Having company over? In our “Hosting How-tos” series, we’ll teach you how to entertain like a pro. You’ve just moved, and now you want to celebrate. Read through our housewarming party ideas that will send your guests home happy.
Hosting a housewarming party is a great way to welcome friends and family to your new home while getting to know your new neighbors. It’s also a fabulous excuse to get together and indulge in fun, mouthwatering party food.
Moving can be exhausting, so it’s OK to wait until you’re settled into your new home before hosting a crowd. Seri Kertzner, chief party officer at Little Miss Party Planner in New York City, recently planned her own housewarming party, and she advises DIY party planners to focus on two key components: keeping guests entertained and well fed.
Prep as much as you can in advance so you don’t miss out on the fun. Then, you can relax, get dressed, and enjoy greeting your guests rather than being stuck in the kitchen.
Chief party officer
Little Miss Party Planner
If you want to make your party planning a breeze, here are five helpful housewarming party ideas to ensure happiness for you and your guests.
Send out invitations — either the electronic or paper variety — around three weeks before the party date. Online party sites and social media are great ways to get the word out. Remember to send a reminder a few days before the party. Limit the guest list to old friends (if you didn’t move far) and a few new neighbors, making sure to consider how many people can comfortably fit in your home (or backyard).
Remember that guests are coming to see you and your new home — and they should understand you just moved in — so keep the decorations simple. “Fresh flowers and candlelight are a great way to decorate,” Kertzner explains. She uses LED battery-operated tea lights and flowers in unexpected places, such as around a bar and in the bathroom.
Other decorating ideas for a housewarming party include:
- Have flowers delivered for stress-free decorating. The bright and lively sunflower bouquet is available in 10 or 20 stems, and in a variety of vase styles. Order several and use them as take-home favors.
- Add themed housewarming signs or a backdrop for photos. These can easily be found online or in party supply stores, and give guests the perfect spot to pose for selfies that can double as keepsakes.
- Show off your distinct style. If you decorated your new home in a modern farmhouse look, embrace the vibe with decorative succulents, burlap bows, and slate signs.
“Music is entertainment priority number one,” Kertzner insists. “Don’t ever let your guests walk into a quiet house.”
To get socializing going, leave conversation cards around congregation spots, such as in the kitchen or by a sitting area, for easy ice breaking. These could all fit a particular theme, such as traveling, with questions like “What’s your favorite vacation you’ve ever taken?” and “How soon before you go away do you start packing?”
Other ideas for activities include:
- Download a home tour quiz game or household item version of “The Price Is Right”to add a bit of friendly competition.
- Play backyard games like cornhole, badminton, or ladder golf.
- Set up a gaming station for group video games or unplug with crowd-friendly tabletop board games.
“Prep as much as you can in advance so you don’t miss out on the fun,” Kertzner urges. She makes sure all her party food is ready at least an hour beforehand. “Then, you can relax, get dressed, and enjoy greeting your guests, rather than being stuck in the kitchen.”
Wondering what to serve? Here are some scrumptious options.
Self-served small plates
“I don’t think I’ll ever serve big bowls of chips and dip again!” Kertzner says. “Lately, I’ve been making individual charcuterie boxes. They’re really easy using basic craft boxes.” Assemble these the morning of the party, loading each one with meat, cheese, fruit, and crackers. The Harry & David Ultimate Charcuterie and Cheese Collection comes with all the fixings you’ll need to create these servings. Add the Deluxe Antipasto Ultimate Wine Pairing Collection for an instant wine tasting event.
Kertzner suggests serving finger foods that guests can grab with toothpicks, such as croquettes or empanadas. She also likes putting out popcorn for her guests, both sweet and savory. And don’t forget to label each flavor!
Which brings us to Kertzner’s next tip. “Use small place cards to let guests know what each food item is. It adds a sophisticated touch and helps guests navigate their choices better.”
Kertzner likes to pare down meals to three main components: a starch, a protein, and a brightly colored vegetable. Pick up some top sirloin and veggies, such as peppers, onions, and eggplant, to make kebabs. Skip the fruit bowl and instead create a rainbow of fruit kebabs using watermelon, blueberries, and melon (or buy them ready made!).
Limit your bar menu to just beer, wine, and a signature drink — and don’t forget non-alcoholic drinks. Kertzner advises to have plenty of water in pitchers around the house, along with soda and juice. Ice is essential, so Kertzner suggests using an online ice calculator to ensure you don’t run out.
Cookie bar sweets table
You can create an effortlessly elegant dessert table with cookies. Kertzner suggests using multi-tier cake stands to add height and a professional look. Cover the displays with glass domes, and decorate them with greens and fresh flowers.
- Choose a wide assortment of cookie flavors. If your party is during the warmer months, highlight the flavors of the season with a summer flavors box.
- Add ice-filled containers with carafes of ice-cold milk and chilled coffee.
- Keep little ones entertained with cookie decorating kits.
Before guests leave, ask everyone to sign a commemorative piece, such as a wood tray, that can become a housewarming memento. Another idea is to leave blank recipe cards for guests to fill out with their favorite recipes to help you start a collection.
Party favors are a great way to show your guests gratitude. Individual candles will thank everyone for helping to “warm” your home. You could also thank your guests for popping by with popcorn balls or cookie cards.