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Retirement Party Planning Ideas

Updated on April 28, 2015

Introduction to Retirement Party Planning

Retiring is a momentous occasion in someone's life. It marks the end of one lifestyle and the start of another. It goes without saying that this should be a major celebration with a great party.

As a general rule, retirement parties are either thrown by the company that the recipient is retiring from, family or friends. If the retiree is lucky, they may even get two parties!

Whoever is throwing the party will need to plan it, so this lens will take you through the different stages of retirement party planning.

The ultimate aim of a retirement party is to make the person retiring feel special and loved, so be sure to make the party memorable and entertaining.

Overall Retirement Party Planning Steps

Let's look at planning a retirement party step by step:

Step 1

First and foremost, the retirement party should be planned by someone who knows the retiree well. Whether this be one person or a whole committee, the aim is to make sure the retiree gets a party they really enjoy. Knowing the guest of honor's likes and dislikes is vital to successful planning.

Step 2

Decide on a budget

Step 3

Choose a venue, date and time for the party.

Step 4

Decide on the theme of party. A theme isn't essential, but it really can add a fun and memorable element to the party. The theme could be hobby related, travel related - it's only restricted by your imagination and what you think the recipient would like.

Step 5

Send out invitations to guests. Include any theme information so guests will know what to expect at the party. You can also include in the invitations if retirement gifts will be accepted, and how formal the party will be.

Step 6

Choose the decorations for the party based on the chosen theme.

Step 7

Decide what foods and drinks are going to be at the party. It could be a full meal, buffet style or just desserts like cake, cookies and ice cream. Find out what the retiree's favorite food is and incorporate it if possible.

Step 8

Decide what activities to have at the party. You could include retirement party games, quizzes, speeches and a slide show featuring the guest of honor.

Step 9

If guests are bringing the retiree a gift, this can be a special part of the celebration. If the retiree would be uncomfortable receiving gifts, make sure to let guests know in advance. For those who still choose to bring a congratulations gift, they should be taken away from the party area and opened in private so other guests are not embarrassed.

Step 10

Retirement Party Day: Just make sure that everything runs smoothly and that the retiree is being honored and having a great time.

Retirement Party Planning Ideas

What's your opinion on this one?

Do you think a retirement party should include a theme or not (and why)?

Themes, Decorations and Retirement Party Invitations

As I said before, a theme isn't essential for a retirement party, but once you have the idea it sure makes the party easier to plan!

A theme can be as simple as everyone wearing a pinstriped shirt to the event (if that is what the retiree wore to work most often). The theme could be golf related if that is the retiree's favorite hobby. A Hawaiian themed would be fun if the retiree is planning to move or vacation there once retired.

Choosing reception decorations becomes a lot easier when you have a theme. There are a lot of retirement party decorations on the market, which you could use if you can't decide or choose not to have a theme. Of course, you will also need the obligatory balloons and banner. Remember, a retirement party is one where it's OK go a little "over the top".

When it comes to a guest list, you will need to decide who will be invited - friends, family, co-workers or a combination of everyone. To make the event as enjoyable as possible for the retiree, only people they want included should be invited.

There are so many different types of invitations on the market these days, it can be difficult to decide on what is most appropriate. Make sure the invitations fit your theme, and reflect your guest-of-honor's personality. You can send invitations via email, postal mail, or both. When a theme is involved, make sure your invitation reflects or mentions the theme so your guests know in advance. You should also mention if the affair will be formal or informal, if a meal will be served, and approximately how long the party will last so guests can plan accordingly. If you cannot find an invitation perfect for the occasion, consider making them yourself for a more personal touch.

Retirement Invitations

Find these and more great invitations at Retirement Party Invitations

Retirement Planning

These videos are for those who need to plan for retirement . . .

Activities to Do at The Retirement Party

A retirement party is a time for looking back at past achievements and looking forward to a new life. The activities that take place at the party should reflect this. Some ideas are listed below:

A Video Roast

Prior to the retirement party, videotape friends, relatives and co-workers telling stories about the retiree that you can compile to play at the party. A "roastmaster" can even be chosen to introduce the videos with witty remarks and funny stories. Personalized glassware favors are a nice way to commemorate this special day, and makes toasting even more fun!


Prior to the event, you can ask guests to present a speech during the party. This can be a 4-5 minute address, or a quick and simple toast. Make sure the retiree knows about this in advance, so they have an opportunity to prepare a thank you response. During that time, the retiree can also share his/her future plans.

Trivia Games

Enlist the retiree to help you create some fun questions regarding their work history - how many cities they worked in, how many employees are at the company, the first day of their current job, etc. Then incorporate questions that look to the future - they could include essential retiree info such as "Where can you buy a fishing license?", "How many miles to the nearest golf course?" or from?", "What time does Bingo start?" Make the questions fun and light-hearted, then offer a prize for the person with the most correct answers.

Other Retirement Party Games

Break guests into groups and create songs that they can sing about potential activities that the retiree can now do - such as rock-climbing, gardening or world travel. Getting people to do this in a group will make it less embarrassing and everyone will have a good time. Reward the winning song with a CD, concert tickets, or some other musical prize.

Retirement Party Planning Gift Guide

This section will give you some ideas as to what to give as a retirement gift.

A very thoughtful idea is to contact a number of people from the retiree's past to supply photos and written memories before the party, so that a scrapbook can be made that the recipient can look at and reflect upon. Another idea is to have a big card signed by all the attendees of the party with sufficient space for personal messages.

The fact of getting lonely and bored is very real for the retiree, so you could take this into consideration when choosing a gift. You might want to suggest a new hobby, or encourage an existing one and buy gifts to promote the hobby - like golf gift baskets or bird watching binoculars.

Perhaps the guest of honor wants to travel in their retirement years, in which case you could give them travel guides, personalized duffle bags or gift certificates.

Another thoughtful gift is a retirement gift basket filled with their favorites - whether it is books, gourmet food, cookies or board games. After all, they have suddenly found themselves with some spare time on their hands!

Whatever gift you choose, as long as you have put some thought into it and give it with a sincere heart, you can't really go wrong - just think about how you can help the future adventures of the retiree!

Conclusion to Retirement Party Planning Ideas

You now should have some good ideas on retirement party planning and be able to give the retiree in your life a memorable and fun party.

Just remember, it isn't about how much time or money you put into the planning, but how much heart you put into it.

Over to you for your comments, ideas and experiences with retirement party planning.

Retirement Party Planning Ideas and Resources

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      There's always a reason for a party it seems :) Thanks for the helpful information.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Agree if you want more parties then getting the best annuities is vital!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Some great retirement ideas there. On a more serious note, please please take the time to shop around for annuity rates when approaching retirement as I ended up missing out on, I don't want to think how much, retirement income because I accepted the first offer.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Have a wonderful evening :)

    • pavlovswriter lm profile image

      pavlovswriter lm 

      8 years ago

      Some really great retirement ideas - kudos on the hub - I know that Jenni Proctor with is a retirement coach and retirement planner - you two should get together and write some more!

    • squid-janices7 profile image


      10 years ago

      Great ideas and tips! I recently went to a retirement party for a guy who liked fishing so a group of us got him fishing stuff he could actually use as well as some funny gag gifts from He loved them!


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