So you've moved into your new home and can't wait to show it off to everyone. Housewarmings are a great way to celebrate with friends and family - and, if you've moved into a new neighbourhood, holding a housewarming can be a nice way to meet your neighbours and introduce yourselves to the community.
As in any event, the secret is in the planning for a housewarming. Here are 10 steps to plan the event and 10 steps to follow on the day of the housewarming.
Set a budget for the party. This should be done first and will drive some of the other decisions you need to make.
Decide what kind of party you want to have. Everything from an informal outdoor barbecue to an open house to a formal sit-down dinner is appropriate. (Your budget should guide you in making this choice.)
Make a checklist of everything that needs to be done before the party. Refer to it often, and cross items off as they are done.
Decide if you want any activities other than socializing and eating at the party. If so, plan the games or other activities you will include.
Choose a menu. This will depend heavily on the kind of party you are planning, but you should decide if you are hiring a caterer, having guests bring food potluck, or if you are doing the cooking.
Make a guest list. Close friends of the new homeowner should be included, as well as new neighbours if the object is a getting-to-know-you theme.
Buy or design the invitations. Or, if the party is casual, do the inviting over the phone. Be sure to include the type of party, date and time, and give guests some idea of what to wear. Since some people may not know the way to the new house, give directions or include a map.
Keep track of RSVPs so you know how many guests will be coming.
Make a shopping list. Include everything you will need to provide food and beverages, make decorations or centerpieces, and items you will use for serving food and drink.
Relax and follow your checklist for a hassle-free party.
- Keep the checklist you made when planning the party at hand as the party approaches.
- Clean your house the day before the party. Remember that guests at a housewarming will expect a tour of your new home.
- Prepare the food the day of the party. Make sure the bar is stocked and that you have enough ice. Organize serving pieces and platters as necessary.
- Do last-minute things such as light candles, turn on music or set out appetizers just before guests arrive.
- Be conscious of seeing that everyone is introduced with a brief explanation of his or her relationship to you ("our new neighbour, Jeff;" "Larry's business partner, Nick;" "our friends from the old neighbourhood, Ron and Kathy").
- Pour wine, make drinks or offer other beverages while guests are eating appetizers or snack foods (depending on the kind of party you are hosting). Be sure to have mineral water or soft drinks for people who don't drink alcoholic beverages.
- Offer informal tours of your new house. Show people around yourself, or, if you are too busy to do so, invite people to explore the home on their own. Try to be available to answer questions about the house or neighbourhood.
- Serve the main meal, if you are having one, or be sure finger foods are replenished as needed throughout the party.