Who (and who not) to invite is a big part of planning a housewarming party.

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You've survived the stress of selecting the perfect house, packing everything you own into a moving truck and settling into your new home. Now you're ready to enjoy the truly fun part of moving -- showing off your new place! A housewarming party serves as the perfect opportunity to share your new digs with old friends, and it also gives you a chance to meet the neighbors and introduce yourself to the community. Housewarming parties are traditionally low-key and casual, and you can easily tailor the event to highlight the very best features of your new property.

Of course, attempting to plan even the simplest party when you're fresh off a major move will most likely leave you feeling too frazzled to have fun. Instead, give yourself some time to settle in and unpack before you shift into party planning mode. While some families may find themselves ready after just a few weeks, others may wish to wait up to six months after the move to give themselves time to deal with all the logistics of unpacking and getting acclimated to the new space.

The first step in planning a successful housewarming party is to decide what type of event you want to host. With a traditional party, you'll need to put together a standard guest list and send invitations. Expect party guests to stay for the majority of the event and to bring gifts. If you think you might be short on space or you simply want to meet as many people as possible, consider holding an open house instead. With an open house, guests will typically drop by for short periods and introduce themselves, but shouldn't be expected to bring gifts.

Whichever format you choose, you'll need invitations to let people know about your party. Given the casual nature of the average housewarming event, there's no need to send invitations far in advance. You can send them as late as a few days before the event or as early as three weeks prior. Stick to simple print-at-home cards to send to neighbors, or use online invitations to invite friends and family.