Retirement party ideas

Whether you’re celebrating a family member, friend, or a coworker, hosting a retirement party is a thoughtful way to send the retiree off in style and kick off their next chapter. Retirement parties are usually thrown during the retiree’s last month at work, so once they announce their last day, it’s time to start planning! Keep reading for our favorite retirement party ideas.

What is retirement party etiquette?Retirement party invitations

Champagne Bubbles & Watercolor Retirement by Paperless Post


When it comes to celebrating a loved ones’ retirement, skip the surprise party. The party should be a celebration of the retiree’s 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. You don’t have to divulge to them all of your retirement party ideas and plans, but definitely ask the guest of honor who they want included on the guest list. The ultimate goal is that they feel honored and are sent off in style, surrounded by those who have helped along the way.

How long should a retirement party last?

Typically retirement parties officially last 2 hours, given the breath of attendees. Some companies opt for a 11am-1pm luncheon with light hors d’oeuvres, while other colleagues prefer a formal 6pm-8pm sit down dinner with speeches. During COVID, virtual retirement parties were kept to an hour (or less), and often had formal programs, so guests knew what to expect, and when. 

Do you bring a gift to a retirement party? 

It depends. Sometimes an office will pool money for a single, more substantial retirement gift — like an all-inclusive trip or a really nice dinner. Other times people bring vintage bottles of wine, or books, or something fun related to the retiree’s hobbies (or soon to begin hobbies!). Our Design Services team has also created printable PDF versions of our retirement party invitations for hosts to give as a digital keepsake, or to print for a memory book.

When should you send out retirement party invitations?

Tilt by Kelly Wearstler and Retirement Essentials by Rifle Paper Co.


When you have all the fun retirement party ideas nailed down, it’s time to start spreading the news! Typically hosts send out retirement party invitations 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.  To make things easier gather a CSV file of attendees’ emails from the guest of honor. You can upload it to build your guest list more quickly.

What to say in a retirement party invitation?

Make sure you include all the relevant details but skip any sarcastic wording or jokes about being old. The retirement invitation wording should be nothing but positive. This is a major milestone, and a professional one.

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.

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.

Retirement party theme ideas for venues

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. 

Retirement party ideas to send them off in style

retirement party invitation from Paperless PostLight wood retirement Flyer by Paperless Post


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 company 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 fun 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.

Make the retirement party theme a surprise

Even though the retirement party might not be a surprise, you can still plan something unexpected with creative retirement party themes. Not sure where to start? Get your wheels turning with these thoughtful and thematic retirement party ideas — many of which could work for a virtual retirement party too:

Bon voyage theme

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, and get a photo booth with lots of tropical props too. Then for a retirement gift, stick to the travel theme. Have guests contribute to an airline or hotel gift card, and gift the retiree a Hawaiian shirt as a gag retirement gift. 

Throw it back theme

Instead of celebrating the end of the retiree’s career, mix things up with a fun decade party as an homage to the beginning of their career (think an 80’s party or a 90’s party). Costumes can be 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 fun chapter of their life.

All about their accomplishments

For a personal yet straightforward theme, make the party all about the retiree’s profession. Decorate with props from their field, or create a signature drink inspired by the retiree. Get all guests in on the fun with retirement party games. Fun ideas include 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.

Retirement party invitation wording ideas

Best of All retirement Flyer by Paperless Post

Retirement party during COVID wording

Please join us for a virtual retirement party for ___

Friday, ___, at 6:00PM 

Please join via Zoom |  Please RSVP

In honor of ___, pets are encouraged. 

Virtual Program: 

6:00PM Zoom Rooms Open 

6:05 PM Welcome 

6:35PM Fun Retirement Party Games 

6:50PM Remarks from ___ and ends with a toast


Simple retirement party wording 

Join us as we send ___ on to her next brilliant adventure.

Monday, ___, at ___AM, the Johnson House at Cedar Grove Parkway

Please RSVP 

No end-time retirement party wording

Join us as we honor ____, for over 30 years of dedication to ____ 

Saturday, May, 21 at 6PM 

Grandfather Golf Club

Dinner retirement party wording

___ has announced her retirement

Celebrate after ___ years of dedicated service to ___ 

Please join us for refreshments and hors d’oeuvres as we say goodbye and wish her luck.

Thursday, December 14 | 5-7PM 

FnB Restaurant | Scottsdale, AZ 

RSVP by December 5

Colleagues hosted retirement party wording

Please join us for a special eventing in honor of ___’s ___ years at ____

Thursday, May 16 5:30pm

 The party will gather colleagues and friends of ___’s  to celebrate her retirement and her many contributions to our community. 

3641 N 56th St  | Prince of Peace School


Hosted by the company retirement party wording 

The Company of Boston, Inc. 


The retirement – of – Sarah T. Sanford 

SATURDAY, December 5 AT 5:30 P.M. 


R.S.V.P to HR by 11/28


Cocktail reception retirement party wording 

Please join The Foundation, The Institute and The University to celebrate ___  for 30 years of dedication to our community 

Cocktail Reception  | Thursday, November 14 6:00 PM 

Cleveland Museum of Art | Cleveland, OH

RSVP by November 1st to Sarah Smith

Attire: Business

Retirement luncheon wording

25 MAY 1981 – 25 MAY 2021 

Join us as we celebrate the retirement of Officer ____ and honor his ___ years of service. 

Tuesday, March 24 for lunch

12:30 – 2:00pm | University Club | RSVP by March 10th

Can’t make the party? Send a card.

Retirement cards
A Round of Applause by kate spade new york for Paperless Post


Retirement is a big deal. But a party is not the only thoughtful way to send the retiree off in style. If you can’t make the farewell soiree, kick off their next chapter with a thoughtful retirement card you can make and send online with a variety of retirement messages.


Send Retirement Invites


From a formal dinner to a retirement luncheon in the park, there are endless retirement party ideas to choose from depending on the style of your retiree. Ready to get planning? Browse our full selection of retirement party invitations, as well as all our invitations for businesses