HOUSEWARMING PARTY ETIQUETTE
– BE THE BEST GUEST OR THE BEST HOST
What You Need to Know Before Your Next Housewarming Party
Maybe you just moved into your dream home. Maybe you just wrote the biggest check of your life and signed your first mortgage. (Scary, isn’t it?) Or maybe you’re stoked that you just got the keys to your first apartment. Whatever the situation may be, moving into a new place is a big deal. And what’s the best way to celebrate your exciting new move? With a house warming party of course, and we are here to lay down the proper housewarming party etiquette.
Packing is exhausting. Moving is stressful. And having to unpack all those boxes isn’t exactly a picnic. If you’re painting, remodeling, or doing any kind of construction, it can be an even bigger nightmare. But when all that hard work is done, you’ll still have one thing left to do—throw the most amazing housewarming party ever.
Like any worthy bash, a great housewarming party requires a bit of planning. You can go as big as you want or keep it low key…it’s all about showing off your new place (and making everyone jealous). Keep reading if you’re looking for great gift ideas, awesome hosting tips, housewarming party etiquette, and what NOT to do as a housewarming guest.
How to Throw a Killer Housewarming Party
There are lots of ways you can go about throwing an awesome party, but the first thing you have to do is decide what kind of party you want to throw.
If your place is on the small side, your best bet is to throw an open house. Let your guests know that your door will be open from 2p.m. to 2a.m. (or something like that). That way, people will come and go throughout the day and you won’t have to worry about entertaining 50 people all at once. With an open door policy, people will stream in and stream out—a must if you’ve got a small place.
Can’t stand the thought of having to entertain guests all day and all night? Send invites with a specified time range so people will arrive and leave when you want them to. It’s your party and it’s your house, so don’t be afraid to lay some ground rules and throw the kind of bash you want. Its easy to send out invites with a site like eVite or Paperless Post, but sending actual IRL paper invites is an extra classy touch that doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
For more info on invite etiquette, check out our friends post on invitation etiquette over at Canva.
Unless You Want to Throw a Terrible Party, Don’t Do This
Throwing a party after you’ve unpacked and settled in is the way to go. Yet for some reason, people always want to throw painting parties and unpacking parties. Guess what? No one wants to go to those. Hosting an unpacking party or asking your guests to come see your house (and help you paint while they’re there) is a not-so-subtle way of saying you’re looking for free labor.
Save the painting and unpacking parties for a few close friends—you know, the friends who actually want to help you get your new home in order. Extended groups of friends, new neighbors, and coworkers should only be invited over when everything is ready. If you can’t wait that long, it’s okay to invite them over to see your work in process—just don’t ask or expect them to pitch in and help.
Make Sure You’ve Got the Essentials (aka Good Food and Lots of Booze)
It won’t be much of a party without good food and lots of booze. Before your guests arrive, make sure you’ve got snacks and apps and a nearly endless supply of alcohol. Or better yet, drop hints to your friends that you LOVE liquor gifts. If your guests supply the booze, you can focus on the catering and handling of the food. Either way, its not against the rules to ask people to bring stuff, and most “good” friends will want to anyways, so make sure you throw them a bone and let them know what you are in need of. Plus you just got a new place, you could use some free stuff. If you are new to the area I’d recommend using CraftBeer.com’s brewery finder so your guests and yourself can try out some local brews.
Everyone Loves a Theme Party
Parties are always more fun when they have a theme. Throwing your housewarming party in the spring or summer? A backyard bash with a Mexican vibe is always a crowd pleaser. Think cervezas stocked in tubs of ice, chips and queso, fish tacos, and chicken tostadas...Make sure you’ve got tequila, crushed ice, and lots of salt on hand for rimming those margarita glasses. Hell, you can even hang a piñata or two.
Is your new place near the coast? Make your party feel like a beach bash with fresh lobsters, crab legs, scallops, mussels, and shrimp. Fill your coolers and ice chests with some local IPAs and stock your bar with an assortment of gin, bourbon, and rum. Just make sure you’ve got some other bites to offer in case your friends are annoying vegans, grass-grazing vegetarians, or allergic to shellfish. You don’t want your party ending with a trip to the ER.
If you’re hosting a party in the fall, a holiday theme is an easy way to get your guests feeling festive. A harvest theme with pumpkin-spiced cocktails or a winter wonderland theme with chilled vodka or champagne cocktails is sure to be a winner.
For more theme party ideas, checkout what these guys have to offer.
Let the Games Begin
Your beer pong and flip cup days may be long behind you (or maybe they’re not), but you should always have at least one game planned to keep your guests occupied. If you have sober guests, they’ll appreciate having something to do while everyone else gets tipsy. And for your buddies who intend to get black out drunk, well, it will be funny watching them try to win a game when they can’t even see straight.
A scavenger hunt is a great way to get people involved in the party, plus it’s an easy way to show off your house. Hide objects or clues in different rooms of the house that lead to clues in other rooms…this way, your guests can check out your whole place without you having to give tour after tour. Housewarming games don’t have to be complicated or competitive—just make them easy, simple, and fun.
Of course you don’t have to follow what we laid out here, this list of 65 outdoor games should send you in the right direction.
What to Do (and What Not Do) As a Party Guest
So what is the proper etiquette as a party guest in someone’s new home? Let’s start with what you should do. What you should do is be complimentary about the house. Even if it’s not your favorite style of home or it’s not decorated to your standards, pay your hosts a compliment and congratulate them on their new digs. Think of it this way—if your friends didn’t want to show off their new home, they wouldn’t be having a party in the first place.
Before you go, ask your host if you can bring anything. Even if they say no, don’t go empty handed. The least you can do is take a bottle of wine or a bottle of their favorite liquor. (We’ll get more into that in a minute).
So what shouldn’t you do? If you want to be a good guest, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. A housewarming party is the time to be on your best behavior. Now that doesn’t mean you can’t drink and laugh and celebrate with your friends—you can. Just try not to get too crazy with it. Remember, you’re in someone else’s NEW home. You don’t want to be the party guest who breaks a lamp, destroys a piece of art, or shatters a window with a champagne cork.
Also make sure that your designated driver stays sober or—better yet—take an Uber there and back. Don’t be the guest that needs to crash on the brand new couch or overstays their welcome by trying to continue the party over breakfast the next morning. Unless your friends have a sprawling home with 14 bedrooms (and have already offered you the option to stay overnight), get the hell out of there when it looks like your host has had enough.
The Best Housewarming Gifts (Hint, They Include Liquor)
Heading to a housewarming party where the hosts have specified “no gifts”? Ignore them. Everyone loves a present, as long as it’s a good one. We’re not suggesting you bring a toaster or a blender or a welcome mat (assume someone else has already beaten you to that punch). But we are suggesting you bring the one thing that everyone will appreciate—booze. Even if your party host isn’t a big drinker, liquor, beer, and booze gifts can be served to other people visiting their house.
If you can’t attend the party, it’s always a nice to send a housewarming gift. Again, keep the booze rule in mind. A gift basket loaded with beer and snacks or filled with their favorite liquor and mixers is the perfect way to say “this is an occasion worth celebrating!” And you don’t even have to wait for the invitation to the official party. A beer or liquor gift makes a great surprise on any day of the year.
To make it even more personal, include a unique housewarming message or funny housewarming wishes with your gift. Don’t have time to come up with a fun and witty message yourself? No worries, just look for housewarming quotes on Pinterest and you’ll find plenty that you can include in a card.
When you’re throwing a housewarming party, remember one thing—it should feel like a party! If you’re afraid that something is going to get broken or you don’t want people looking at the size of your closets, you might want to skip the party altogether. If you’re a guest to a party, bring a gift. Stay on your best behavior and don’t overstay your welcome. Remember, the best party guests are the ones that know exactly when it’s time to leave.
Do you have any housewarming party ideas that you would like share? Then leave a comment! Even if its just a funny story about when you showed up to the wrong housewarming party but ended up staying because you didn’t have the nerve to tell them you were at the wrong party, or is that just me?