The Ultimate Guide to Hosting a House Party


What makes a great house party? For my family, a great house party has several factors. I’ve compiled a list of best practices for you to consider when planning on hosting your next holiday event. Comment below and add your own!

The important thing to think about is that your guests are coming into your home because they love your company and appreciate the invitation. Your home does not have to be perfect! These are your friends, after all. Don’t be afraid to host!

The Ultimate Guide to Hosting a House Party:

  • Decide on a budget and be realistic. 
  • Make a guestlist. I like to use the rule of three on this: do they live within walking distance? Will an Uber be reasonable for them? Are they available? Consider these things because of the first item on this list, the budget. If you want to invite your friends who live out of town, will you also be hosting them overnight? If so, do you have space/linens/extra toiletries/blankets, etc. 
  • Consider food in terms of your guestlist. Do your guests have small children? If so, they’re probably not eating steak. Are your guests mostly adults? How many are vegetarians or have dietary restrictions? Are your guests the martini crowd? White Claws? 
  • The Ultimate Guide to Hosting a House Party
    The Ultimate Guide to Hosting a House Party

    When I think about a theme or decorations, I always think of what I have on hand (see first item on this list). My family and I love to host events, so investing in neutral tone cloth-table covers, serving platters, and cloth napkins has made a real difference. These things cut down on waste products and are machine washable.  Adding a special touch or holiday themed centerpiece makes the event feel special, without having to buy disposable decor. 

  • Don’t have a lot of space? Consider moving a couch to extend your kitchen table or clear out your garage. The goal is to have a central space for your party. Kids and adults will move around your home or apartment, but you want to have a place that feels central to the gathering. Don’t feel shy about making your event in your front yard, or one hundred percent in your backyard. 
  • Are folding chairs acceptable? Absolutely! Martha Steward really did a number on our perception of what a house party should look like. Focus on making your guests feel welcomed in your home the way it is. No one is expecting to walk into a ‘staged’ home. This is where you live – it should feel like it. 
  • My husband and I go back and forth about catering, cooking and potlucks. While we both like to cook, we also like to enjoy time with our guests, which is hard to do when we’re prepping food in the kitchen. While catering seems like the answer it isn’t always the easiest. Keeping catered food warm is something to consider. Most people don’t show up to parties on time, or at the same time. Unless you’re hosting a sit-down dinner, consider investing in a three-pot crock pot. Consider these electric warmers versus the disposable ones.
  • The Ultimate Guide to Hosting a House Party
    The Ultimate Guide to Hosting a House Party

    We recently hosted a party and asked our guests to bring a platter, or board (as in charcuterie board). We invited them to get creative. There was a pumpkin shaped food board and Day-of-The–Dead inspired dessert board, among others. The idea was inspired by TikTok and I highly recommend it. I’ve also seen a ‘bring a bucket’ party idea.  The bucket should be filled with your guests’ creativity! These are just a few of the ways to include your guests into the fabric of the party, and a fun alternative to the traditional potluck.

  • Do you have a friend who makes a special dish? Don’t be shy! Our family member makes arepas and they are delicious! He made them from scratch in our kitchen and handed them to our guests off the skillet! They were a hit! 10 out of 10, recommend.
  • If your party’s budget is more flexible, here are some favorite additional touches that change the whole house party experience: get a nanny that will watch over the kids. Hire a DJ, photobooth or face painter. Hire a cleaning service before, after, or during your party. If you are hosting a family overnight, plan an additional brunch in the morning. You can do without these things, but these additional expenses will make it easier to plan a next event. 

Above all, recognize how special it is to invite your friends and family to an event or party. Investing in your community by having a house party is the easiest way to make your friends and family feel special and appreciated. One additional piece of advice: as the host, you and your family are the belles of the ball. Remember to give yourselves time for a shower, outfits, and makeup. It’s your night, so have fun!


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