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9 Wonderful Welcome Home Party Ideas

Whether your friend or loved one is returning from the military, the Peace Corps, a study abroad program, a faraway college, or wherever, a welcome home party is the perfect way to show how much you missed them. Everyone deserves to feel celebrated when they come back from a long trip, as coming home can feel strange and relieving all at once. These welcome home party ideas will help you express your love and make them feel as if they never left.

1. Order catering from their favorite local restaurant

After a trip away, people often miss the familiar dishes they love eating at home. So serve all of the party person’s favorites from a local restaurant or, if home-cooking is what they missed most, make all of their favorite homemade dishes. Food is tied to memories, so sometimes the best way to make someone feel at home is to feed them something comforting and familiar. This is an especially great idea if they didn’t have access to a certain type of food while they were away, or if they got stuck eating the same three things over and over again.

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2. Serve a special cake

Cakes aren’t just for weddings and birthdays. A cake decorated with the words “Welcome Home” is a must-have for your welcome home party. You can also switch it up and serve a pie, cookie cake, or ice cream cake, as well as cupcakes with individual letters or decorated/customized cookies, based on the party honoree’s preference. Basically, if you can fit words on it, you can serve it!

3. Invite everyone they know and love

If you plan the welcome home party well enough in advance, you may be able to get just about everyone they know and love from their hometown in attendance. Send out invitations at least a couple months before the party, and send friendly follow-up messages to those who don’t RSVP, letting them know how much their presence at the party would mean to the guest of honor. It might seem simple, but this might be the most important of these welcome home party ideas.

4. Host the party in a special space

It would make sense for all welcome home parties to be hosted in your home, but if you are inviting everyone you know and love, you may need a larger party space than your living room. Don’t worry, Peerspace has your back! You can rent a venue that resembles your loved one’s favorite place like a mansion, loft, bar, cafe, library, theatre, art gallery, creative studio, yoga studio, or even somewhere outdoors. You can also narrow your search results to find places with kitchens to make serving food easier. Chances are, if you can think of a place, you can probably rent it out on Peerspace.

5. Ask everyone to dress up

A welcome home party is a big deal, so ask everyone to dress their best for the occasion. Set dress code guidelines on the invitations so that you can be sure everyone gets the memo. If you have pets, consider putting some bow ties or sweaters on them, too! Or, if it fits your loved one’s personality, turn the event into a costume party. You can leave that up to your guests’ interpretation, or guide their costume choices with a theme.

6. Welcome them with the perfect playlist

Like food, music is deeply connected to memories. So if you curate the perfect playlist, you can make them feel right at home again. If you have the budget, you can also hire a band or musician for some live music through Gigsalad or The Bash to make the occasion extra special. Check out the honoree’s public Spotify playlists, do some social media snooping, or ask their closest friends for ideas of bands, songs and genres that they love most. Or, think of the music they grew up listening to in the house and play those songs for old time’s sake.

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7. Host a toast to the guest of honor

Show them how much you care and how much everyone missed them while they were away by hosting a toast. Grab some champagne, sparkling cider, or their drink of choice and some nice flutes or glasses, and on the invitations, ask everyone to prepare to share some words at the party. Public speaking might be nerve-wracking for your more introverted guests, so consider laying out a journal where everyone can write a message to the guest of honor.

8. Go all out with the decorations

There isn’t exactly a template for decorating for a welcome home party. At the very least, you can’t forget the “Welcome Home” banner, but you can also decorate your party space with balloons in their favorite colors, flowers, photos. To make decorating easier, consider picking a theme! For example, if they were abroad, theme the party around that country, or use a patriotic theme if they are returning from deployment. If you can’t think of anything else, pick a color scheme or movie they like and run with it.

9. Make it a surprise

A welcome home party is the perfect event to turn into a surprise party, because unlike a birthday party, the guest of honor is less likely to suspect anything. To make sure everything goes off without a hitch, follow these guidelines: make sure to hide everything, do not leave any internet browsers open that could reveal the secret, make sure everyone involved is sworn to secrecy, have someone distract them while you set up, and come up with an alibi in case they become suspicious. This welcome home party idea requires the most coordination and effort, but if everyone is on the same page and keeps quiet, the party can truly be a surprise.

Make your loved one’s return home extra special with a welcome home party full of all of their favorite foods, people, pets, music, and things. Nothing shows you care like a big, personalized celebration. These welcome home party ideas will help you give them the recognition they deserve.

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