Retirement party ideas


There are few times a party is more welcome than when a working adult finally reaches retirement. Leaving decades’ worth of effort in a given field behind can be an overwhelming reality for many, so it helps to send them off with a celebration of their contribution. Since it’s likely the only time the person will retire, it’s important to get things right. Be sure to make the effort to do some research for the best ideas for everything from location to cake.

As with any occasion, it’s important to ask some questions before beginning the planning: Will this be a surprise party? Where is the best place to host it? How many guests would need to be accommodated? What kind of food and beverages will be served, if any? Will there be a presentation of some kind? Taking the time to consider these factors will do a lot to determine how the event turns out, which will guide the thought process throughout preparation. Celebrating someone’s retirement can be as simple as cake in the cafeteria or as elaborate as sailing on a private yacht.

One of the first things you’ll want to settle on is a theme, if you are going to have one at all. This can be used to incorporate more personal details about the honoree (which ought to be done, anyway) by highlighting some of their interests, like fishing, golf or knitting. If you’d like to be more creative, you can set up events within the larger party, such as smashing an alarm clock or punching the time card for the last time. Sometimes a theme can revolve around a silly gift, like broken electronics given to the new retiree because “they don’t work anymore, either.”

Picking out decorations can lead to some questions, too. First and foremost, it’s important to include photos of the individual. (It is their retirement party, after all.) This can be turned into a presentation or, if the budget allows, a humorous picture might be printed onto napkins, plates or display materials. As mentioned above, it can be centered around the retiree’s hobbies, including equipment or other objects related to the activity. It’s common for a “black out,” in which balloons, table cloths and guests in attendance show up “in mourning.”

Speeches or presentations are customary, allowing co-workers and the party’s subject to share stories from the time they’ve served together. In some cases, a “roast” is held, but it should only be done if the new retiree is up for it. (Some are a little too shy.) At the very least, it’s a good idea to have a guest book, memory box or video camera for people to record down memories. This works out as a pleasant parting gift for the honoree, helping them to recall their good ideas and funny moments throughout their employment.

When it comes time to pick out food, take the time to figure out some of the retiree’s favorites. It would be a pity to send them into retirement with something they aren’t fond of! If you’re having a sit-down dinner, see about having their favorite restaurant cater. Light snacks and appetizers are always a good bet when attendees will be standing for the most part. Many times, co-workers are more than willing to bring home-baked goods as a token of their affection.