Housewarmings can take all different shapes and forms. Some people have formal sit-down dinners, some people have a backyard BBQ, some people just have people over for tea and cookies. It’s really up to you on what style you want and how much money you want to spend on it. Don’t feel like you need to have an elaborate shindig just because other people do. Small and simple is perfectly fine.
I’ve thrown quite a few parties and recently hosted housewarming party, and thought it would be fun to share some tips based on my experiences. I lean towards mid to large house parties, where there is a table full of snacks and drinks with lots of people dropping in and out throughout the night. The following tips are geared towards this style of party, but there are definitely although some are applicable to all.
The point of the housewarming party is for people to see your house. Sure, it’s also to see your friends and family but your new home is going to the focal point of the party. This means that your guests will expect to get a tour and hear some entertaining stories about your new home. Remember that your place doesn’t have to be perfect. Everyone understands that you just moved in and it’s a work-in-progress so as long as it’s tidy, you’re good.
1. Get yourself ready at least 2 hours before the official start time
Do this even if everything isn’t ready yet because it is awkward to excuse yourself when guests arrive and you’re halfway done your makeup.
2. Get all the essential tasks completed by the official start time
Expect that someone will show up right at the doors open time so get all the essential tasks done by then. In Toronto (or at least all the parties I’ve been to in Toronto), it is assumed that you show up an hour after the start time unless you need to head out early. I’ve had times where I thought I’d have more time to prepare and someone showed up “on time” so I had to entertain them while getting ready, which was a bit tricky.
3. Keep extra toilet paper in your washrooms.
With the increased number of people using the facilities you will go through toilet paper quickly, so having more than you normally have on hand is a good for precaution.
4. Use the $2 table cloth from Dollarama
We have a beautiful dining table made from reclaimed wood which we leave uncovered normally. During a party with a lot of people and their many drinks, you do not want to worry about your table getting stained or warped from spills. Dollarama has a party section with a number of differently coloured $1 table cloths but for $2 you can get one with an embossed paper top with a plastic underlay.
DURING THE EVENT
1. Have a helper
You’ll be busy giving tours of the house and introducing guests to one another and it will be hard to do that along with answering the door, taking coats, replenishing snacks, taking photos etc. Ask a family member or friend to help you with these tasks. It would also be nice to get them a small gift as a thank you. Candles or their favourite treat (chocolate, tea, etc.) are a good way to go.
2. Have a help-yourself attitude with guests
I used to always want to do everything and had my feathers ruffled if a guest tried to help out (cleaning the dishes, tying up garbage bags, restocking food, etc.) because I interpreted it as an insult to my hosting skills. I had to just reconfigure my attitude to be thankful and accept that the person is genuinely trying to help and not insult me. Now I just tell people to help themselves to the fridge, pantry or whatever. Most people are respectful, and especially at a housewarming where you invite people you care about, they also care about you.
3. Keep extra towels on hand
You will have a spill. In fact, you will probably have multiple spills. Have a couple of towels in multiple locations around the party area so that people can clean up their mess.
I also recommend watching this great video with some great tips on hosting a dinner party.