Whether you’re celebrating a family member, friend, or one of your coworkers, hosting a retirement party is a thoughtful way to send them off in style and kick off their next chapter. Retirement parties are usually thrown during the honoree’s last month at work, so once they announce their last day, it’s time to start planning! First things first…
Ask for help with the guest list
When it comes to celebrating a loved ones’ retirement, skip the surprise party. The party should be a celebration of their entire career, so they’ll want to include anyone who’s played a meaningful role—think family, friends, teachers, mentors, bosses, and colleagues (past and present). Instead of guessing on the guest list, it’s easier to let the honoree know you’re planning something so they can give their input.
Think outside the office
Once you have a better idea of your headcount, you can start looking for the perfect venue. If you’re hosting outside the office, start by thinking about what kind of party best suits the honoree’s personality. Do they love sports? Rent out a suite to watch a baseball or hockey game. Are they more of a social butterfly? Plan a cocktail party where everyone can mix and mingle. From formal dinners to a potluck in the park, there are endless retirement party ideas to choose from depending on the vibe.
Give a toast to retirement
During the party, there’s no doubt guests will want to give the honoree a proper send-off. Whether you’re planning for speeches, short and sweet toasts, or a roast, let guests know ahead of time so they can prepare what they want to say. For large parties it’s not always practical to have everyone give a speech. Instead, plan for other ways guests can get involved. Have a guest book to collect everyone’s well-wishes for the guest of honor. Ask guests to submit photos ahead of time for a slideshow you can play at the party, or collect short videos to compile into a gift for the retiree.
Surprise them with a theme
Even though the party might not be a surprise, you can still plan something unexpected with creative party themes. Not sure where to start? Get your wheels turning with these thoughtful and fun retirement party ideas:
Bon voyage: Even if the retiree isn’t heading off to Florida, a tropical theme is a fun way to nod to their upcoming R&R. After all, isn’t retirement just one long vacation? Top off tropical drinks with mini umbrellas, or serve island-inspired food. Deck out the space with fake palm trees and flamingos. Then for a group gift ideas stick to the travel theme. Have guests contribute to an airline or hotel gift card, or gift them a Hawaiian shirt as a gag gift.
Throw it back: Instead of celebrating the end of the retiree’s career, mix things up with a decade party as an homage to the beginning of their career. Costumes optional, of course. Create a playlist of top hits from the first year they started working, and deck out the room with decade-appropriate retirement party decorations and retirement party supplies. Complete the scene with photos of the guest of honor throughout the years.
Goodbye work, hello hobbies: If you know something the retiree loves or how they’re planning to spend their retirement, use it as your theme. Will they be playing a ton of golf? Set up a putting green for guests. Do they love to garden? Give out mini-plants as party favors. From volunteering to travel, help them celebrate the next chapter of their life.
All about their accomplishments: For a personal yet straightforward theme, make the party all about their profession. Decorate with props from their field, or create a signature drink inspired by the retiree. To get everyone in on the fun, plan retirement party games such as trivia with questions about their life, or a word search using phrases related to their career. Have on-theme small prizes ready for the winners.
Start spreading the news
When you have all the party details nailed down, it’s time to send out the retirement party invitations—typically four to six weeks in advance. Some guests may want to travel in for the event, so the sooner you can let them know the better. Make sure you include all the relevant details but skip any sarcastic wording or jokes about being old. The invitation wording should be positive above anything else.
For more formal affairs, set the tone of the event with classic card retirement party invitations. You can choose from our wide selection of stunning designs, and even upload a photo of the honoree to make the invitation more personal. Have a CSV file of your attendees’ emails from the guest of honor? Upload it to build your guest list quickly.
If the tone of the retirement party is more casual, send a Flyer invite. You can personalize it with your favorite photo of the guest of honor, or add animated stickers and text effects. Plus, you can easily share it with guests anywhere you can paste a link. Drop your Flyer in the team Slack channel, post it on social media, email it to a company distribution list, or send in a text.