You’ve moved into the perfect home. You’ve even (mostly) unpacked. It’s time to breathe. Wait, not so fast, your friends and neighbors want to see your new place, so why not follow a time-honored tradition and throw a housewarming party? Take advantage of that small window before the house becomes too lived in.
It’s somewhat traditional for housewarming guests to bring gifts. One controversial idea that’s gaining popularity is registering, like you might when getting married or having a baby. Almost any store that has a bridal registry has a housewarming registry. Stores like Crate and Barrel, Bed Bath & Beyond and most department stores would be happy to accommodate. Tread lightly with this idea, though. While people might intend to bring a plant or another low-cost gift, it could turn a lot of people off if you suggest gifts. My suggestion is to leave it off the invitation and register just in case someone asks what you would like or what your need.
There tend to be two types of housewarming parties – traditional and open houses. With a traditional party, you’d probably invite a smaller group of people and you’d expect them to stick around. You might serve a full dinner or perhaps just appetizers and cocktails.
With an open house, you can invite more people because people will be going in and out. For an open house, you should serve appetizers and cocktails only. If you do host an open house, it might be nice to invite your new neighbors as well as old friends. If you have kids, you can consider a child friendly housewarming party and ask your kids to invite new classmates. If you do invite kids, have games and other activities for them.
Next, you should plan the theme. Casual is probably best. Barbecues are alway a great idea as are more casual cocktail party style.
Once you’ve planned your party, it’s time to send invitations. Online invitations are fine, if you have email addresses. You can even invite people through social media. A couple weeks in advance is fine.
Once the guests arrive, they are going to expect tours. You can either have individual tours or group tours. People tend to feel more comfortable on smaller tours, but the logistics can be difficult to maneuver. You don’t want to spend the entire party giving people tours. You can divide up the duties. If you have children who are old enough, ask them to pitch in. Remember, you don’t have to open your closets (unless you want to show off that fabulous walk-in) or your kids’ bedrooms, if you don’t want to.
If you do invite new neighbors, involve them. Ask them to talk about the neighborhood. You might consider neighborhood tours as well as house tours. This can be done as one large group and be sure to tell your guests to wear comfortable shoes.