host a sit-down meal versus hosting appetizers/desserts is completely up to you! If you are hosting an intimate party with your closest friends/family than a dinner party is well within your grasp. On the other hand, if your guest list is a little more padded then appetizers may be the better option to accommodate more people. In both cases always inform the guests of what to expect food-wise, as you don't want your guests to arrive too full or too hungry.

Another option to explore is a potluck party, asking everyone to bring their favorite appetizer or dessert is a great way to ensure that everyone at the party will like at least one food item AND the burden of feeding 15+ people is lessened.

Be an Attentive Hostess/Host

The most important part of throwing a housewarming party is making sure that everyone is comfortable in your space. Whether you have moved into a tiny apartment or your dream house it's important to greet everyone as they enter your home. A helpful tip is to stay in the vicinity of the door at the beginning of the party to ensure you catch each party as they arrive! As soon as someone enters the door do an abridged tour of where the bathroom, food, and drinks are. You can do a longer tour of the space later into the party if you would like.

A housewarming can be a blend of new and old friends, work friends and family, this means that there is a good chance that a guest may not know anyone at all. To ensure that no one is left to fend for themselves try to introduce people after they have entered your home.

Should Your Party be BYOB?

Bring your own booze is tricky for housewarming parties if you are expecting a very large amount of guests to attend then it should be okay to mention to the guests that they can bring their own drinks. But housewarming etiquette suggests that the host should have provisions on hand whether it is or isn't BYOB.

Setting up a small bar in the kitchen or living room area is a great idea to get the conversation flowing between your guests. The bar can be as fancy or casual as you would like the party to be if you want to dress to impress than wine with adjoining wine glasses are the way to go. If you want your party to be a casual gathering for friends than beer, and bottled alcoholic beverages are more than acceptable(and less clean up). The drinks of the party can be the determining factor of having a wild rager or a boozy wine night, think about what vibe you would like your party to have and go from there!

Do You Need a Theme?

The bigger question is do you want a theme. A themed party can either go good or very bad... very quickly. You don’t want to go overboard with a theme by making it the focal point over the real point of the party which is showcasing your home. However, the benefit of a theme is that is can move the party forward if there are any lulls in conversation or hiccups with the party.

A good example of a themed party is hosting a ‘Make your own pizza party’, if you have space and the guest list is reasonable this is a way to solve a food issue and get the guests to enjoy their time. Other ideas for easy themed parties are:

  • Cookie Decorating (around the holidays)

  • Game Night

  • Wine Tasting Night

  • Friendsgiving

An example of a themed party that can go bad is having a costume party, guests may feel uncomfortable dressing up around people they don't know and can make for awkward conversation. This can also put pressure on a guest to find a costume and dress up when they did not want to.

Extra Tips

Invite the Neighbors

Inviting neighbors is a good way to build relationships within your community and making them feel welcome to a new face in the area.

Keep the Music Flowing!

No one wants to be standing awkwardly trying to make conversation in a room that is silent! You don't need to blast your favorite jams the whole night, but having some background music is always a good idea.

Have Backup Activities/Games for Emergencies

In case there are lulls in the party, have a spare board game or easy activity to keep the party flowing: Card Against Humanities, UNO, other easy card games are quick to pull out and play!

Remember to just have fun! Whether the party is a huge hit or a disaster, it will still be a major accomplishment to throw your own party from start to finish.