Top 10 Retirement Party Ideas

If retirement is on the horizon and you’re in search of the very best of the best, top 10 retirement party ideas – you’ve come to the right place!

As of 2018, each day 10,000 people turn 65 which is the standard age for retirement. People tend to feel one of two ways about it: they either want to slip out quietly, unnoticed – or go out with a bang, ready to celebrate. Of course, we think you should take the second route. Retiring is a huge milestone that should be celebrated! It is both an acknowledgment of all the hard work you’ve put in over the decades, as well as a celebration of you entering the next stage of life.

Now that we’ve convinced you to get wild and throw a party… just what does that entail? There are a few things that are important to every retirement party. We’ve put together a list of our top ten retirement party must-haves.

Retirement Party Ideas #1: Pick a Theme

Before you do anything else, you must decide on a theme. By declaring a theme, you set expectations for guests before they even arrive. Depending on what that theme is, they might even dress accordingly! A theme can also help you decide on party decorations. A few of our favorite retirement party themes and decorations include:

  • Nostalgia: Throwback to your favorite decade or memories gone by. Choose to theme the party for the decade you started working at the company. If you’re really dedicated to a nostalgia theme, try digging up old company logos or old company products to showcase at the party as decorations.  
  • Travel Destinations: Say “Bon Voyage” and celebrate upcoming retirement travel plans. Decorate with travel décor and dishes from different parts of the world.
  • Margaritaville: Need we say more? Set up a margarita station in the office or at a great venue and celebrate.
  • Casino Night: Card games, red and black decor, cigars, etc.
  • Motorcycle: Think leather, bandanas, license plates, and biker babes.
  • Old Hollywood: Gold and silver decorations with a glitz and glam vibe. Encourage guests to dress like their favorite stars from years past. This old Hollywood theme is great for a classy retirement party.
  • Golf Themed: Great for the employee who always conducts his meetings at the golf course. Hold the party at the golf course, or bring the golf course to the office with a mini golf set up and golf themed food and cake.
  • The Office: This hilarious sitcom is a great office retirement party idea. Take some idea from Jim and Dwight to spice up the party, like putting some office supplies in Jell-O.
  • Virtual Retirement Party: Whether remote work has become the norm because of COVID or if your company has had remote employees for years now, a virtual retirement party can still be fun. Host the party in a zoom meeting and make sure everyone attending has a great speech planned.
  • Get Punny: Think about your company and what the job entails, can you come up with a pun that would make a great theme? For a writer maybe the theme can be A New Chapter. For a construction worker maybe it’s a “No Work Zone.”
  • Backyard BBQ: If your co-workers are more like family, a backyard BBQ is a great casual party. You can still add a theme to a BBQ too or stick to some basic summer BBQ decorations like red and white plaid.

Tip 2: Achievement Board

You only retire once, so go ahead, brag a little! Put together a board full of the achievements of your working life. Include past jobs, promotions, important projects, big clients, and milestones. If it was a big deal when it happened, put it on the board! This will be a great talking point for you and your guests.

This is also a super sweet gift for the family of someone retiring to put together and surprise their loved one with. If you want to get really creative, you can also get an achievement cake. Ask a baker to create a tiered cake with your accomplishments on the cake. Retirement themed cakes can be overdone and boring, but an achievement cake is more exciting and more personalized.

Tip 3: Photobook or Photo Board

Your retirement party is a chance to celebrate every moment of the last several decades – big and small! Did you become a parent? Grandparent? Complete degrees and certifications? Go on vacations? Perhaps you have photos of yourself on the job or at your very first job?

Go through all of your old pictures and pull out your favorite memories. You really can’t have too many photos – bring multiple photobooks and boards to your party venue. Your guests will love looking through the photos and reminiscing with you. You can also ask guests to bring a photo they have of you to add to the collection. Have a guestbook set up so you can remember who came to the party. It doesn’t have to be a traditional guestbook, you can get creative.

Some great guestbook ideas include:

  • Have each guest write their favorite work memory on a card and have them put the card in a photo album, instead of signing a traditional book.
  • Have them bring a photo to put in a photo album.
  • Have a book for them write a retirement bucket list item for you to do and commit to fulfilling the list. You may want to add rules for them to abide by, so the list is reasonable and realistic.
  • If you are more sentimental, get a photo frame and a photo frame matt and have everyone sign the matt, then take a group photo at the party and put in the frame to hang on the wall.

Tip 4: Retirement Party Games

What party is complete without games? Get your guests involved by planning a game or two to play during the party. A few of our favorites are:

  • “Pin the…” Get a lifesize photo of the retiree and fill in the blank! Whatever the retiree enjoys as a hobby -if they love baking, play pin the apron on…, or if they’re a fan of golfing, pin the golf club.
  • Personal quiz: Who knows the retiree best? Create a custom quiz and hand out prizes to the winners.
  • Two truths and a lie: each player must present two truths about themselves and one lie, players must determine which is the lie.

Tip 5: Speeches, Toasts, and Roasts

A retirement party is not complete without a couple of speeches or comedic roasts. Let guests know ahead of time to come prepared with stories about the person retiring and pass around the microphone – this is sure to get the crowd laughing! Ask special guests who can’t make it to send a short video of them sharing funny moments and favorite memories with the guest of honor to play at the party.

Tip 6: An Awesome Playlist

Your playlist should be full of crowd-pleasers and your own personal favorites – but be sure to throw in some retirement-related music. An extensive list of suggestions can be found here. A few of our favorites: “I Want to Break Free” by Queen, “Takin’ Care of Business” by Bachman Turner Overdrive, and “Hit the Road Jack” by Ray Charles.

7. Food and Drinks

A party is never complete without food and beverages. We recommend serving snack-sized food that can be eaten in a couple of bites. Have a couple of signature cocktails for the night advertised at the bar. What drink is the person retiring known for? For example, if they love a stiff gin and tonic, advertise it as “The Painkiller,” “One Way Ticket to Freedom,” or “(No Longer) Workin’ 9 to 5.”

Retirement Party Cake Ideas

Every Retirement party needs cake. You can contact a local bakery and get a specialty cake make that goes with the theme of the party. You can also do cupcakes or cake pops in place of a large cake, this would prevent you from having to cut and serve the cake.

Retirement Party Ideas Tip 8. Mingling & Socializing

This is a given – be sure to mingle! If you are the guest of honor, make your rounds and take the time to chat with everyone. If you have a sizeable guest list, this can be difficult, so don’t stress too hard about it. A brief chat with each group of guests will do.

As you move along, introduce folks and spark conversation amongst guests so everyone feels included. If you struggle with mingling, try to make sure you have plenty of entertainment at the party, this can take the stress off you, while also ensuring everyone is having a great time. Some great ways to keep yourself meeting with guest are:

  • Rent a photobooth and take pictures with each guest as they arrive. This is a great way to spend time with each guest and have photos of the event.
  • Host your party at a golf course and take turns riding with guests in golf carts.
  • Do a murder mystery dinner so everyone is engaged in the game.
  •  If you’re playing games or doing activities, switch up who you’re hanging out with.

9. Retirement Party Gifts

Undoubtedly, people will bring gifts. Be sure to have a designated area for the collection and have a game plan. Will the retiree open them at the party? This is a great way to show thanks to gift-givers right on the spot. Feel free to note on invitations that gifts are not needed if you’d prefer to skip the presents.

In search of the perfect gift for retirement party?

You can either go funny or thoughtful.

  • Thoughtful Gift Ideas: Something for their favorite hobbies, cooking lessons, a nice bottle of wine, or an e-reader.
  • Funny Gift Ideas: We love this site for funny retirement gifts.
  • Bonus! Useful Ideas: Try this list of the Best Retirement Books to help your friend or family member with a helpful present.
The Best Gifts for Seniors and Grandparents

10: Retirement Party Favors

While not expected, party favors are always a great way to show that you appreciate your guests. Here are a few of our favorite options:

  • A playlist of your favorite retirement-related songs
  • Cheers to new beginnings coozies
  • Mini liquor or wine bottles with “I don’t give a sip anymore, I’m retired!” tags
  • Suitcase favor boxes filled with candy
  • Custom guitar bottle opener
  • Custom cookies made to match the theme of your party
  • Custom cake pops

No matter how you choose to celebrate your retirement, one thing is important. You made it! Take your time and enjoy your party guests. The next chapter in your life is waiting for you!

Further Reading

May we suggest the following reads on retirement!

Easy Ways to Become Debt Free Before Retirement with Medicare Life Health
Easy Ways to Become Debt Free Before Retirement with Medicare Life Health
Do I need life insurance in retirement?
How To Start Saving For Retirement at 50 +

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