Years ago, my friend Hanna taught me the value of celebrating the little things in life as they arise. These tough times do not call for cutting out partying. On the contrary, these are the times we need to embrace friends and family and join together in celebration. So rather than ignore your retirement or your colleagues retirement, celebrate it. Justify throwing a retirement party not only as astute marketing and employee relationship tool but also as a wonderful way to usher in a new phase of life. Make the celebration as elaborate or as simple as you please, but don't ignore this significant rite of passage. Let Party Idea Pros walk you through each step of planning your retirement party by providing professional recommendations on all the little details. And if we forget something, feel free to remind us!
Retirement Party Themes
(Hobbies/Interests of the Retiree)
1. Golf – “Teeing up for an awesome Retirement!”, “Retirement suits you to a Tee!”
2. Baseball – “A Grand Slam of a Career!”, “Take me out to the Ballgame!”
3. Tennis – “Serving up wishes for an Ace Retirement”
4. Fishing – “Casting Wishes for a “Reel” Great Retirement!’
5. Sailing/Boating – “Bon Voyage”, “Setting Sail for A Brighter Tomorrow”, “Anchors Aweigh!”
6. Sports Spectator/Couch Potato – “King of the Remote”, “Sports Fanatic!”, “Take me out to the Ball Game!”
2. BOAT BUILDING- “Building a Better Tomorrow”, “Anchor’s Away!”
3. TRAVELING- “A World of Wonder Awaits!”
4. NATURE – Hiking/Camping – “The Great Outdoors awaits!” Environmentalist – “Rainforest Safari”
5. JIGSAW PUZZLES- “You’ve made this picture complete!”
6. MUSIC– “Set the Night to Music”, “You’ve never missed a Beat!”
7. CAR RACING/MOTORCYCLES/HARLEY DAVIDSON- “Hog Wild!”
8. PRO WRESTLING- “Stone Cold Steve (retiree’s name) retires at the Peak of his Career!”
9. WINE CONNOISSEUR– Wine Tasting party-“A Vintage Career!” or “Best Vintage Yet”
10. GARDENING– “Everything’s Coming up Roses” or “Time to Blossom”
11. WOODWORKING/CRAFTING/SEWING- “Crafting a Brighter Tomorrow!”
12. RODEO/SQUARE DANCING-”Wild Wild West!”, “Bye-Bye Buckaroo!”
13. FLYING/HOT AIR BALLOONING/SKYDIVING- “Flying High Into the Future!”
By choosing a theme that fits the interest of the guest of honor, you will have made choosing the perfect gift easier for your other guests…they can purchase something that will be useful for the retiree as they pursue their interests, hobbies, goals or fantasies. We’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg here…have fun being creative!
If a trip down memory lane would appeal to your guest of honor, choose a theme with a nostalgic mood:
1. “REMEMBER WHEN…”
2. “ROAST AND TOAST!”
3. “THIS IS YOUR LIFE!”
4. “NOSTALGIA NIGHT!”
Using a nostalgia theme is a wonderful way to highlight the career and life of the individual you are honoring. Do as much research before the party as you possibly can. Decorate a special chair for the honoree to sit in while they are being toasted, shine a spotlight on him or her, and preserve as many mementos as possible. A thoughtful scrapbook can then be assembled at a later date. If you are including a “Roast”, ask the roasters to balance the silly comments with flattering comments…this party should make the guest of honor feel good! Ask each guest to come up with his or her own toast, tribute or remembrance. This can take many different forms: A note of thanks, a tape recorded message, a video segment, a telegram, a singing telegram, a poem, song, or skit, a photo collage, slide presentation, or a homemade music video. If you think you may have reluctant presenters in your group, ask an outgoing guest to serve as MC for the evening, and put everyone at ease. There’s a ham in every group!
If the idea of spotlighting the life and career of your guest of honor doesn’t appeal to you, but you’d still like to invoke a feeling of nostalgia, salute the era most appealing to the retiree, or the decade in which his/her career began.
1. “RETRO THEME” – 60s & 70s
2. “FABULOUS FIFTIES” – A sock hop or just good old Rock n’ Roll fun!
3. “SWING PARTY!” – A salute to the 40s!
(Fantasy Retirement Locations)
1. TROPICAL PARADISE? – “Hawaiian Luau”
2. SANDY BEACH? – “Beach Bash”
3. YACHTING AROUND THE GLOBE? – “Anchors Away”, “Nautical” or “Bon Voyage”
4. A DUDE RANCH? – “Wild Wild West!”
5. LAS VEGAS/MONACO? – “Casino Night”
6. THE AMAZON? – “It’s a Jungle out there!”
7. GLOBE TROTTING? – “A World of Wonder Awaits!”
8. SULTRY SOUTH OF THE BORDER? – “Mexican Fiesta!”
9. PARIS ANYONE
Decorate your party rooms to resemble the fantasy retirement location as much as possible. Include lots of authentic music, lighting, and food to transport guests to a really soothing place!
2. “DREAMS OF TOMORROW”
3. “HOW BRIGHTLY YOU’LL ALWAYS SHINE!” – Stars, stars & more stars!
6. “THE BEST IS YET TO COME”
7. “WE’LL BE INSIDE OUT AND BACKWARD WITHOUT YOU!” – Encourage guests to wear attire inside out, present food in reverse order (every meal should start with dessert!), have banners and invitations written back-to-front, etc.
8. “IT’S A JUNGLE OUT THERE!” – Take guests on a safari!
9. “PROGRESSIVE DINNER” – Include all the favorites of the guest of honor at different homes, or choose multiple restaurants, and transport all the guests from place to place on a trolley or bus, or in limousines!
10. “TACKY NIGHT” – Highlight everything tacky the guest of honor has embraced or avoided over the years!
Retirement Party Basics.
Our friends at Shindigz reminded us that although many people consider retirement to be one of the most relaxing and happy times of their life, others may approach this time with mixed emotion. Above all else, when you are planning a retirement party, be sensitive to the feelings of the retiree. If the guest of honor is being “forced” into retirement because of poor health or company downsizing, don’t put the emphasis on how wonderful it will be to sleep in and to have all the time in the world for leisurely pursuits. All retirement celebrations should be as upbeat as possible, and should honor the life of the retiree.
As with any party, whether it be a milestone birthday party, anniversary, graduation, etc., we recommend that you center your theme around the guest of honor’s interests, hobbies, passions, or hopes and dreams for the future . To get your creative juices flowing, we have outlined a few theme ideas in the left column of this page. After you make your selection, choose invitations, decorations, favors and games/activities that match your theme.
…Because life should be more fun … don’t forget that even as the host or hostess, you should absolutely enjoy yourself and reap the rewards of your good planning. Choose a theme that you are excited about, and take pleasure in the little moments of satisfaction you’ll encounter along the way. Let the celebration reflect the caring and joy you have put into your planning. If you need additional ideas or suggestions more specific to your party, please email us us anytime…we’re here to help make all your parties a huge success.
Step 1 – A Quick Review of Planning Basics
Step Two – Choose your Event Theme
Consider adding a charitable twist to your retirement party — a giving option can be added to almost any theme choice. Also be sure to check out Party Idea Pros blog posts:
Step Three – Order your Supplies
Most importantly >> remember to enjoy the day!