As for any other party, the secret is in the planning for a housewarming. Checklists, shopping lists and guest lists should be your top priority in the planning stage.
- Make arrangements to have your house cleaned, either by you or someone else. Guests at a housewarming expect a tour of the new house!
- If the new homeowners are reluctant to throw their own party, it's appropriate for friends to plan it - even as a surprise.
- Set a budget for the party. This should be done first and will drive some of the other decisions you need to make.
- Decide what kind of party you want to have. Everything from an informal outdoor barbecue to an open house to a formal sit-down dinner is appropriate. (Your budget should guide you in making this choice.)
- Make a checklist of everything that needs to be done before the party. Refer to it often, and cross items off as they are done.
- Decide if you want any activities other than socializing and eating at the party. If so, plan the games or other activities you will include.
- Choose a menu. This will depend heavily on the kind of party you are planning, but you should decide if you are hiring a caterer, having guests bring food potluck, or if you are doing the cooking.
- Make a guest list. Close friends of the new homeowner should be included, as well as new neighbors if the object is a getting-to-know-you theme.
- Buy or make the invitations. Or, if the party is casual, do the inviting over the phone. Be sure to include the type of party, date and time, and give guests some idea of what to wear (“casual” or “dressy” etc.) Since some people may not know the way to the new house, give directions or include a map.
- Keep track of RSVPs so you know how many guests will be coming.
- Make a shopping list. Include everything you will need to provide food and beverages, make decorations or centerpieces, and items you will use for serving food and drink.
Don't forget the thank-you notes. If you are giving the party for yourself, you are likely to receive gifts from guests unless you specify "no gifts" on the invitation.