Apr 25

Our Housewarming Party + Contest

This post is sponsored by Glad.  Glad asked me to put together a One-Bag Party, which means all of the waste only goes in one bag. I love this concept. Visit Facebook.com/Glad for more details!

We moved in almost a year ago but a lot of our friends hadn’t seen our apartment yet so last Saturday we decided to host a giant housewarming party. If you remember we live in a 500 square foot apartment so I wasn’t sure about entertaining all those people until we decided on an open house style party. We told guests to stop by for a visit any time between 11am and 6pm. I was still a little bit nervous to throw a party for everyone we know in such a small space but we have an excellent backyard and a really fun stoop so I figured we could always overflow into the outdoor spaces. Honestly, I think it might be one of my favorite parties I’ve ever thrown. It had a very relaxed vibe. I liked that people didn’t feel like they had to stay very long and that people stopped by on their way from one weekend activity to the next. We also had guests that stayed for a few hours and guests that stopped in more than once. It was great because we actually got a chance to have good talks with almost everyone that came through. When I’m planning a party I like to focus on a couple things that make the party feel special and keep the rest of it simple, for the housewarming I decided on Florals and Food.

For the Florals: Since it was a housewarming party I wanted to keep the house pretty close to its original state so people could see our apartment but I decided to put up a garland on the front door to welcome people in. I ordered a eucalyptus garland from the Flower Mart and picked up some peonies, tulips, and wax flowers that I added myself. It wasn’t cheap, it cost a little over $100 but considering it made such a big impact it was a good tradeoff. It only took about an hour to make and hang and I was really happy with the results. I hired Julie Manwaring to make a “come on in” sign that we attached with wire. (Watch for a DIY post coming soon.)

For the Food: I asked my friend Andrea Pimental to cater the food. She is a genius and is so great to work with. I told Andrea I wanted most of the food prepared before the party so I could just bring out a few new dishes every hour. I bought a bunch of small pots and bowls for $1-2 (mostly from CB2 and Crate & Barrel) and handed them over to Andrea to work her magic. The food was amazing. It was so fun to bring out new fun things to eat through out the party. For breakfast we had yogurt parfaits, scones, baklava, avocado and grapefruit salad. Then in the afternoon we got out strawberry tarts, shrimp skewers, panzanella salad and few other things I’m forgetting now. You should’ve heard the oohs and ahhs when I brought out the tray of Butterscotch Pots de Creme. The last few hours we mostly sat on the stoop and ate homemade popsicles and watched the people walk by on our busy street. (Andrea posted the whole menu with recipes here.)

For the One Bag Party: I chose elements that were reusable recyclable and compostable to reduce on waste. San Francisco has an excellent compost program so a the cups and the paper napkins were compostable. The little pots and bowls were reusable but came in cardboard boxes that we recycled. In the end our one bag of trash consisted of the bamboo plates and utensils and some of the food packaging. Not bad for a 50 person party! Glad wants to challenge everyone to have a one-bag party. And they asked me to select some items that a reader could win at home.

(Giveaway is now CLOSED. Congratulations to our winner, Cindy #913!) There are two ways to enter to win all the item pictured below. Winner will be chosen on Monday April 29th!

1. Leave a Comment Below describing what kind of One Bag party you would host and if you want to enter twice then
2. Enter on Instagram (you must have an Instagram account to enter this way) see details on the @ohhappyday instagram account.

Photography by Paul Ferney + a few iphone photos
Florals by Jordan Ferney, assisted by Irene Yu
Food by Andrea Pimental

712 Comments

  • Paula says:

    A twilight Italian feast in our garden.

  • Jan says:

    Loved your One Bag Party! I would host a Mother’s Day “afternoon tea” party.

  • Karla Rosenstein says:

    I’d love to have a one bag housewarming too! We just got married and moved into a new apartment!

  • Lauren says:

    I plan to host my younger brother’s Couples Bridal Shower this way :) Great ideas!!

  • Chelsea says:

    I think I’d do a baby shower and use the china, linens and silver that I’ve acquired and hardly use. With that, it seems like there’d be very little waste at all! I compost all the table scraps…

    Love love love your garland.

  • I’m a fan of the potluck- with fingerfood. None of our parties are kids-free anymore, so that would be a nice option (and hey, less waste with forks/knives)

  • Emily says:

    I would love to host a one bag baby or bridal shower!

  • Ainsley says:

    Oh man! So many of my friends have summer birthdays – I’d probably host a laid back outdoor (potentially surprise?) party :)

  • Audrey says:

    I’d have a strawberry party to welcome the season!

  • lizzzzy says:

    I want to host a brunch-y waffle party — and to help eliminate waste, everything would be eaten on or in a waffle. (Okay, we’d need some plates, too.)

    Waffles and fruit and fresh whipped cream, waffles with bacon mixed in the batter and topped with syrup… and for the kids, a special “brunch” treat of waffle ice-cream sandwiches.

    To be honest, my favorite time of the week is between 10 and 2 every Saturday. As a full-time employee and single mother… it is the one time of the week where I’m not stressed by what needs to happen at work, or what to make for dinner, or even if we’re going to make it to school on time. If I can be indulgent, I’m still in my PJ’s, sitting on the back porch, watching my kids swing on the tire swing as their friends come in and out of the house.

    So, a waffle party would be easy. We have a few waffle irons — and I’d make a large amount of batter for friends and family to make a waffle of their choosing. (And the good thing is that any leftover batter would be used to make waffles for the following week. Easy on-the-go breakfast!)

    And because of my indulgent morning-mixed-with-entertaining, combined with trash that isn’t collected until Friday, that automatically means everything used to serve the meal has to have the least amount of trash as possible. I’d have a simple tablecloth on the picnic table with fruit, cream, syrup, bacon, juice and coffee. In my mind, the only items that need to go in the trash would be the empty cream container, juice container, coffee filter and plasticware. Everything else would either be washed or sent to the compost heap. Easy!

    Thanks for this opportunity!

  • kyra says:

    so lovely! i would have a housewarming party as well when it warms up here in michigan :)

  • Hannah says:

    My husband is almost done with his first year of law school and we’d love to have a party for spring. We never use paper products and generally our only trash is food wrappings that can’t be recycled and table scraps (we can’t compost sadly)

  • Erica says:

    I’m getting married at city hall in May, just with family, so I’d love to host a one bag celebration at our house in June after the honeymoon. :)

  • Lindsay says:

    I would host my darling husband’s birthday in our yard.

  • isabelle says:

    I’m in the middle of planning a baby shower for my sister in law and I love this entire party. Fresh drinks, popsicles on the stoop and a nice floral garland. I think it would work for any occasion!

  • Pam Raper says:

    I would host a wonderful summer party for my new friends at the community garden.

  • Natalie G. says:

    Amazing! I would love to throw a pizza party with our new brick oven in our back yard- the warm weather is finally here!

  • LIZ says:

    We are hosting a housewarming for our first home at the end of May (it will also be a secret engagement announcement, but shhhhhh)!
    This will certainly be a one bag party no matter what. We have enough dishes that almost everything will be reused and food scraps will be composted. Hooray!

  • Stephanie says:

    Surprise backyard popup dinner!

  • J. Trautman says:

    I love hosting a brunch. Big pitchers of bloody mary drinks reduces waste, plus french press coffee. making casserole dishes to serve helps save on waste, too. I’d like to try this test for my next party!

  • karin w says:

    surpprise b-day party forthe kids

  • Kristin says:

    I would have a murder mystery party! It would be so fun to have a one-bag party!!

  • Amy says:

    I would love to host a One-Bag Fireworks watching party for the Fourth of July. We are trying to reduce waste across the board so this would be a great challenge for us!!!

  • Yelena says:

    I am noving in 2 weeks, and would love to host a painting party. Need a few friends to come and help me paint.

  • Vlad says:

    My wife would love this. She throws parties all the time, best one would be a masquarade!

  • Adrienne says:

    A Cinco de Mayo backyard dinner party!

  • Sonia Duenas says:

    I have a wedding rehearsal dinner coming up and this would be perfect! Sweet and simple! Just like out wedding!

  • Seriously, I would want to have this party! lol The florals and the foods look amazing!

    I’m currently planning a bridal shower, so I think I will be taking the one bag challenge for that party!

  • Oh Bethel says:

    I am planning a home goods swap party. Your food looks amazing!!!

  • Jessica says:

    A one-bag Kentucky derby party. I’m the most homesick on derby day, and would love to be surrounded by friends and family like I would back home!

  • I’d host another pop-up dinner on the beach, or a summer patio BBQ!

  • Vanessa says:

    I’m planning a Guac-Off. Where guest vote for the best guacamole in a blind taste test.

  • Kristiana says:

    I would host a 30th birthday party for my best friend.

  • Riva Lyublinskaya says:

    I would throw a one bag tea party for my grand daughter.

  • Stephanie says:

    Ah, I’d love to win this, and I’d throw my husband a 30th birthday party to remember!

  • Jennie says:

    Hi Jordan,

    This is amazing! I move in 3 weeks – and would love to host a 1 bag or even better zero bag housewarming party! I love it.

  • shokufeh says:

    We’re in a similar situation of having lived in our house for about a year, and my considering an open house version of a belated housewarming party. I like the idea of having a lot of it focused in our back yard.

  • Rachel says:

    This is so cute!!! I just adore your garland and all the food!

    I would love to host a late-spring/early-summer pie potluck! Invite everyone over and ask them to bring a seasonal fruit pie. There would be so much delicious pie and very little waste :)

  • Andrea says:

    OMG I love your blog and all your fun ideas!!! So happy you posted this because I myself just moved and am trying to plan a housewarming party, but again, I only have a very small house and am scared about hosting a large party with too many people! Which is why I am waiting until the weather gets really nice so we can just have a cook-out. Love all your decoration ideas and food ideas and will probably steal some of those! haha thanks!!!

  • Mercedes says:

    Surprise wedding reception would be awesome. I also totally dig Lizzy’s waffle brunch.

    Even if I don’t win, I would love to get that fab beverage dispenser. Can you share a link to purchase?

    Thanks so much! Congrats on the eco-outlook.

  • Kayleigh says:

    I would host a Mother’s Day tea party for my sweet mother.

  • Sayoko Lynn says:

    I would also do a housewarming! My new husband and I just moved into a new place about a month ago, and still hanging up pictures and getting everything together so we haven’t had a group of friends over yet. I would love to host a dinner party and invite everyone over once we’re settled.

  • I would love to host a favorite things party. I think it would be super fun to get together with girlfriends and I love the challenge of keeping it to one bag of trash! :)

  • Amanda says:

    A one-bag ‘Pack It Up’ party – all my nearest and dearest would come over for a packing the house shindig. We’d snack and drink while packing boxes and I might even be able to find good homes for items that can’t come with me. Any items to help keep the mess to one-bag are most welcome in my home!

  • Arielle says:

    I would host an outdoor movie party.

  • I would love to do a crab feast on a summer night outside in our backyard! with lights of course! :)

  • lyndsay says:

    so beautiful! and so fun. a eucalyptus door swag could reduce the price a bit too i guess?(thinking out loud for trying this in the future!) instead of going all the way around the door? butterscotch pots de creme and chocolate chip cookies… love the glass drink dispenser thingie, too!

    okay, a party: i want to keep it sweet, modern, fun and easy for my baby teddy’s 1st birthday in august! maybe i should take the one bag challenge!

  • lindsay says:

    I’ll need to have a housewarming party before too long, too! Just bought my first house and can’t wait to bring it up to speed so friends can visit!

  • gabs says:

    i’d have an end of school/welcome summer picnic in a park, using real plates, cups, etc. so there would be zero waste.

    i’d use that bag to pick up the garbage you inevitably see (sadly) in parks these days. win-win!

  • kate o. says:

    I would plan a summer bbq. We just got a new grill and we’re half way through sprucing up our screened in porch. This might just be the motivation we need to finish the job!

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