Wedding Etiquette Forum

House-Warming Etiquette

I am clueless. DH and I just bought a house, and we've recently reached the point where it is clean, put-together, and unpacked enough to invite people over. My aunt has offered to host a house-warming party for us. How is this done?

Do we have the party at our home, with invitations being issued from my aunt? Is a house-warming just bad etiquette period? Many of the people who attended our wedding in May would be invited to this party as well. Is that gift-grabby? I know we see it on here a lot, but the purpose of our having (well, being the recipient of) the party would not be for gifts, but rather to open our home to our friends and family. Our registry from the wedding is still available (I use it as a guide, since I am working toward completing it myself), but I would of course only direct people there if they asked.

Thoughts?

Re: House-Warming Etiquette

  • In my circle, people bring gifts to house warming parties. If you don't want gifts, just have people over for a BBQ and/or cocktails. You don't have to call it a housewarming party. 

    If people want to buy you a present anyway and they were invited to the wedding, they probably already know you're registered. In most cases, it takes a quick "firstname lastname registry" google if someone really wants to know.
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  • In nearly the same situation as the OP, minus the number of boxes she's already unpacked.  So, forgetting the gifts for a sec, how does a "Housewarming Party" work, exactly?  It would be at my house, but does someone else have to "host" it?
  • We had a housewarming party, and we hosted it ourselves.  We did mailed invitations and invited friends and family to "warm up with cocktails and hors d'ouevres in our new home" (it was held in January).  There was no mention of gifts on the invitation, and we didn't ask our guests to bring anything such as food or beverages.  We were simply inviting people to come over and see our new home.

    Most people who attended did bring a small gift, either a couple bottles of wine, a card, a gift certificate to Lowe's/Home Depot, photo frame, etc.

    We also had a large spread of appetizers, beer and wine, and we had some music and a fire going in the background.  It was just a nice get-together.
    IMathlete
  • NYCMercedesNYCMercedes BOS, NYC, DC. Forever a city girl member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I think as long as you don't call it a house warming party, you're fine, as house warming means gift to me. Calling it an open house doesn't imply gifts.
  • amelishaamelisha Canadian Texas member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer Name Dropper
    Yeah, I'd call it something other than a housewarming, either an open house if it's earlier in the evening or just a cocktail party or whatever if it's later. Just say you'd like everyone to come over and see the house and have drinks/food whatever. To me, "housewarming" implies gifts, whereas "open house" or "cocktail party" means I just show up with a bottle of wine for the hosts and leave it at that.

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  • adk19 said:
    In nearly the same situation as the OP, minus the number of boxes she's already unpacked.  So, forgetting the gifts for a sec, how does a "Housewarming Party" work, exactly?  It would be at my house, but does someone else have to "host" it?
    So, how does a Housewarming Party work?
    IMathletethemosthappy91
  • adk19 said:
    adk19 said:
    In nearly the same situation as the OP, minus the number of boxes she's already unpacked.  So, forgetting the gifts for a sec, how does a "Housewarming Party" work, exactly?  It would be at my house, but does someone else have to "host" it?
    So, how does a Housewarming Party work?
    I have never heard of a housewarming party hosted by anyone other than the homeowners. they are welcoming friends/family for a first official visit to their own new home. The hosts would normally provide food and beverage for guests. 

    Housewarming parties are generally casual. Gifts are not necessarily required, but depending on your circle people will probably bring something small, like a bottle of wine. 

    The OP mentioned her aunt hosting a housewarming party. This seems strange to me. I would probably send out the invites myself, maybe just call it an open house, and if auntie wants to help, have her bring food or something. 
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    biggrouchhuskypuppy14short+sassy
  • A friend is hosting an engagement/housewarming party for us. I think a housewarming party is something you can host yourself, as long as you provide food/drinks. We have a friend hosting ours  because it's also an engagement party. We just happened to tack on "housewarming" because my FI and I just moved into a house together.

    If we had just done a housewarming, I would have provided salad and grill food, and told anyone who doesn't like hot dogs that they are welcome to bring their own dish to share instead. Since my friend is hosting it, she asked everyone to bring a potluck dish, and the recipe. She's turning the recipe cards into a nice book for us which I thought was a really cute idea. She also asked for alcohol for our liquor/wine cabinet, and said she'd provide all of the party alcohol. She's also providing cake, food for kids, and appetizers. She's a borderline professional party planner, so I'm sure it's going to turn out well!

    I told her if anyone asks--no gifts. The fact people are bringing food and alcohol is PLENTY. I'm sure some will still bring a gift, but we're trying not to encourage it (we purposefully haven't registered for gifts yet because of this). 
  • I assume my aunt offered to host in order to help provide food, but my initial thought was that, since house-warmings are typically gift-giving events, it would be rude to host it ourselves. See, this is why I am confused.
    themosthappy91
  • IMathlete said:
    I assume my aunt offered to host in order to help provide food, but my initial thought was that, since house-warmings are typically gift-giving events, it would be rude to host it ourselves. See, this is why I am confused.
    Housewarming parties are very light gift giving events in my book -- unless it was for one of my siblings I would personally not spend more than $30 on a gift for a housewarming party. It is perfectly acceptable and within etiquette to not bring a gift to a housewarming party. It would be in bad taste to create a registry of any kind for a housewarming party. 
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    southernbelle0915huskypuppy14
  • We hosted our own housewarming party and no one brought gifts, nor did we expect or want them to. We just wanted friends over to see our new place, hang out, grill some food, and drink. A couple people brought an inexpensive bottle of wine but that's about it. 

    I think because it's not such a gift-heavy event (like you do NOT register, and no one is really expected to bring a big fancy gift, etc) it's fine for the homeowners to host it themselves. Especially because it's their own house, that they want to show to people. 
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  • Both of those responses make sense. Yes, when I said gift-giving, I meant light gift-giving, like a bottle of wine or picture frame-type gift.

    We will carry on. Yay for new house!
    southernbelle0915beharrington
  • When we did our housewarming we did offer a full meal, but only because it ran from 3-6. We did pans of lasagna, salad and garlic bread. We also offered beer, wine and vodka punch. We recieved LOTS of wine, a few gift cards and picture frames. Some didn't bring anything at all, but we didn't expect anything, as we did the invite as an open house. We also did an evite so it was a bit less formal. Good luck and congrats on the new house!

  • What a coincidence, this relates perfectly the a question I just posted about if it was appropriate for me to host a housewarming party for my friend! This thread helps me understand the whole concept of housewarming parties a lot better.
  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited October 2014
    erinemm said:
    A friend is hosting an engagement/housewarming party for us. I think a housewarming party is something you can host yourself, as long as you provide food/drinks. We have a friend hosting ours  because it's also an engagement party. We just happened to tack on "housewarming" because my FI and I just moved into a house together.

    If we had just done a housewarming, I would have provided salad and grill food, and told anyone who doesn't like hot dogs that they are welcome to bring their own dish to share instead. Since my friend is hosting it, she asked everyone to bring a potluck dish, and the recipe. She's turning the recipe cards into a nice book for us which I thought was a really cute idea. She also asked for alcohol for our liquor/wine cabinet, and said she'd provide all of the party alcohol. She's also providing cake, food for kids, and appetizers. She's a borderline professional party planner, so I'm sure it's going to turn out well!

    I told her if anyone asks--no gifts. The fact people are bringing food and alcohol is PLENTY. I'm sure some will still bring a gift, but we're trying not to encourage it (we purposefully haven't registered for gifts yet because of this). 
    Both of these requests are extremely inappropriate.  Those ARE gifts, and the fact that they're being solicited is just wrong.

    ETA: She's a "borderline professional party planner"?  It certainly doesn't sound like it.



    photokittysouthernbelle0915huskypuppy14
  • Viczaesar--I'm guessing we just run with very different crowds. It is NOT unusual in my group to have a potluck/bring some beer party. If someone doesn't like it, they just don't show up. 

    In fact, unless explicitly told not to, I ALWAYS show up to a a person's house with alcohol and/or food, and everyone else I know does the same. 
  • AprilH81AprilH81 Columbus, OH member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    Our housewarming party is next weekend.  :)

    Housewarmings are acceptable to host yourself since it it is YOUR NEW HOUSE that you are inviting people to.  Traditionally they are held within 6-8 weeks of moving in OR after a major renovation.

    Gift giving varies by circle, but if you get gifts they are usually small.  A bottle of wine, a plant, dish towels, etc.  

    Since you were recently married and want to discourage gifts I would call the party an "Open House".  That helps guests know that you aren't hinting for gifts and that it is a casual "come see the house, snack and leave" type party instead of a formal dinner party.

    We moved Memorial Day weekend and spent the summer painting, repairing, and doing a total remodel of our kitchen and powder room, so our housewarming is on next weekend.  We are calling it an open house and having it from 1-4 so we don't have to provide a full meal.

    We will be having snacks and if people decide to hang out after the party officially ends we will order pizza (I fully expect this to happen based on both sets of parents coming in from out of town and my Mom's two best friends coming in).


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  • You can throw your own housewarming party. Or you can just call it a party if you want to discourage gifts. I usually give a gift certificate to a local flower nursery so people can get something for their yard.
  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    erinemm said:
    Viczaesar--I'm guessing we just run with very different crowds. It is NOT unusual in my group to have a potluck/bring some beer party. If someone doesn't like it, they just don't show up. 

    In fact, unless explicitly told not to, I ALWAYS show up to a a person's house with alcohol and/or food, and everyone else I know does the same. 
    That's fine for a non-hosted party.  Engagement parties, showers, and wedding receptions should not be potlucks, ever.  And you should never tell someone what to bring you as a gift.



    huskypuppy14
  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    We had a housewarming party, but we called it a BBQ and invited people to come see our new house. We provided all the food (though a few people brought things anyway). 

    We got mostly bottles of wine and cards. We had also just gotten married, so we certainly didn't expect or want any household gifts. 

    I think with housewarming parties or open houses, you have to provide all the food, no potlucks, but obviously the owners of the house can be the hosts. I would find it weird for a 3rd party to be the host for a housewarming. 

    But like any other party (other than showers) there can be no mention of gifts whatsoever. 


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