Exhaustion and party clean-up (ok, mostly exhaustion!) kept me from telling the tale of the Hayley Housewarming until now. But rest assured – we did in fact have a party and we have it on good authority that it was a whiz-bang success!
Buckle up while I share with you how to throw an easy and fun open house / house warming party.
Set the mood. Help your guests find your home – especially important when you live in a neighborhood of winding streets and folks are showing up after dark. The old “the party must be where the cars are” adage doesn’t really work when you have 40+ guest cars parking here, there and everywhere.
Whet the Whistle
We actually were able to use our wet bar as a wine and water bar. To keep the white wine chilled, I filled our wet bar sink with ice. We kept a small amount of wine in the house, with the rest staying nicely temperature controlled in our wine refrigerator. We simply pulled new bottles when needed. The wine glasses were a great find at Ikea
– less than $1/each. Now we have plenty of wine glasses whenever the occasion might call for them!
Guests that wanted something else to drink headed out to the patio where we had beer and sodas on ice.
Feed the Masses
Second only to good company, I think good food is an essential ingredient to a successful party. I put together a series of simple items to keep everyone satisfied.
I put out grabbable snacks in my grandmother’s Carnival glass
serving dishes. I’m not sure which was more exciting – the reaction to the tasty olives and pecans that I’d whipped up that morning or actually getting to use these pieces that I’ve owned since my grandmother passed away!
For those who wanted to munch on something different, I set out a cheese sampling of European cheeses (soft, hard and smoked) and the old American stand-by of cream cheese smothered with jalapeno jelly. Yum! Our fab friends gave us this beautiful marble cutting board as a housewarming gift that worked perfectly
as a cheese board.
For those who wanted salt and crunch, there were salsas, dips and chips.
Heartier fare could be found in the dining room. Pulled chicken, chopped beef and sauce from a local barbeque joint, combined with sliced King’s Hawaiian rolls and a variety of relishes allowed guests to build their own mini-BBQ sliders. (This is one of my favorite
quick but fancy party dishes.) I also set out hot bubbly spinach dip with raw vegetables and pita chips.
Inject Some Fun
I believe in having one signature memorable aspect to any party. Our open house signature item was a Make-Your-Own S’mores Bar. We got a good fire roaring in our fire pit (not only great for roasting marshmallows, but wonderful for keeping away the last of the summer bugs and taking the chill out of the early fall evening). Guests could help themselves to graham crackers, marshmallows and an assortment of chocolates.
Remember Your Roles – and Assign a Photographer!
So we didn’t get a lot of photos of ourselves (much to our chagrin!), but we did have friends taking photos throughout the evening. I think the shots of The Boy and I capture our focus as party hosts pretty well.
I worked hard at keeping things stocked while also mingling and chatting with our guests.
The Boy took folks on tours of the house, while also mingling, chatting and offering refills.
Invite a Variety of People
I think the very best parties have groups who don’t know each other. There’s a wonderful pollination of ideas, new friendships begin to blossom and it just plum makes for interesting conversations.
We told our guests (church friends, work friends, friend friends) to come and stay as long as they wanted. Our party “end” time was only a method to keep the party from going all night (we ran nearly 3 hours late – and that was just fine by us!). We also told the moms and dads that kids were more than welcome.
Since it was close to Halloween, we fell on the same night as several kid-focused events. As a result, we had a Greek goddess, a cowgirl and a princess ballerina join us for the fun!
You know it’s going well when there are plenty of belly laughs!
All in all, it was a wonderful party. The Boy’s ready to throw open the doors again for a spring party. We’re thinking outdoors with the grill. Should be fun, huh?
As always, if any of the food items you see pictured strike your fancy or your curiosity, drop me a note and I’ll post the recipe. Unless it’s a family secret. Then you’re just plain out of luck!