If you’re new to the neighbourhood and don’t know anyone yet, fear not. There are many ways you can get to discover the community and meet your new neighbours, and an open house party might be just the thing you’re looking for. Open house parties are informal, fun and a great way to get to know your neighbors or show off your new home to friends and family. With a little planning and a few tips and tricks, you can be the host with the most!
While open house parties are fairly simple to arrange, they still require a little planning if you want everything to run smoothly on the day. Think about what you need to do and buy, and create a checklist. Try to avoid leaving everything to the last minute, or your party could become a stress fest.
Clean and Decorate
As the big day nears, try to get your home in top condition and let your guests see just why you fell in love with it. You can hire a cleaning service to give it a thorough going over, otherwise, be sure to dust and scrub all over! Make sure your bathrooms are fully stocked up and that you have towels aplenty.
If you plan to decorate, keep it simple and stick to a theme. Left over paint chips can be re-purposed and made into bunting, wall decorations and even napkins. These colorful effects are very affordable and look great.
Create Perfect Invites
When you make your invites, be sure they contain all the vital information. Include the date, the start and end times and state that as it’s an open house and that guests are free to come and go as they please. Consider whether you’ll be serving food and drinks, or if guests should bring their own — these details should also be on the invitation, as well as your full contact details.
If possible, try to deliver your invites by hand, especially to neighbors you don’t know very well. This is a more personal approach and with a friendly face to relate to, your new neighbors are more likely to come along on the day. Stay in control of the guest list by limiting how many additional guests people can bring – you don’t want to end up planning for 20 but struggling with 200!
Bear in mind that people are generally busy, so it’s worth thinking ahead and sending out invites at least 2 weeks in advance.
Keep Your Menu Simple and Delicious
Generally, people aren’t expecting a full sit-down meal, so stick to buffet-style finger food that guests can help themselves to. If you have the time, there are some fantastic recipes for sweet and savory bites, but you can always buy pre-made or even get a caterer in. Variety is the spice of life so be sure to cater for every palate.
Drinks can be tricky, especially if you don’t really know your guests. It’s worth stocking wine, beer and perhaps concocting a punch bowl. Alternatively, encourage a bottle share, where guests all bring something that is added to the communal ice bucket for all to enjoy – you may discover some fantastic tipples. For soft drinks, keep jugs of juice, water and coffee readily available.
Help Your Guests Help Themselves
At an open house party, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to meet and greet everyone – ideally, you’ll be busy mingling. Self-service is the order of the day and guests should feel at home as soon as they step in: put up signs letting them know where everything is, keep coat hangers handy at the entrance and generally encourage them to explore.
Lay buffet-style food out on a large table, with easy access to plates and napkins, and keep the drinks separate to avoid congestion. It’s nice to provide plenty of seating, but if you’re short on furniture, get creative! Makeshift benches, stools and tables can be made from anything from beer crates to spare tires. And if you already took the time to decorate your home and turn it into your own oasis of relaxation, these last-minute changes will only add to its charm.
Keep it Casual
Create a fun, laid back atmosphere with background music, a slideshow on the TV and festival-style games if space allows. Avoid strict schedules for entertainment but create things people can enjoy at their own pace – perhaps leave a karaoke game open on the PlayStation.
Part in Style
When the night is over, encourage your guests to leave a note in the guestbook, or create an informal comments board. This is a great way to remember everyone’s name and get their contact details – and also ideal for sending out thank you notes.
Leave simple goody bags by the front door with a note letting people know they should help themselves. If you’re creative, you could fill these with handmade gifts such as home brew, home-baked cookies or handcrafted jewelry.
Most importantly, enjoy yourself and get chatting to the cast of characters that are your neighbors! After all, finding the perfect home was the challenging part, now you have all the time in the world to simply enjoy life in your new community.