Create a Stellar Retirement Party

It’s your retirement – let’s celebrate! It’s a great accomplishment to achieve, and it’s an opportunity to celebrate you as well as your years of dedication and hard work.

So what do you need to think about for a retirement party? Here are a few ideas.

Themes

Choosing a theme is an easy way to start the planning process. Your decorations, food choices, and party favors (if you decide to have them) can all be determined by your theme. If you’re jumping into the planning process for a retirement party and don’t know where to start, this should be Step 1. Shutterfly has a great article on how to choose a theme that works for your party and your goals.

If you decide not to have a theme, that’s great as well. You can still keep it simple and easy without becoming overwhelmed. For example, if you’re having the party in the autumn, you could use harvest décor on the invitations and for centerpieces. You could decide to use solid colors that go well together for napkins, tablecloths, and invitations, such as blue and gold, and voila! You have a good portion of your decisions already made.

Speeches

Your boss or direct supervisor will likely have a few words they’d like to say about your years of service. But your coworkers or team members may also have some words they’d like to share. Allow at least one speech and/or toast so that everyone attending has an easy opportunity to thank you by raising a glass in your honor.

You may also want to make a speech of your own. You could make it serious and heartfelt or funny and lighthearted, or some mixture of all the above. It’s also a way for you to publicly thank your colleagues for their support and dedication in the office alongside you. Your retirement celebration is all about you, for certain, but if you’re self-conscious or dislike having the spotlight entirely on you, go ahead and thank your team, your coworkers, your spouse or children, or anyone else you’d like to mention.

Slideshows

Decide if you’d like to have a slideshow. Or, if you’re planning the party for someone else, you could decide to include a slideshow in addition to or in place of a big speech. Use photos from past events the honoree was at, photos or video of their accomplishments or key projects, etc. Of course, you may not have photos of these events, so you may have to get creative. But do avoid a PowerPoint presentation style – you don’t want your guests to feel like they’re attending a business function. Keep it simple, keep it lighthearted, and keep it out of PowerPoint if at all possible!

Invite Friends and Family

It’s a celebration for your family and friends as much as your coworkers. Assuming your party isn’t at the office and restricted to colleagues, it’s perfectly OK to invite friends and family as well as business partners, networking partners, and other business connections to join in your festivities. Make sure that your invitations make this clear, however; if you’re inviting friends and family who may have young children, they’ll need to know if they need to arrange child care in order to attend, or if children are welcome.

Keep in Contact

Just because you’re retiring doesn’t mean you have to stop talking to all your work friends or partners. Make sure your colleagues and associates know how to contact you now that your office email won’t be the main method of contact. You could even create new retirement business cards with your preferred means of communication to hand out at the party, or set on a table for folks to take with them. Retirement may mark the end of an era for you, but it doesn’t mean you have to isolate yourself from the people who have made an impact on you.

4 Themes for a Family Reunion

Using a theme can make party planning easier, especially if you’re struggling to come up with a decorating scheme. Family reunions can be a lot of fun for kids and adults alike if it’s planned well and the wide range of ages is taken into account in food choices, activities, and venue. For example, an outdoor reunion in the middle of summer’s heat and humidity might make it difficult for older members of the family to attend and be comfortable, while a completely indoor event might make it harder for children to find play space.

Take a look at four theme ideas for your next family reunion to help you get the ball rolling on your plans.

Simple and Easy

If budget is a concern, or if your family isn’t really interested in something more complicated, then keep it simple and easy. Make it potluck and ask everyone to bring their favorite dish. If your family members are particularly chatty or live very far away, you may not need many activities – they might just want to talk and catch up with each other over some good food. Make sure there are plenty of chairs, tables, and food, and you’re set!

Games

Who doesn’t like to play games? This is a great theme if you have a lot of young children in the family. The kids will be engaged through most of the event, and the adults can chat or play games as they like.

You could ask each family or person to name their favorite game and then provide it at the reunion or ask them to bring it along to share. Make sure there’s adequate table space for tabletop games and card games, and available open space for games like tag or hide and seek. You could also have new games for door prizes.

Children playing table games at a family reunion

Family Tree

A family reunion might seem like it would naturally lend itself to genealogy and family history, and it does – but your guests might need help to get the ball rolling. Making family history or some aspect of your heritage the main focus of the event and then designing things to do around that helps to get things moving.

Provide a large blank book and plenty of pens and ask members of the family to share a favorite memory or family story. This is something you could repeat each year regardless of the theme as well, particularly if you’re trying to collect family history stories, and you could use a new book each year or reuse the old one until it’s full.

If someone in your family is the main genealogist, ask them if they could help you showcase your family tree, either in a printed form that everyone could take home at the end or in a digital format that could be shared at the event.

Family photos are also a great way to introduce the family tree theme. Ask each family to send you a certain number of photos and then display them in a slideshow throughout the event. It gives everyone something to look at and chat about while eating or mingling.

Decades

This could be a really fun theme to work with! Choose a decade, let’s say the 1980s, and highlight that decade at your event. You could play ‘80s music, wear clothes from the decade, play games popular in the ‘80s, and more.

For the more recent decades, you could showcase different family members who were born in that span of years. Maybe they could be the only people to win a door prize, or they could receive a special dessert. Everyone could share a favorite thing they enjoyed about the decade, or what their favorite movie was from that time.

Emphasizing a decade as your theme gives you a host of options to play with!

5 Ideas for Hosting a Launch Party

A launch party is a fantastic tool to create buzz for a new company, new product, or other celebratory event. Everyone from small businesses, authors, artists, musicians, and large companies can use a launch party to announce themselves to the world and invite people to celebrate in their success. It can also be a great way to make new contacts and network with guests who come to learn more about what you have to offer. Here are 5 ideas to consider when putting together a launch party.

Location

Location, location, location! You hear it all the time in real estate – it’s just as true for hosting a party. You want a venue that will meet your needs and still be cost effective. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive venue in the area to be a great party. Hotel conference rooms are always an option, but you could also consider a restaurant with a private room (which has the benefit of built-in food and drink), a park, a theater, or other such unusual space. Depending on the size of your party, you could ask partner businesses if they have space to rent in their offices or buildings that would be appropriate as well.

Free Food

We all love free things. Offer to feed people and they will come. There are multiple options for providing food for guests, depending on your venue and budget. Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Catering. Having your event catered is perhaps the most stress-free option, but it doesn’t come without cost. Carefully consider your budget and get quotes from local catering companies to explore your options.
  • Food trucks. If your event is outdoors or on a street that allows food trucks, you could consider booking one or two food trucks to be at your event for 2-3 hours.
  • Local restaurants or vendors. Involving local businesses in your event not only supports your local economy, it can create goodwill and networking opportunities among fellow business owners. Get in touch with some local small businesses and ask if they would be willing to sponsor or contribute to your event, and offer to promote their restaurant or company at the event itself and on social media.
  • Friends and family. If you’re holding a truly small event—as in, less than 50 people—then you may be able to make enough food and drink yourself and with the help of family and friends. However, think very carefully before going this route. Consider how much stress this could add to your pre-event organization, and consider how much your loved ones will actually be able to help in the days leading up to your party. If it’s going to create too much havoc, you may want to consider another option.

Giveaways or Door Prizes

Who doesn’t like to win a prize? Especially if it’s something useful, fun, or unique. A popular door prize is Amazon gift cards, or gift cards in general. However, you can also give away free tickets to an event, coupons or discounts for a product or service, centerpieces, or items from partners and sponsors who have volunteered something for the occasion. I encourage you to think creatively with door prizes, as it’s a great opportunity to provide something memorable or fun.

Backdrop

Provide a backdrop or banner for guests to take pictures in front of. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Depending on the size, you can get a relatively inexpensive banner from online print sites like Vistaprint, some of which will provide designs that you can use. Guests can take pictures of themselves with your product, with other guests, etc., and post their photos on social media. Ask guests to tag you in their posts or use a hashtag to help spread the word about your event.

You may even want to hire a professional photographer for an hour or two to take photos so you have quality images to share on your company’s website or social media. Combined with your guests’ photos, you’ll have a comprehensive view of your event that you can share.

Be You

The most important tip: Be you. Be genuine. People are there to learn more about you and celebrate you. Host an event that showcases your business, your product, or your brand, and let people get to know you in a fun, low-key way. It’s tempting to try to go over the top with a fancy party, expensive catering or location, or swanky prizes. But if that’s not your brand, it’s likely going to fall flat.