Having recently attended a house party (and enjoyed it tremendously) I have been thinking the last few days about the differences between the two kinds of parties, house and hotel. I have much more experience with hotel parties over the years. The house party that I attended over the weekend was actually only my second in more than ten years of scene life. So, based on my limited experience of house parties, I'm going to try to explain the differences (at least the ones I observed).
First of all, house parties differ from hotel parties in that you have been invited into some one's private home. This is the place where the host and/or hostess feels most safe and in control. A party attendee should never take being asked to a house party for granted. It's an astounding privilege that has been extended to you. At a hotel party, while you may well be there by invitation only, you're not in some one's home. Yes, you should treat the rooms with respect. But there isn't that cozy feeling of being in some one's home.
Secondly, don't expect the constant activity of a hotel party at a house party. A house party is more than likely to be a lot less about spanking play than a hotel party. It's much more likely to be about spankos just relaxing and socializing. House parties are usually free (even though you may be asked to bring some kind of food or drink) so there's no scrambling to get your money's worth that you might do at a hotel party, where a fee is usually paid. This isn't to say that spanking doesn't happen at a house party. Just don't be disappointed at how little play is actually going on.
Thirdly, at house parties, the attendees are likely to know each other well and have socialized before. Whereas, at a hotel party, the party goers are less likely to know each other as well. That's not to say that hotel party attendees can't be very good friends who know each other well. It's just that given the nature of spanking groups, it's inevitable that there should be people attending who are attending their first event. At a house party, a stranger is unlikely to be invited unless someone will vouch for or sponsor that person.
Fourthly, a house party, because of lack of space, is going to be much smaller than a hotel party. The biggest average home is still smaller than a hotel. And in a hotel, there is likely to be a ballroom or a conference room that can be used for socializing. In a private home, the largest room is likely to be a living room or rec room. Still, you shouldn't be swinging straps and canes where there are lamps or things that could be knocked over and broken.
Fifthly, if the host/hostess has designated that there will be no food or drink outside of the kitchen or dining room, then respect that. I've heard horror stories from people who have had to have their carpets cleaned or had to repaint a wall after a house party where the people were rowdier than they would have liked. And always respect "no smoking" zones that the host has established. At the house party I just attended, everyone smoked out on the enclosed porch, despite the fact that it was a cold, February night. In a hotel setting, of course, there is no smoking anyway (here in Illinois at any rate) but I've seen people ignore that and smoke anyway.
House parties can be a lot of fun. But remember that, just like at a hotel party, a lot of work has gone into organizing a house party. This would include house cleaning, yard work, shopping for groceries and supplies and networking with prospective attendees. That's not to say that hotel parties don't involve logistics. But a group putting on a hotel party is more likely to have help with these tasks. A person throwing a house party is more likely to have done it all alone. This isn't a given, but attend a house party with this in mind.
I would love to be able to host a house party, but I can't in my current situation. But I see that changing in the future.