Retiring from work is a huge milestone, and like all great milestones it deserves a party! You can throw your own party or throw one for someone else who’s retiring. Use our retirement party ideas and themes to help make this bash one that the retiree will remember for years to come.
Retirement Party Basics
- When planning a retirement party, treat it like any other personal party. Think about what the honoree likes and use that as a springboard for theme ideas, speeches, and the guest list.
- The venue can range from a big gala to an intimate party in a favorite local hangout, park or in the office. Deciding the venue should be based on what the guest of honor is like.
Retirement Party Ideas: Who to Invite and How
Some retirement parties are hosted by the retiree’s family, and some are an official company event. Whichever it ends up being, the retirement party guest list should include both the guest of honor’s family and friends along with their work colleagues.
You can add an additional memory lane element by to inviting co-workers from past positions as well as people the retiree conducted business with as part of their job – vendors and sales reps for example. Make sure you also invite the people the retiree will be spending time with after they retire.
You can create affordable, beautiful invitations online or go with preprinted invites available in a card store. Be clear on the date, time, and especially the RSVP info.
When and Where
A retirement party can take place any time of the day or week. You can have a luncheon during the workday, a more formal party on a Saturday night, A weekend sporting event, drinks after work at your favorite local watering hole, or an after work party in the office complete with music and dancing. The only etiquette that applies to a retirement party is that it caters to the interests and personality of the retiree. You want them to have a fun, memorable event.
What to Do
A retirement party is the opportunity to celebrate the retiree’s past work history as well as their future plans. Here are a few retirement party ideas to incorporate both:
Retirement Party Speeches
Most traditional retirement parties involve speeches that honor the contributions of the retiree to the company they are leaving. Ask bosses, employees, friends or family to say something. Retirement speeches should highlight the accomplishments of the retiree, which can include their careers over their lifetimes. From childhood newspaper routes to the final VP position, it is a great way to remind the retiree of the difference they have made in the world.
You can also involve all the guests by encouraging everyone to offer their own toasts or speeches. If you plan to do this, be sure to mention it in the invitation so that everyone has had to time to think about what they would like to say and are prepared. It also gives the guests who absolutely hate public speaking the opportunity to be left out of this portion of the party. You don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable.
Commemorate the Retiree
Beyond giving a retirement speech, there are other ways to mark the occasion. Check out these other retirement party ideas:
- Autograph Book: Provide a blank book where each guest can write something about the guest of honor.
- Video Interviews: Ask someone to videotape each guest’s remembrances of the guest of honor at work.
- Slideshow: Collect photographs from the retirees life and have them scanned and playing for all the guests to see on a large screen or computer.
- Signature Cocktail: Create a special drink that celebrates the retiree. This is popular at weddings, usually called the signature drink. In the case of a retirement party, you could name it after the guest of honor.
Create a Theme
If the retiree is lucky enough to be embarking on a life of leisure, you may want to celebrate their retirement with an event focused on their favorite hobby. Some ideas:
- A golf tournament
- A fishing trip
- A gourmet cooking class
- A barbecue and baseball game
A themed event is a great way to add a fun flair to the party.
Retirement Party Themes
A retirement party theme should reflect on a your guest of honor’s career and life. You can make the theme about the retiree’s chosen career path or you can focus on their future plans after retirement. Be sure to keep the theme specific. Themes and decorations should be identifiable to the retiree’s career, future aspirations, and network.
Often times, the retiree’s career creates perfect theme when it comes to décor and food. For example, a policeman’s party can consist of everything law enforcement for decor. For dessert, consider a badge cake with their number on it.
Add a fantastic twist to the guest of honor’s retirement by making the theme of the party based on the year that they began their career. Choose decorations based on the era and have guests dress as they would have dressed in that time period. Create a photo wall of old to new pictures from when they first started working through their retirement.
One of the most fun of the retirement party ideas is to make the venue into a mini-vacation for the retiree. This can be inspired by a Luau party theme. As the retiree transitions into rest and relaxation, you can give them a head-start by turning their party into a tropical paradise. Everything from cocktails to decorations to luau themed foods complete this theme. If they’re headed somewhere else, a party with maps and food from their planned destination works well. Guests can wear outfits from their own favorite destinations and can share travel stories with each other.
Does the retiree have future plans to move or travel? If so, pull inspiration for a theme from their next chapter of their lives. If they are relocating, you could plan a party around their new location. A Costa Rican party could have tropical decorations and everyone could wear Hawaiian shirts for example. Serve food and appetizers that their new city is famous for. Combine this theme with a going away party to turn the honoree’s party into a farewell celebration.
Escape work-oriented themes and focus on the retiree’s favorite thing to do. Whether they love to golf or enjoy painting, you can tailor your theme to the retiree’s hobbies. Plus, this theme leaves plenty of room for gift ideas. Choose party invitations, decorations, party favors, and desserts that creatively symbolize the retiree’s hobby. If they’re a wine lover, set up a wine tasting. Have everyone bring a bottle of something they really love.
Office Retirement Party Ideas
The key to hosting a retirement party for another employee at your company is making the most of the office space. It shouldn’t look like just another day at work. Choose office decorations and party game ideas around personal details by figuring out what’s most memorable about your co-worker. Find creative ways to show them how much they have meant to all their co-workers.
When it comes to food for an office party, you should always choose the employee’s favorites. Make sure to buy a cake that ties into their role at the company, like a computer screen cake for an IT professional. Before cutting the cake, plan a heartfelt toast for the retiree where the boss or close co-workers say a few words. Because the retirement party that’s held in the office is usually during the work day, try to schedule it in the early afternoon to accommodate employees who have to leave early.
Play Party Games
Retirement party ideas for games:
- Smashing the Clock: Smash the alarm clock! An important symbol of the workaday life is the alarm clock. It may be fun (and perhaps cathartic) to enable the honoree and other guests to smash an alarm clock to bits. The best way to do this is with a plain piñata decorated like an alarm clock with simple poster board.
- Goodbye to the Tie: If the retiree wore a tie or any kind of uniform for their job, you can play cornhole using ties wrapped around the beanbags..
- Fireworks: Nothing says celebrate quite like fireworks! For a memorable send off, give guests sparklers to form an exit line as th party winds down. The retiree can walk down the path created by co-workers.
- Pin the Fishing Pole: Pin the fishing pole on the retiree. Using poster board, draw a picture of the retiree. With construction paper cut out fishing poles, golf clubs or another of the retiree’s hobbies to be used to stock on the poster board. The person getting the fishing pole closest to the cartoon retiree’s hand is the winner.
- Guest of Honor Trivia : Create a quiz about the retiree’s life and work accomplishments. Give a prize to the person who knows the most answers.
Keep Everyone in Touch
One of the hardest aspects of retirement can be saying good bye to people that have become a part of the retiree’s daily life. Many aren’t just co-workers, they’ve become treasured friends. Work does tie people together, so make sure that tie doesn’t come undone by helping everyone stay in touch. You can help by:
- Providing all of the guests with the retiree’s new contact information. If they are comfortable with sharing their phone number, make it easy for others to text them.
- Setting up a blog or Facebook group where the retiree can post updates and easily converse with work friends and family.
- Encourage the retiree to Facebook or “friend” their colleagues.
Retirement Party Gift Ideas
Popular Retirement Gifts
The best gifts are those which reflect the hobbies and interests of the retiree. Now that there will be time to spend on hobbies, try to find a gift that fits the individual’s favorite pastime such as:
- Equipment for pursuing a sport, such as golf clubs, a fishing pole, or a tennis racket.
- Cooking, language, or some type of other lesson.
- A gift certificate to a craft or home improvement store
- A season pass to a theatre or other event venue
- A personalized memory book, that includes the retiree’s workspace, co-workers and past company events.
If they plan on traveling, consider one of these gifts:
- Luggage or back pack
- Binoculars or camera
- Monogramed passport holder
- Guidebooks for their destination(s)
- Empty photo album