Remember the days when parties were actually fun? Where there would be lavish decor, insane desserts and live celebrity performances? OK, fine— maybe that only happens at parties hosted by a Kardashian. But after a year of forced virtual gatherings and living in sweatpants, we’re practically begging for our neighbors to make a noise complaint. And now they can! Party season is *finally* back, and if you’re among the 2.1 million Americans who purchased a home during the pandemic, there’s no better time to show off your new digs. Here, find six easy steps to throwing an epic housewarming party (because things won’t really be back to normal until we start comparing which of our friends has the coolest backyard).

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1. Set Your Budget and Determine Your Guest List

A housewarming party can get expensive really fast. Jot down a rough list of everyone you’d like to invite, setting a figure for how much you’d like to spend in total. That may determine just how casual your party is—say, a backyard cookout versus a sit-down dinner—and whether you’ll need to scale back your guest list a bit…since, you know, that whole buying-a-house part wasn’t exactly cheap. To get a rough sense of what costs you’ll incur (as well as a handy guide to how much food and booze to plan on buying), check out this guide.

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2. Plan Out Your Space

OK, so you might not be planning a wedding here, but there are some important logistics to consider before everyone arrives. First and foremost, envision your space and think about the vibe of the party that you want to set. Then, think about where you want your guests to be. Are you planning a backyard BBQ with five families and a bunch of kids? If so, you’ll want to keep the festivities (and the dirt) outside. We’d recommend investing in a weather-resistant pergola and a few mosquito-zapping lights (because nature is not known for its cooperation, and you just had your kitchen floors refinished). Then, no matter where you’re entertaining, make sure there’s enough seating to accommodate everyone. Eating skillet paella while cross-legged on the living room floor is only acceptable if you’re under 21, living in your first apartment. After all, nothing says ‘I don’t give a shi*t about you,’ like a forgotten chair.

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Paperless Post

3. Select (and Save) on Your Invitations

Back in 2016, we decided: “Spending money on paper invitations should be reserved for weddings, graduations and bat mitzvahs,” and the verdict still stands. While your guests might appreciate the sentimental value of a printed invite, they definitely will not appreciate a plate of finger foods as the main course because you spent your budget on snail mail. Plus, today’s digital invites are not what they used to be! Vendors like Paperless Post and Minted have created an entire marketplace of chic, affordable invitations that you can choose from. Plus, there’s RSVP tracking, so you’ll never have to worry about whether your S.O.’s boss received the invite.

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4. Choose Your Cuisine and Cocktails

If you want to ensure your party’s success, there are two simple rules to follow (and they go hand-in-hand): Keep the drinks flowing and don’t starve your guests. From portable summer sippers to festive champagne cocktails, there’s an endless world of delicious drinks you can serve throughout the evening. However, in order to prevent your housewarming party from turning into a fraternity party, you’ll need to provide some equally delicious food (Psst: Here are nine summer party recipes you should bookmark ASAP, as well as our go-to big-batch recipes). Save yourself a headache by grocery shopping a couple of days before, getting your prep work—any chopping and pre-measuring of ingredients, if not assembling entire dishes—done the night before. Creating an order of operations (what needs to go in the oven and when) can also help streamline your efforts the day of the party.

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Mark Sagliocco via Getty Images

5. Game On

Now that you’ve figured out the logistics of when, where and how you’re going to accommodate all of your guests’ needs, it’s time for some fun. The best part about planning a housewarming party is that you get to choose the entertainment. From Quickwits and Cards Against Humanity for the adults to an underwater obstacle course and rubber horseshoes to keep the kids busy, everyone loves a good party game. That said, if you’re curating the ultimate party playlist or selecting a movie for your outdoor projector, it’s always a good idea to consider your guests before pressing play. Scarface is a top ten classic, but there’s a time and place, people.

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Mark Sagliocco via Getty Images

6. Play Up Your Aesthetic

And now for our favorite part: the party decor. The first step is to think about what you want your home to say about you. If you love traveling to exotic places, we’d recommend adding some boho poufs, chunky vases and Himalayan salt lamps for a bohemian and worldly feel (on that note, check out the new Target x Jungalow line for some chic-yet-affordable options). Or, if your space already has a minimalist aesthetic, bring in some modern outdoor lights or a black marble cutting board for a sleek and contemporary vibe. Details make the difference, and your guests will appreciate the little decorative elements that reflect your personal style while making them feel at home (side note: that doesn’t mean they should feel like they reside in your home! It’s always a good idea to give your house a deep clean before the guests arrive).


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