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.
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.
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.
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.