As we got closer to finishing up our home renovation, we knew we were going to want to have a housewarming party to show our friends and families the new house. Luckily, I’m one who loves to throw a good party, and my husband loves it too. But, with a little one and running two businesses from home, we knew we needed to plan ahead to be able to make sure we were able to efficiently throw a stress free housewarming party. Here are the things we did and my tips for a stress free housewarming party!
You’ll notice a trend as you read through each of these things. It’s all about batch working. I think any party or gathering at your house becomes stressful when you try to do it all in one sitting. The most well executed gatherings are the ones that are planned out and the work is done over a period of a few days or a week.
This one is always the hardest for me, so I try to do it first. I always have to scour through Pinterest recipes to figure out a “theme” and then build from there. For this party, I knew I wanted to have a lighter main course item and lots of sides and snack foods to make it easy for people to fill up. We also had some vegetarians, some gluten-free, and a few other dietary needs so I wanted a lot of the items to be kind of deconstructed so that people could pick and choose what they could or couldn’t eat. We had about 20-30 people come and here’s what was on our menu:
8 slow cooked, pulled chicken breasts (seasoned with Italian seasoning, water added to cover the chicken, cooked on high for 3 hours then low for another 3)
24 sliced Kings Hawaiian rolls
Asparagus Chickpea Mediterreanean Couscous Salad (Doubled)
Mediterranean Cucumber Salad With Heirloom Tomatoes And Lemon Vinaigrette (Doubled)
Salad Bar with lettuce and spinach and tons of toppings
Cheese and Fruit Assortment (5-6 types of cheeses, grapes, sliced pears and apples, raisins and crackers)
Pita and Hummus
Chips and French Onion Dip
Lemon Layer Cupcakes
Beer & Wine
Honey Sweetened Limeade with Blueberries (tip: have a bottle of sparkling cider on hand to refill your pitcher if you run out!)
The hardest part is having the perfect amount of food so that you don’t run out and don’t have weeks worth of leftovers. We did end up having a lot of leftovers, but it was mainly the salad and toppings. And we had lots of beer and wine leftover as well.
Create a staging area for your groceries and non-perishable items to sit. It’s tempting to put them all away, but having them in an accessible area will make your food prep way easier!
My best advice is to do cleaning progressively over about a week of time. Focus on smaller areas over the course of many days instead of trying to do it all at once. Even if you can spend 30 minutes a day the week before the party cleaning, you’ll cut your cleaning time on the day of at least in half!
On the day of, try to clean as you go while prepping the house but don’t worry about having an empty sink! People expect there to be dirty dishes around so don’t sweat it.
Food Prep & Cooking
The golden rule: Whatever you can cook ahead of time, do! This is one of the main reasons I chose to do slow cooked chicken because I wanted it to be able to cook all day without me having to watch it. If you need chopped veggies for a veggie platter or for other items that have to cook, chop those the day before and put them in the fridge. Do all of your prep before hand so that when you start cooking you can simply focus on that! If there are any desserts or main courses you can make before hand that will be a lifesaver also.
One tip I love using is to set out your serveware before you start cooking. That way you won’t be scrambling last minute to find a dish for something. This also helps you be able to move something directly from the stove to the dish you’re serving it in, without having to dirty another dish or create another step. Vary your serveware by size and also by height. Using a tiered serving dish can really break up the space and allow you to serve a lot in a smaller area.
This also helps show you if you have enough space for the dishes or if you’ll need an additional serving space. We ended up putting our drinks on a separate table because there wasn’t enough room on our island.
I also laid butcher paper across our island so that I could write on it to show what different recipes were. Having people with certain dietary needs, I knew I wanted it to be easy for everyone to know what was in the food so they could feel free to eat everything. If you don’t want to use butcher paper, use some sort of food labels to identify recipes! I love these little chalkboard stands!
It’s helpful to create different stations for your party. For example, a food station, a drink station and outdoor station.
This will help people have a natural flow through the party (and out of your kitchen!). We made sure to have people bring yard games and lawn chairs so that we could make sure we had plenty of seating for people in different areas of the house and outside. This was also a great escape for people so that we didn’t have 25+ people in our 1300 square foot house at one time.
Last piece of advice, enjoy your party! This is a celebration of your new house and you should enjoy it! Grab a drink and a plate of food and mingle with your friends and family. They’re so excited to celebrate with you, so don’t get caught up in the details once the party starts. Just go with the flow and enjoy it!