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Throw the Best Retirement Party Ever

Published January 21, 2011        by Rae Ann

Retirement Party

When someone is retiring, they are starting off on the rest of their lives. Most people don’t retire and sit home, so you want to kick off their new future with a festive party. If you’re planning the party, you’ll want to make it memorable, fun, and lively. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Think about the venue. Where will you hold it? Will it be at a restaurant? A dinner cruise? A country club? Someone’s home? Decide first where you will host the party and then you can get down to specifics. Don’t discount having it outdoors in a backyard. You can make that very elegant and creative as long as you have arrangements in case of rain (like a big tent).

Next, decide how many people you will invite. Is it going to be everyone from the office? Hundreds of friends and relatives? Or just the immediate family? Once you have set the number of people, you can determine exactly how fancy you can afford to get.

The party can come from you or you might ask a whole group of people to chip in. Officemates and siblings will often want to chip in even before they are asked. So take everyone up on their offers. Just be sure everyone who contributed gets the recognition for hosting the party.

Send out invitations as far in advance as possible. Most retirements are not surprises, so you’ll have plenty of time to get things planned. Set a date that works for the retiree when he’s not traveling or out of town celebrating. It’s ok to ask him or her for a few dates they may be available. If you’re inviting one hundred people, you want to make sure the date works before you announce it.

Go with a theme. Is the retiree an avid golfer? A seamstress? A pilot? Determine your decorations by the person’s likes and hobbies. You can build an adorable party around just about any hobby. Include the theme as part of the invitations, table toppers, favors, and entertainment. Foods can also be created, especially the cake, around a particular theme.

Get creative with the actual party. Do you want a seated dinner or a low-key help-yourself barbecue? Either can be fun. Or do you want a catered buffet where everyone is free to get up and mingle and dance. You can get as fancy as a wedding type party or as uncomplicated as burgers and dogs by the pool. You decide what you’re comfortable hosting.

When it comes to gifts, you don’t have to say anything at all. You aren’t required to write “Please, no gifts” or anything like that on an invitation for a retirement party. You’re not throwing it for yourself, so it’s appropriate that guests bring retirement gifts if they choose to. Just don’t request them of anyone.

Decide if it will be a day or a night time party. If it will be in the evening and outdoors, you can have faux flameless candles lining walkways and decks to make a nice atmosphere that  lights up the night. You will want to be sure you indicate if children are welcome especially if the party will go into the night. People need time to arrange for babysitters.