How to plan a retirement party


Many people don’t often plan a retirement party, since it’s not something that happens too often in people’s lives. That being said, there’s nothing to be intimidated about if you’ve offered to plan one. Our tips below will help you get on the right planning path.

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Consult with a spouse, family member, partner or close friend of the guest-of-honor

First things first, find out a contact that you can work closely with who knows the reitiree really well. This will help you understand what kind of retirement party the person wants and who they would like to invite. Which leads us to our next tip…

Get a formal guest list and contact information

When you’re planning a retirement party, work closely with the retiree or someone close to them to come up with a guest list and get contact information for the guests. If you’re mailing out invitations, you’ll need to get names and addresses. If sending invites via email, make sure to get the most recent email addresses.

Who to invite to a retirement party

Again, you’ll want to work closely with the retiree or their loved one to find out who they want. Typically, retirement party guests include:

  • Colleagues, both current and past
  • Close family
  • Close friends
  • Neighbours
  • Church members

Where to host a retirement party

If the party is being hosted by the retiree’s organization, often the party is held at the office with catering brought in or else hosted off-site at a restaurant or hall.

Other ideas include:

  • Backyard barbecue (be sure to rent a tent in case it rains)
  • Rent a hall and have a catered dinner with a live band for dancing after
  • Head to a local pub after work for drinks and celebrations
  • Host a Texas Scramble golf tournament
  • Reserve picnic tables at a local park and have a catered picnic

Inviting guests to a retirement party

In an electronic world, receiving a physical invitation in the mail makes certain events feel so much more special. We have plenty of printable retirement invitations for you to choose from in our Etsy shop.

If you want to send out electronic invitations, you can also do that with our invitation templates. We still customize everything for you; all you have to do is attach or embed the JPEG file into your email that you’re sending out to guests.

Format and program

Often, people like to have a few speeches and talk about the retiree’s accomplishments throughout their career.

Usually, a boss or co-worker will share some of their favourite memories about working with the retiree. Close family and friends may also want to say a few words as well.

And last but not least, don’t forget to ask the retiree if he or she would like to take a few minutes to say a few words and thank everyone for coming.

If you do decide to do speeches, ensure you have the proper equipment depending on your venue and how many people are invited. You’ll want to have a sound system and microphone if you’re at a larger venue with a lot of people so that everyone can hear.

Commemorating the retiree

One of the most important parts of a retirement party is commemorating the guest of honour. Ideas include:

  • A guest book or printable cards where guests share their favourite memories of the retiree
  • Have photo displays set up of the retiree throughout the years
  • Have a video camera set up (or someone recording with a phone) and record guests sharing their message and well-wishes for the retiree. Make sure this is in a quiet space so that they can be heard on the video.
  • Do a roast. If the retiree is comfortable with being potentially embarrassed and has a good sense of humour, inviting friends and family to do a roast can be very entertaining for everyone.
  • Do a slideshow commemorating the retiree throughout the years.

Retirement party decorations

It’s easy to keep things nice and simple for a retirement party. Here are some of our retirement party decoration essentials:

Retirement party decoration essentials

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