If we’re lucky, we will all get to retire at a young age with secure finances. Because it’s such a tremendous achievement, this milestone should be celebrated with a retirement party. Here’s how to plan a memorable one.
In the U.S., people are entitled to full Social Security retirement benefits from the age of 66. About 10,000 people a day retire. Add to that the many people who retire earlier than 66, that’s a lot of retirement parties to organize.
The retirement milestone is one that’s worth celebrating so you need retirement party ideas. It’s a celebration of an achievement, work friendships, and optimism about the future.
Read on to learn how to throw a one-of-a-kind retirement party!
What Would the Retiree Like?
It’s generally a good idea to ask the retiree what they would like to do about a party. Some people prefer a small gathering of intimate friends. Others love a larger and perhaps louder party.
This is not the occasion for a surprise party. In the weeks prior to their departure, the retiree can be left wondering why nobody seems to be concerned about marking their retirement. A retirement is a major life change for many people and it’s best to avoid any unnecessary doubt and stress.
A retiree might like to have more than one party. A dinner for very close work colleagues and a BBQ party for a wider group. Take your lead from them to make it uniquely personal to them.
Where Is the Best Place for the Retirement Party?
The type of party might determine the location. Sometimes the workplace is suitable but you may also consider a restaurant or local hall. If the party will include family and friends, the workplace may not be suitable.
Make sure that the venue is one that is suitable for the number of guests. Not too small so that people are uncomfortable. Not so large that it appears there has been a poor turnout.
The location should also be one where it is possible for speeches or at least a few words can be spoken to the gathering. It should be private enough for people to feel they can speak without disturbing others who are not guests.
You may want some decorations so check if this is fine with the venue before making the arrangements.
Who Should Be There?
Make a guest list and consult the retiree about any special requests they might have. Even if you work with the retiree you may not know everybody they would want to be there. If they’ve said good morning and good evening to a doorman every day for 20 years, they might want to invite them.
Sometimes it’s appropriate to invite people who have retired previously. These may have been long-standing work colleagues and important to the retiree to their career. Consider friends and family too.
Something to Say
Have an informal master of ceremonies to give the event some structure. Arrange for someone to make a short speech. Have them say a few words about the retiree with some appropriate humor and perhaps a little touching anecdote or two.
Offer the retiree an opportunity to speak but don’t apply too much pressure if they would rather not. Encourage them to keep their remarks short.
To Wrap It Up
Give the retiree something to take away as a memory of the event. A gift is nice but there are some more creative additions you could consider.
Have a large card or scrapbook circulated before the retirement party so people can add their own comments and best wishes. Have photographs taken during the retirement party and send them to the retiree in an album.
For more party ideas, check out our article on how to throw an amazing house party!