Moving day has come and gone, your real estate agent has left the picture, and you’ve unpacked almost every box. The four walls that you’ve invested your heart, soul, and life savings into are finally feeling like home, which means… it’s time to celebrate! You deserve a festive housewarming party with your favorite people to feast and fawn over your new digs.
Honoring your homestead with a housewarming party doesn’t need to be a stressful ordeal. You already accomplished one of the biggest transitions in your adult life, after all. And as a new homeowner, you have enough on your plate with a to-do list the size of Mt. Rushmore – so keep your housewarming party plans simple, seamless, and streamlined.
Here are some pro tips for pulling off a memorable housewarming party that won’t break your budget, bank, or back. Your backyard, on the other hand, may very well get broken in.
1. Set yourself up for success with pre-party prep
All professional (and amateur) party planners know that the real magic happens before the party even begins. It’s all in the planning, preparations, and proactivity! Tick off these pre-party tasks before the day of the party:
- Enlist the help of your favorite family member, beloved best friend, or unsuspecting new neighbor to get your space in tip-top shindig shape. Whether it’s helping to dispose of those last lingering moving supplies or giving your scruffy lawn a much-needed trim, there’s always something an extra set of hands can do. As the adage goes, “many hands make light work!”
- Make a checklist of the top items on your to-do list. Hang it somewhere visible so you can stay organized — and ensure your fellow party planners know what’s on the agenda for the housewarming party.
- Set up your spaces. Arrange a folding table inside for grazing and gluttony and perhaps some camping chairs outside for mingling and mixing.
- Get groceries delivered. Whether you use Instacart or Costco, doorstep delivery options can save you time and money.
- Clean the house. Declutter your new space and dispose of any newly formed dust bunnies. If cleaning’s not your thing, check out your local Groupon for a discounted cleaning service.
2. Send digital housewarming party invitations
Invite your guests in true 21st-century style by sending digital invites! Create email or text invitations using Paperless Post, Canva, or Evite. Not only are digital invitations better for the environment, but they’re also way more cost-effective. At the end of the day, you can’t beat free.
Check your guests’ dietary preferences
From gluten-free to delicious-intolerant, dietary requirements and restrictions these days are abundant and often unavoidable. Streamline by the process by adding a section to your e-vite asking your friends about their dietary preferences so you can account for all their allergies and aversions with effortless ease.
3. Prepare your provisions
Now that you’ve done your research, it’s time to grant your guest’s culinary wishes! If DIY shopping is more your thing and you’ve decided to pass on the delivery route, then go ahead and make your way to the snack aisle of your favorite store.
Grab ready-made snacks
Our top pick for a plethora of party provisions and snackable spreads? The beloved Trader Joe’s. In addition to their stellar selection of affordable finger foods, scrumptious snacks, and easy-to-prep entrees, TJ’s has an incredible offering of wines that won’t drain your wallet.
It’s always wise to navigate your way through the Trader Joe’s snack section with a strategy – unless you want to get lost in the aisles of affordable noshes and nibbles (which we also approve of, no judgment here).
Here are some tips to get your food situation flowing with efficiency:
- Opt for various bite-sized snacks, chips, crackers, cheese, meats, nuts, and spreads. The frozen section is overflowing (literally) with finger foods that will make every party-goer drool – and make the party planner’s life an easy-breezy dream.
- Stick with a theme. Here are a few ideas for culturally inspired spreads, boards, and platters to make your guests feel like they stepped into international hors d’oeuvres heaven.
- Mediterranean Mezze Spread: Snag some Fried Olive Bites, Cauliflower Crisps, Greek Chickpeas with Parsley & Cumin, Pita Chips, and Hummus.
- All-American Classic Platter: Buffalo Chicken Dip, Fresh veggies, Scalloped Potato Chips, Many Things Snack Mix, Mini Pigs in a Blanket
- French Charcuterie Board: Trader Joe’s White Stilton Cheese with Apricots, cured meats, nuts, and a baguette
- Bavarian Smorgasbord: Mini sausage bites with mustard
No Trader Joe’s in your neighborhood? No problem! Head to your local Costco for a plethora of platters and pre-made apps. Here are some of our favorite Costco platters:
- Croissant Sandwich Platter: serves 16 to 20 for $30
- Chicken & Swiss Rollers: serves 20 to 24 for $30
- Shrimp Cocktail Platter: serves 20 to 24 for $40
- Meat & Cheese Platter: serves 16 to 20 for $27
If you are feeling inclined to take the party platter route, be sure to give the deli a call to place your order 24 hours ahead of time. And, if you’re really feeling the Costco vibe, you could even go all out like this family did!
Opt for a BBQ
If you’d rather take the reins as chef, consider firing up the grill instead. Whether you’d prefer classic hot dogs and hamburgers or veggie and meat kabobs, the possibilities are endless. Grab a few XXL bags of chips, a giant tub of salsa, and an assortment of delicious dips to add, and you’re good to go!
If your party is in the spring or summertime, snag a whole pineapple to slice up and throw on the grill for a smoky-sweet treat with some added flare. Your culinary bravado and grill-master abilities will wow your guests.
Build-your-own taco bar
Set out all the fixings for your favorite tacos, and let your guests do the rest! A pack of tortillas with some roasted veggies, beans, and guac is all you need for an easy and interactive meal that’s sure to please.
Bottomless pasta and salad bar
Whip up a few big batches of rigatoni and ravioli, toss together some pre-made Caesar salad bags, and heat a few loaves of take-and-bake bread. Your guests will think they’ve walked into the new neighborhood Olive Garden.
Propose a potluck
An easy way to accommodate everyone’s culinary desires while reducing your time in the kitchen is by inviting everyone to bring a dish! Coordinate the housewarming party potluck by assigning each guest something to bring (e.g., appetizer, dessert, or even disposable silverware) to ensure you’ve got all the bases covered and don’t wind up with twelve spinach artichoke dips (although we wouldn’t be opposed!)
4. Streamline your serving
When figuring out the best way to dole out your dishes, it’s always wise to work with efficiency and ease in mind — for your guests and your clean-up crew alike. Here are some ideas to help you minimize the mess and let your guests do the rest!
- Ditch the knives and cut your cake with wine glasses! Invite your guests to get creative and flaunt their cake cutting skills — without the need for any sharp objects! Because you’ve always wanted to use your wine glasses for more than chugging two buck chuck, right?
- Place out your non-perishables. Set out any items that don’t require refrigeration earlier in the day to optimize your time. Things like nuts, chips, and crackers can go into their respective dishes and platters well in advance.
- Arrange your assortments. Strategically place your platters of nibbles on every snackable surface you can find. Coffee tables, countertops, and credenzas – check, check, check. Having an assortment of easily accessible food will ensure your guests can be self-sufficient and eat as they please, leaving you with more time to mingle and enjoy the moment.
5. Simplify your sipping with these easy-breezy bevvy ideas
Your guests all know you’re on the tail end of one of the most significant transitions of your life, which means that the less effort (and money) you need to exert, the better. It also means that you deserve to unwind with a drink or two … or three, or four!
Here are some ideas to lighten your libation load with some affordable options and interactive imbibes!
Fill your fridge with frugal yet fancy wines
Invite your trusty old friend, Charles Shaw. Trader Joe’s beloved bargain-brand is renowned for creating the most delicious bottled enigma ever to exist – two-buck chuck. While the price now-a-days comes a bit closer to five-buck chuck in most states, it’s still the best bang for your buck. Organic Rosé, anyone?
Stock-it-yourself open bar
An alcoholic spin on the potluck, the “stock-it-yourself” open bar idea could be your party game, theme, and housewarming gift all in one! Inviting your guests to bring their favorite beverage (or multiple) to help stock your new bar is a great way to share the weight and spread the love around. Your guests will feel included in the process of setting up your home and not have to worry about finding you the perfect custom housewarming gift on Etsy. Win-win!
BYOBB: “Bring your own blanket and bottle”
If an outdoor gathering is on the agenda, have your guests bring their own picnic blanket and bottle or beverage. You’ll supply the cups and cuisine if they can fend for themselves for lounging and libations.
Mix up classy cocktails and premixed punch
Make a few big batches of your favorite alcoholic concoction ahead of time so you can sip your spiked lemonade with the leisure of a party attendee and not be burdened by bartending.
Here are a few crowd-friendly refreshments that are easy to make in big batches:
6. Set the scene with warm lights and DIY decor
Now that you’ve prepped your provisions and decided on the drinks, the festivities are almost in full swing. It’s time to fine-tune your furnishings and surroundings to fit your sought-after party vibe.
Adjust the ambiance with mood lighting
Sometimes all it takes is the flick of a switch (or the dial down of a dimmer) to transform the feel of a space. Before your guests arrive, assess the lighting in your entertaining areas (both inside and out) to ensure it aligns with your desired vibe.
Here are a few tricks to create a warm and inviting atmosphere with lighting:
- Light tea lights (or turn on battery-powered ones!) and place them throughout the house and outdoor spaces.
- String twinkle lights in the backyard and or front porch to add pops of sparkle and shine.
- Place lanterns in the front walkway to guide your guests in with a warm, well-lit welcome.
Other subtle ways to welcome your guests and set the scene:
- Pump up the potpourri (or essential oil diffuser if you’re a millennial).
- Set up a small table by the front door with a welcome sign and guestbook. Invite guests to share their favorite thing about your new home.
Transform your tables
If you have access to a few folding tables, place them throughout the food serving areas to add extra space for your housewarming snacks and spreads.
No folding tables? No need to fret! Try these ideas instead:
- Rent a few folding tables from your local party supply rentals, typically starting at $8 each
- Think you’ll use it more than once? For only $70, you can invest in your very own folding table, which could come in handy for future gatherings, tailgating, or even craft making.
- Transform other flat pieces of furniture into serving spaces by draping a tablecloth or piece of fabric on top, and voila! Your serving station has arrived.
Go for green centerpieces
Going flowerless is a great way to prolong the life of your bouquet (and bank account). An all-green floral-free arrangement is a cost-effective alternative to its colorful counterpart – and its neutral nature matches with every backdrop!
Snag your pruning shears and give your new shrubs, bushes, and trees a trim. Collect some of the most beautiful leaves, greenery, and even branches you can find to create luscious leafy arrangements. Assemble them in small mason jars to stagger throughout your home, adding a splash of life and monochromatic color wherever your guests may be.
No plants to prune? No problem! Head to your local farmers market, florist, or even yep, you guessed it, Trader Joe’s! They have an abundance of lush and leafy bouquets to choose from – like the $3 eucalyptus leaves, which have such an intoxicating smell that you feel like you’re in a spa.
7. Keep calm and have some fun
At the end of the day (or evening), the most important thing to remember is to have fun at your housewarming party. It can be easy to get wrapped up in the logistics of your role as the party planner and housewarming host. But if you equip yourself with a bit of early planning, simplifying strategies, and support from your trusted team, you can ensure the evening is easy and enjoyable.
So, sit back and relax. Savor the moment with your family and friends. Enjoy the evening as you make memories and honor your new home together – hopefully with pre-made margaritas in hand!
Header Image Source: (Marissa Daeger / Unsplash)