How to do a Retirement Party Right

For all the satisfaction of career accomplishments and the anticipation of the rewards of rest, a retirement can be a sensitive time. The retiree is experiencing a major life change, one that will alter all the familiar patterns and cause at least a partial break with people who have over the years potentially become not only co-workers but close friends. It’s a time for the company to make sure its former employee feels appreciated – to assure him or her that he or she will be missed and remembered. There’s no better way to do that than with a fabulous retirement party that captures the flavor of who the employee is and what he or she has contributed to the organization.

Allow plenty of time to prepare. Gather information about the retiree’s background, interests and accomplishments. Translate these into a memorable party setting, whether casual or elegant.

Here are some ideas for a retirement party to remember:

  • Order a cake reflective of the career – for example, a chalk board for a teacher or a football for a coach.
  • Serve the retiree’s favorite foods and play his or her favorite music.
  • Before the party, pass a book among co-workers so that they can record their favorite memories of the retiree. Some gifted writers on staff may want to wax eloquent with a poem. Another idea is to pass out tags and have each co-worker write a funny or special recollection on their tag. Then dangle tags from a crystal tree.
  • Create a scrapbook of the retiree’s years of service – a great going-away gift!
  • Compile a slideshow of video and photo clips of the retiree to show during dinner. Include brief interviews by co-workers.
  • Looking for a game? Consider dividing a page into an even number of boxes, each containing a missing piece of info about the retiree. Each guest must fill in every box, with the first one to complete the page winning. The retiree can only answer one question per employee.
  • Pair our inexpensive eiffel tower vases with flowers or feathers for elegant but affordable centerpieces.

Conclude your evening with toasts and speeches, and the presentation of a special gift. This could be an engraved plaque or tray, or perhaps something that lets your retiree know he or she may be gone but will not be forgotten … like lunch vouchers to a favorite restaurant on a date a month or two out when he or she can meet up and catch up with previous bosses or co-workers. Don’t forget to write the date on your calendar!