Retirement Party Ideas

Your loved one or co-worker has worked tirelessly for his or her entire life and now it's time to retire. You can't let this milestone go by with just a simple pat on the back. An occasion like this deserves a celebration. Whether you're planning a party in the office with co-workers, a family party, or perhaps a combination of both, you want to do it right. Here are some things to think about as you get the party started:

Party Location

There are no real rules as to where a retirement party has to be held. It really depends on how many people you plan to invite and what the guest of honor likes. If you're not sure what to do, these are some popular ideas that seem to go over well:
  • Luncheon or dinner at the retiree's favorite restaurant
  • Pot luck lunch in the office
  • Drinks & appetizers after work
  • A big party at a hall on a weekend night
  • A picnic at a local park
You can also opt to have the celebration around a sporting or a theater event. Your choices really have no boundaries!

Retirement Party Planning

Deciding on the location is only half the battle. There are several other details you need to nail down before the party begins.
  • Invitation list – If you are throwing an office party be sure to invite the retiree's family. If you are throwing a party out of the work realm be sure to invite supervisors and co-workers. You want the guests to include all of the important people in the retiree's life.
  • Speeches – Many retirement parties include speeches that talk about the retiree's accomplishments. These don't need to be long (in reality you don't want them to be long). Be sure to allow the retiree time to say a few words if he or she wants to address the guests.
  • Take a trip down memory lane – Include old photos that chronicle the retiree's years of service. You can also put together a video ahead of time by recording co-workers as they talk about their favorite memories. This is a wonderful keepsake idea!
  • Party games – These are certainly optional but may provide a few laughs. Some people smash alarm clocks at retirement parties to signify that they no longer have to wake up at a designated time every morning. Other people get rid of uniforms or certain tools used at their job. You can also set up games that ask questions about the retiree and see who gets the most answers correct. Provide a small prize for the winner if you do this.
  • Designate a photographer – You want to be able to have as many pictures of the party as possible. Designate a person or two to take pictures of the guests and retiree. After the party you can print them out and make an album for the retiree as a post-retirement gift.
  • Create something memorable – Whether you have all the guests sign a giant card or poster board, give the retiree something that he or she can have as a keepsake of the celebration. Special plates and plaques are also options.
  • Create a special playlist – If you are holding the party at a venue where music can be played, create a special “retirement” themed playlist. If you Google song ideas you'll see songs like “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Vacation” come up as suggestions.
  • Retirement gift – At some offices, co-workers all contribute to give one large gift to the retiree. Other times, people will give their own individual gifts if they choose. There are all types of retirement gift ideas out there. Choose the one that best fits the retiree and your price range.

Encourage People to Stay in Touch

Although many retirees are happy to start their new retirement life, they may also have mixed feelings about leaving friends and co-workers behind. In order for everyone to stay in touch easily, provide a book where guests can leave their phone numbers and e-mail addresses. You can hand out the retiree's information or have it available for people to copy. This way everyone has the proper contact information to stay in touch if they wish to do so. Remember, while party planning is important, the most important thing is to have fun and make sure everyone else does too!