Whether it’s a little black dress and a flute of champagne, or a gathering of girls and Cards Against Humanity, life should be celebrated, and that’s why we have parties. But as any seasoned hostess knows, while attending a party is a piece of cake, throwing a party is an entirely different animal. When I am planning a party, I can’t shake this image of the whole thing going down in flames while Martha Stewart watches from the cover of her Living Magazine. Party planning can be stressful.
But not to worry, girls. “Successful housewarming soiree” doesn’t have to be synonymous with “weeks of prep.” Forget those crazy chevron DIY napkin holders you saw on Pinterest. And no, you don’t need to serve crustless cucumber sandwiches on sterling silver trays. You just moved in! You’ve probably misplaced your brain in a moving box somewhere. That’s okay! You don’t even have to unpack everything. Actually, having some moving boxes around exudes charm and makes your friends more excited about seeing your home when it’s all finished. So whether you just moved into a NY brownstone or a studio in Silver Lake, first, congratulations! And second, here’s a little Housewarming Party 101.
Furnished or unfurnished is A-Okay
If the house is still empty, you lessen your chances of having your Crate & Barrel furniture ruined by clumsy, wine glass-holding Suzy from accounting. You’ll also have more room for mingling and dancing. If you do have the party before the house is fully furnished, you’ll have rent some tables and chairs, which is kind of a bummer. In the end, both options are totally acceptable.
Unpack as much as you can
It’s okay to have things in boxes, just put the boxes in the right rooms. Focus on unpacking everything for the kitchen and living room—places your guests will gravitate to.
It’s all in the details
Think fresh flowers in vases. Scented candles in the bathroom. Keep a table clear to for gifts from guests. These kinds of touches make a big difference and don’t require much work on your part.
Consider the weather
If you live in sunny Southern California, think about hosting the party in your backyard. If weather.com says it’s going to rain, be sure to clear out some room in your hallway closet for your guests’ coats and umbrellas.
You could register for housewarming gifts, but eh… don’t
Housewarming etiquette says this is okay, but it’s a little… how do we say this? Er, tacky. And hey, speaking of off-the-wall registries, remember how Carrie registered at Manolo Blahnik after she announced her marriage to herself in Season 6? That was awesome.
There are no hard and fast rules re: food and drink
The refreshments you serve depend on the time of day and the duration of the party. Catering could potentially make your life easier, especially since you’ll be cleaning, decorating, etc. But in our humble opinion? Keep it casual. Opt for a food buffet and a separate bar area for cocktails. If you’d like to fancy it up a bit, hire a bartender to pour the wine and mix the Cosmopolitans.
Keep it casual
Housewarmings are usually casual events. Send your invitations anywhere from three days to three weeks in advance, and feel free to use cute paper plates instead of good silverware.
Give the grand tour
Show off a little! Your guests want to know about the new digs, so feel free to dish about future paint colors and renovation plans.