So you’ve put away the cardboard boxes and traded them in for furniture and décor that you absolutely love. You’re all moved into your new house or apartment, and the only thing left to do is throw a housewarming party. But this isn’t just a house party—this kind of event is a rarity, so it should have your personality written all over it.
Unsure of how to start planning? New York–based event designer Jung Lee suggests that any host should begin by asking themselves, How do I want people to remember my first party? It’s a simple question that will guide you through designing your big event. “Think about who you are and what’s going to make you happy, because a happy host makes the guests also feel really good and wonderful,” says Lee. Ready to start planning your home’s grand unveiling? Follow these five steps for throwing a memorable housewarming party.
Prep Your Home
“Make sure your house is ready to be shown and you feel really good and proud of it,” says Lee. Unlike other house parties, no rooms should be off-limits to guests. “I think the whole point of the housewarming party is people want to see your new home and tour it. So feel good about all of the rooms. … Everything should be open and accessible,” she advises. That means every space in your home needs to be ready for guests. Think of this as motivation to clean everything and an opportunity to freshen up any space with flowers and unique décor.
Invite Your Guests
First thing’s first: Create a guest list. Lee doesn’t think there are any limits to who you should invite to a housewarming party, but she does advise making sure that everyone will be comfortable and have room to move around in and enjoy the event. She also suggests extending the invite to your new neighbors. “That’s just a nice way to kick off your new presence. Then they get to know you. … You’re always going to need your neighbors to help you out in one way or another,” says Lee.
As far as which friends, family, and co-workers to invite, Lee suggests asking whose energy you want in your new home. This milestone is your first opportunity to allow your loved ones to enjoy your new home with you. Their energy will impact how you feel about the space, so choose wisely. “I think it’s really about the people who will warm your house. … That’s the most important at the end of the day,” says Lee. Have guests write their name in a guest book as they arrive. This way you’ll have a fun memory of every party you host in your happy home.
Make Sure the Party Reflects Who You Are
Everything from the activities to the atmosphere to the food and the drinks you serve should reflect who you are and what you enjoy. “Like any other party, it really reflects what the homeowner is all about,” says Lee. For example, if you love to plant gardens, give a quick tour of the house and lead guests outside to enjoy the outdoors for the rest of the party. Or if you love cooking, prepare a meal for everyone to enjoy together while breaking in the new kitchen. “It has to have good meaning,” she says.
Choose the Food and Drinks
As important as it is to design the event around who you are what you’re proud of, it’s equally important to plan your food and drink offerings around what kind of host you want to be. Lee suggests thinking about whether or not a certain food or drink spilling on the sofa or the carpet would upset you. If so, don’t serve it or prepare in advance to ensure messes don’t happen. Try serving food outside or offering plenty of room around a table for guests to eat at.
“If you really are into protecting your furniture and you don’t want any ring marks, make sure that there are coasters everywhere so it’s easy and accessible,” says Lee. She also suggests employing your close friends or S.O to set a good example for others to follow. You’ll also want to make sure guests can help themselves to food and drinks unless it’s a sit-down meal. Plan a beautiful spread or hire help to serve appetizers while partygoers mingle that way you can make sure everything goes seamlessly.
Don't Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
Lee often sees people making the mistake of thinking they can do it all, when in reality, everybody needs help planning an event. “I think that people try to do too much. We all think we’re our own superheroes,” she says. One easy way to ensure you’ll be prepared for your housewarming party is to make a checklist. Lee suggests including tasks like “music should be on at a low level,” “bathrooms open and ready for guests,” “light a scented candle,” and “display freshly cut flowers.” Lee says doing this will help keep you organized during the event.
Also, try to avoid going overboard with party favors and activities. There’s no need to stress about having games and activities for your guests unless that’s something you enjoy planning and participating in. “The point of the housewarming is to get people together,” says Lee. Don’t overthink it. The same goes for party favors. “I don’t think anyone’s expecting a favor at the end of the day. … But if it truly has meaning for you and it represents who you are, then you should definitely do it because your guests will really appreciate that,” says Lee.
It can be as simple as flowers from your garden or Polaroid photos from the party.