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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 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

  1. hannah

    April 25, 2013

    a one-bag rehearsal dinner…could it be done?!

  2. Alison

    April 25, 2013

    I would host a red-rose tea party in my backyard :)

  3. Katy @ All Sorts of Pretty

    April 25, 2013

    I would plan an outdoor movie party, making a marquee sign just like you did last year (brilliant!) but with more grown up food, like Andrea did for you here since we don’t have kids. Cocktails and lawn games until it got dark enough to start the movie, then blankets and tons of pillows to lay in for the movie. Perfection!

  4. Mandy

    April 25, 2013

    So cool. I would throw a Mexican fiesta since we live so close to the border with street tacos and grilled corn.

  5. Courtney

    April 25, 2013

    What an amazing giveaway! The person who wins this should feel extremely lucky! These items will make the perfect party at home! Typically I try to make every party a one bag party. I love using unique serving platters and dishes. If I have to use paper products those bamboo plates and utensils sure make me feel less guilty about using disposables. My favorite one bag parties are casual get togethers with about 8 girlfriends. I try to create a theme for each one I host. My next theme will be Kentucky Derby viewing party for the race next Saturday. I’m encouraging big hats and bow ties :)

  6. Mary

    April 25, 2013

    I’d love to have a traditional backyard bbq one-bag party!

  7. Christine W.

    April 25, 2013

    One of my very good friends (and roller derby wife!) is getting married in October. As a bridesmaid, I’m supposed to help throw a bridal shower and a one bag party would be perfect for the bride! She’s very environmentally aware and eco-friendly in her lifestyle choices and she would love this idea.

  8. Melody

    April 25, 2013

    I’d love to host a one-bag housewarming party too! We are moving into a new apartment next month to and would love to get to know our new friends this way.

  9. susan hwang

    April 25, 2013

    What a great house warming you had! I love the idea of a One Bag Party. Every year, we have a backyard BBQ to celebrate summer and the warm weather. More importantly, for my husband, it kicks off the Ponies softball season (a very big deal, since he’s the “Coach”). We’ll do the grilling, desserts. and entertainment and ask our friends to bring appetizers and drinks. We love hosting parties but the truth is that our garbage is filled with plastic cups and paper plates well before the night is over. I love that Glad is challenging us to to cut down on the waste and be more considerate of the environment while still enjoying the festivities. My husband and I would love to win and participate!

  10. diana

    April 25, 2013

    I would love to have a one-bag party ALL THE TIME! But specifically for our house warming party (or even Cinco de Mayo which is coming up soon).

  11. sioux

    April 25, 2013

    i’d host an old friend/new friend backyard cook out. we moved from the city a couple of years ago to a little hudson river town. we’ve made great new friends, but still keep in touch with the old friends from the ‘hood. i say bring ’em together!

  12. Gina at willowday

    April 25, 2013

    “Spigliato + Ciao!”

    I’d throw a garden pizza party — making pizza on my grill for a no hands dinner.

    The mood is already set with my Spring Flowers popping up around us and my pizzas on the grill will set the right ambiance; then.. good music and those lights (that I wan to win!) and candles. Dessert would be lemon ice in small handmade cones.

    The table would be set with red + white italian linen kitchen towels to be used as napkins (washable) and set with cups that will double as take home vases for the guests. I’ll rinse the cups as they guests leave, pick some of my Spring flowers and send them home with their vases (cups) of Springtime, their stomachs full of Italian goodness and their hearts full of happy Italian love. A look “no hands and minimal waster dinner!”

    Fantastico! Grazie.

  13. Steph Hagen

    April 25, 2013

    I would love to host a little outdoor movie night party for our neighborhood. It’s something we do several times every summer, but this year will be different because we have a new foster son that will get to come too!

  14. Christy

    April 25, 2013

    I would have WeLCOME back to our YaRD at dusk to celebrate Summer knocking at our door. Family Friendly. Perhaps an outdoor movie. Couches on the back lawn. It’s summer time!

  15. Megan

    April 25, 2013

    i’m throwing a babyshower for my friend in june for her baby boy that is due on july 4th. i thought it’d be fun to do a fourth of july theme. i’ll use my mason jars as drink glasses then reuse them to make my homemade strawberry jam afterwards! use my regular dishes and silverware. packaging from food and napkins would fill the one bag!

  16. sydney85

    April 25, 2013

    My husband and I are moving to Chicago next month. We plan on having a “Getting to Know You” party. We are moving into a building with condos that has a huge entertainment area with kitchen, bathroom, tables and chairs. Using this area we could plan on a very large group and be able to get to know other people in the building plus for them to meet us.

  17. Tania

    April 25, 2013

    I would host a Babies & Books Bash. I have so many friends that have had babies in the last year and a half, I’d love to have all the new parents and their kids over to meet and socialize. The decorations, food, etc would highlight a favorite children’s book and each family would bring a book to donate. I’m in SF too, so Jordan, you could bring your adorable little guys too!

  18. Colonial House of Flowers

    April 25, 2013

    found the post because of the awesome florals on the door. okay, so LOVE!! hmm, we are a little flower shop so maybe our party will be a late spring fling. we aim to be zero waste within five years as this party is right up our ally. the campus sustainability group would be among the invitee’s and our local green business group. love your site!

  19. Kirsty

    April 25, 2013

    A welcome Summer party on our deck extending into the park behind our house! To save on papergoods I would have salads (caprese-ball of mozarella, basil, tomato, grilled peppers and portobello mushrooms etc) and desserts all on a stick (fruit/angel food cake/marshmallow etc kebabs) I’d use our huge chalkboard to have everyone write one summertime activity they wanted to do and see how many we could check off over the summer.

  20. Casey

    April 25, 2013

    Oh!! I’d host a ‘Spring is here!’ bonanza!! Or our personal favorite.. movie nites! Those are always the best :)

  21. Harper

    April 25, 2013

    Super cute. I would be happy to come home everyday is I could have a fanciful garland hanging over my door like that. Also, gimme that food.

  22. heather j

    April 25, 2013

    A graduation party for myself at the end of summer! :)

  23. Susan

    April 25, 2013

    So pretty! I’d have an engagement party for myself and future husband :)

  24. Amy G

    April 25, 2013

    I would host our 2nd annual Memorial Day party! We invite all of friends and neighbors for great BBQ and fun times!!

  25. Trish Bautista

    April 25, 2013

    We just moved into a new condo loft with balcony (outdoor space/ room for a grill – yay!) so I’d throw a house-warming b-b-q. Try to keep all the foods on skewers and give everyone their own mason jar cup to save on waste. Now if it would just warm up a little in Chicago – we’d be set!

  26. Kara

    April 25, 2013

    I would love to host an engagement/housewarming party for my brother and sister in law- they just bought a farm and we’re dying to use their barn for a party!

  27. erin

    April 25, 2013

    We are just about to kick off a major renovation in our new home so I would love to plan a cozy ‘return to fall’ housewarming once the dust has settled!

  28. Grace

    April 25, 2013

    I would host a book club brunch.

  29. Rachel C

    April 25, 2013

    I would love to host a laid-back everyone-brings-a-cookie-recipe party in my new apartment (I recently moved into a new place with my sweet boyfriend)!

    I’d invite all of my girlfriends over to swap recipes, eat (what else!) cookies on the colourful dishes I don’t use often enough (no plastic plates! no waste!), and enjoy the view from my balcony on a summer day. Pink lemonade will definitely be served :)

  30. Nerissa

    April 25, 2013

    I’d have an open house party to get to know our neighbors, as we just moved to a wonderful street and I want to return their hospitality.

  31. Meg S

    April 25, 2013

    I’m about to host a bridal shower and would love to make it a one bag party!

  32. Harper

    April 25, 2013

    Super cute. I would be happy to come home everyday if I could have a fanciful garland hanging over my door like that. Also, gimme that food.

  33. Daniela

    April 25, 2013

    I would love to throw a one bag bridal shower for my friends wedding :)

  34. Lindsey

    April 25, 2013

    Oh I’d love to host a backyard party. My friend and I always have little get togethers in her backyard because she has the perfect size, and a great deck. These pieces would really make it a more organized, and adult decorated party instead of our usual red plastic cup parties.

  35. kelsy

    April 25, 2013

    Beautiful party! Every detail is perfect. I would love to throw a Mother’s Day party for my awesome mom and all my friends who are newbie mamas.

  36. lacey

    April 25, 2013

    I would actually host a housewarming party as well! We have been waiting for nicer weather so, like you mentioned, it could overflow to outside spaces. Your party looked amazing!

  37. Nicole

    April 25, 2013

    As we have a little boy due the end of May my one-bag party would be a meet and greet after he arrives.

  38. Rene

    April 25, 2013

    Great idea. My little one will turn 1 in July, and it would be interesting to see how much wrapping paper we can cram into 1 bag!

  39. Lesley

    April 25, 2013

    I would host a first birthday party for my daughter (in July). Outdoors in the park.

  40. Julienne

    April 25, 2013

    I would love to have my baby shower be a One Bag party. I think the challenge would be with the gift wrap, but I recycle gift bags and bows and I could tell guests to get creative with their wrapping options, by using reusable materials or no girt wrap necessary.

  41. Jen

    April 25, 2013

    I always try to use compostable or reusable items at my parties, but I’m thinking of doing a backyard movie night. That seems like it’ll want to come with individually wrapped everythings, so it’ll definitely take a little more advanced planning.
    Seriously love the garland.

  42. Becky Berry

    April 25, 2013

    A summer party for our city friends to visit us by the sea!

  43. Lauren D.

    April 25, 2013

    I’m hosting my friends Bridal Shower in June and this concept sounds so amazing to try out for her shower. It’s going to be a 1920s inspired tea party, and instead of purchasing tea cups for all 30+ guests, we’ve requested on the invitations to B.Y.O.T.C (bring your own tea cup=D). Most of the things I’ll be using will be reuseable (plates, platters, cups, etc.). I plan that the only items that will be thrown away will be cute wooden utensils and the flowers, when they die. I think this is such a great thing to try and make it a habit because of how much waste we all produce. Thanks for this contest!

  44. julia

    April 25, 2013

    I would love to host an outdoor pop up dinner in the field by my house. Having all trash end up in one bag would be amazing and so easy for cleanup.

  45. Roderick

    April 25, 2013

    I never got to host a housewarming party!!! I have lived in the home for seven years this coming July. Would enjoy to host a garden patio-one bag party, due to installing a wooden fence, mulch walkway and red pavers this year to show off one side of the home. Would be so much fun to introduce the home and patio at the same time.

  46. AmyC83

    April 25, 2013

    I would love to host a casual party this summer to just relax and have fun with our closest friends and family. My husband loves to BBQ and our son loves to play outside, so it would be great to have people over to share that.

  47. Carolyn

    April 25, 2013

    We moved six months ago and now that the weather is finally almost kind of a little sunny, I’d love to host new friends and old for a barbecue on our roof deck.

  48. Mallory

    April 25, 2013

    We just bought our first house so I’d love to do a housewarming party as well! Love your use of the eucalyptus garland!

  49. jessie

    April 25, 2013

    My sister is trying to get pregnant, so it’d have to be a one-bag baby shower! And I’d likely steal a few recipes from Andrea. Butterscotch Pot de Creme?? Drool…

  50. Emily

    April 25, 2013

    A ladies french themed brunch!

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