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Housewarming Party Etiquette

For those who’ve never attended a housewarming party or held one of their own, there are a few things you should bear in mind before opening your new home to guests, or letting that home be opened to you.

 For Hosts


While a clean home is a happy home, no one expects your new pad to be perfectly feng shuied just after a big move.

Depending on how soon after your move you decided to hold a party, a few unopened boxes and makeshift furniture is perfectly OK. On the other hand, if it has been months since you arrived at your new place, and you’ve had ample time to unpack and settle in, the sight of packing tape and unassembled bed frames might earn you funny looks.

No one loves unpacking, but throwing a housewarming may just be the motivation you need to get it done.

Unpack as much as you can before the get-together, and tuck any boxes you don’t get to into a low traffic room like a bedroom or office. Keep rooms like the kitchen and living room clutter free, to keep traffic flowing and prevent any of your belongings from getting damaged.  

Bathrooms, too, should be fairly put together by the time the party rolls around, and should be stocked with plenty of toilet paper and toiletries for guests to use.

When extending an invitation to a housewarming don’t beat around the bush.

Let your guests know what kind of party to expect. Some hosts, especially those in couples, wait a little bit longer to invite people into their home, so when they do it is often a more formal, higher budgeted affair. Keep your guests in the loop will prevent both parties from any embarrassment or from showing up in shorts and a t-shirt to a nice sit-down dinner.

Again, how soon after the move your party is affects your guests’ expectations. For the freshly moved, paper plates and plastic partyware is appropriate, but for the not-so-new nesters breaking out the good stuff wouldn’t hurt.


For Guests


Feel out the situation.

As with just about any party the invitation can offer clues as to what to expect. A professional or handmade paper invitation, especially one sent via mail, usually signals that the party is going to be a little bit on the formal side.

The more effort the host puts into the invitations, the more you should consider bringing a gift such as a bottle of wine or a housewarming kit.

Facebook invites are usually reserved for more casual affairs, but this isn’t always the case, check the guest list for telltale signs of what is to come. A smaller guest list usually means it will be an intimate gathering, while a list of 20 or more is more of a house christening than a housewarming.

If the invitation is extended in person, feel free to ask to host what the tone of the party is to be to prevent awkward party moments.

Only offer your interior design input when asked.

If the host’s house has yet to be furnished, bombarding them with ideas and advice may overwhelm them.

If a hostess asks your opinion on where to put a side table or what color to paint the upstairs bathroom, this is your time to chime in.

Design, especially of the domestic variety, is very personal and you don’t want to hurt your gracious host’s feelings by asking questions or making comments like, “so you’re taking down that wallpaper, right?” or “We looked at a house like this one, but we decided against it.” 

Refrain from asking hosts how much the pay for rent or what their mortgage is.

just like asking someone how much the earn yearly, the cost of their living space is between them and the landlords, and they’ll offer up such information if they want to.

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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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