Retirement is something that a lot of us look forward to for most of our working lives, and is most certainly something to be celebrated.
If you’re struggling to plan a retirement party for yourself or someone else, look no further. We have so many retirement party ideas that your only problem now will be which ones to use!
How to Plan a Retirement Party
When a person is about to retire, the future may seem a little daunting so they’ll enjoy a party that will celebrate not only their career, but also the fun and relaxation that lies ahead for them.
You should theme your party accordingly. When you decide on your party theme, everything else will fall into place.
It will be easier to decide on things like the venue, what food to serve, your playlist, entertainment and party decorations.
You can decide on the type of invitations you want to send, if you need a dress code, a guest book, if you need people to serve or entertain.
It’s difficult to come up with ideas for a retirement party, but thankfully you’ve come to us so let’s have a look at some themes that we just love!
Retirement Celebrations Ideas and Themes
What better place to relax than a sunny beach. If the retiree loves the beach and will spend a large part of their retirement shaking sand from their shoes, a beach theme is a wonderful idea for their party.
Host the party at a real beach, or if that isn’t possible you can decorate the area you do have with some sand, colorful buckets and spades, inflatable beach balls and palm trees, surf boards, kites, so on and so forth.
Serve barbecue food, and Caribbean cocktails. The guests can dress in Hawaiian shirts and shorts, or swimming costumes, and eat and drink at picnic tables or sitting on sun loungers and beach chairs.
Who doesn’t love an 80’s party? 70’s party? 60’s party?
Pick a decade and roll with it. Decade themed parties have so many possibilities, think of the food that was popular in that decade, the fashion, the hair, the colors and decorations, the music and dancing and the celebrities, and apply them to your party.
You can choose the decade that the retiree was born in, or the decade they were a teenager, or even the decade in which they began their career.
Black and White
If your retiree isn’t the type to go for a beach party or an 80’s bash, but would like something a little more elegant, a black and white themed party may be just the ticket.
With black and white table covers and napkins, black and white streamers and balloons, white flowers in black vases, guests wearing black or white (or both!) this party could be a sophisticated affair indeed! Follow this link for more tasteful ideas.
You’ll need a playlist of catchy songs that were popular during the retirees’ career, and a stage where people can sing their hearts out. Asking your guests to dress up as their favorite pop star will add to the fun.
Karaoke roulette is a fantastic game to get everyone in the party mood. Ask your guests to put their names into a hat. Have the names of all the songs on your playlist in another hat, and pull out a name and a song.
If the song is a duet, all the better, pull another name! The person (or people) whose name is pulled out has to sing the song.
The possibilities here are endless. There are so many wonderful games in the world. If your retiree is someone who loves games, base it around their favorite ones.
Place a board game, a short one such as Snakes and Ladders, on each table so that people can play while they eat and drink, make placeholders out of Scrabble tiles, entertain with giant Jenga and Pin the Tail on the Donkey.
Click this link for some fun games that you can incorporate into any party.
Cocktails are colorful, fun, and delicious, the ultimate in party drinks. Depending on the venue, you could have a mixologist to make drinks, and a special cocktail menu designed with twists on the usual cocktail names, such as ‘relax on the beach’ and ‘long island retiree’.
Alternatively, why not have some recipes at the bar, along with all the necessary ingredients for guests to make their own cocktails. A signature cocktail in honor of the retiree, made with their favorite liquor and flavor, would add a special touch too.
Click for some amazing gin cocktail recipes to get you started.
If your retiree is a wine, whiskey, gin or beer aficionado, why not hold a tasting party?
Serve complementary appetizers to keep your guests full, and have an expert to educate the guests on what they are drinking. With the right decoration, music and ambience, it is sure to be classy as well as fun.
Sports Themed Party
A sports bar is the perfect venue for a party like this, they already have all the decoration, food and drink.
Your retiree will be a huge fan of this theme if they’re into sports. The dress code can be casual, or fancy dress as a famous athlete if you want to have some fun.
Serve beer, pizza, hot dogs, wings, and have a live game, or favorite pre-recorded game from the past, playing on a big screen.
Brunch. That delicious unreachable thing that people who work the nine-to-five slog just never have time for.
Remind the retiree that there’s no need to get up early for breakfast anymore. They can now laze around all morning and go to brunch.
You can schedule the party for a lazy afternoon, if you want to, but there’s really no law that says you can’t eat pancakes at any time of day.
A brunch menu with tasters of everything is a must. Along with pancakes and waffles you’ll need lots of eggy delights, crusty breads, oatmeal and granola, berries, refreshing fruit salads, pastries, smoothies, and of course some mimosas!
Follow the link for some inspirational brunch recipes. Baby Shower Brunch Menu: A Perfect Brunch for Mama-to-Be & the Girls! and, I urge you to have a look at these amazing pancakes… Galaxy Party Pancakes
If you have the right weather, a garden party can be simply superb. Add tasteful rustic tableware, decorate with colorful flowers and lush greenery with ambient lighting for the evening. Use large flower pots filled with ice to chill your drinks.
For refreshments, a simple lemonade stand where guests can help themselves, and a barbecue or pizza oven along with some succulent salads will serve perfectly.
Edible flowers and sprigs of herbs can make a beautiful garnish in cocktails and will suit your theme down to the ground. Find some suitable centerpieces for your garden party here 10 awesome centerpieces and some tips here Summer outdoor party tips + TIKI torch giveaway
Toast Party/Roast Party
This will all depend on the type of party you are going for, and the sense of humor of your retiree!
To toast the guest of honor, ask the guests beforehand to prepare a quick speech and to have it ready on the night.
Then pass a microphone around the room so that everyone can give their short toast, or tell a nice/funny story that they have about the retiree. Let the retiree give the last speech, and then present him or her with a meaningful gift.
To roast the guest of honor, on the other hand, select a small number of friends and family who can do a good job of commemorating the retiree by gently poking fun at them (without going too far!).
Try to ensure you have a mixture of funny stories by asking people from different walks of life, maybe a work colleague, an old boss, a family member, and a friend.
Keep the speeches short enough so that they don’t drag on for the other guests, and allow the retiree to respond at the end by giving their own speech.
Travel Themed Party
Your retiree may be hoping to travel and see the world now that they have some free time on their hands. Maybe they are already a seasoned traveler and ready for more adventure. If so, a world travel theme would be a great fit for this retirement party.
Think globe and suitcase centerpieces, dishes from around the world, napkins with maps on them, songs like ‘Africa’, Toto, and ‘London Calling’, The Clash. Have your guests dress as pilots, ship captains, and famous explorers..
A casino party theme is a really fun one to organize, and to attend! Serve finger food from a buffet table, or trays of appetizers to be passed around by servers.
Go with a black, red, and white colour scheme, balanced out with lots of green. A magician or a comedian would be perfect entertainment for a casino party, along with a live singer or even a band if you have the budget.
Murder Mystery Dinner
You need a theme if you’re hosting a murder mystery dinner, and what better theme really for a retirement party than basing it on the career of the retiree.
A story where the boss gets murdered and the guests eventually figure out that Chad did it in the break room with a microwave because he wasn’t allowed to take next Saturday off for his birthday!
You can find murder mystery stories online, but if you’re creative why not write your own? Personalizing it for your guests will make it much more fun.
Roll out the red carpet, pop the champagne, sprinkle some glitz and glam, and don your sophisticated black tie attire. If your guest of honor is a movie buff or a fan of Hollywood glamour, this will make them feel like a million dollars.
Movie With Picnic
Allow me to set the scene… Your retirees favorite movie on a big screen in the park or a lovely garden, picnic blankets, hot dogs and burgers, popcorn, candy and drinks. Bliss.
Follow this link for some great movie night inspiration. 20 Fun Movie Night Ideas and this one for snacking tips! How to Make a Movie Night Grazing Board + FREE Printable
Putting Together Your Retirement Party Ideas
So you have your theme, now you just need to put it all together. Don’t forget these very important party staples.
Every party needs invitations. Match them to your theme, a luggage tag invitation for a travel themed party, a movie ticket invitation for a movie night, a VIP pass for a Hollywood theme.
Start as you mean to go on, make every moment an experience for your guests. Luggage favor tags
Write your dress code on the invitations. Some parties will require black tie, some fancy dress, some formal attire, and your guests will want to know what to wear to the retirement celebrations.
Don’t have your guests wondering what to do at a retirement party. Make sure they have plenty of entertainment with party games, music, dancing, food and drink.
You can find great playlists online for any themed party, music from certain decades, playlists from movies, songs that mention certain words.
Find one suitable, and tweak it to your needs.
Bakers can do almost anything with a cake these days, the sky’s the limit, so why not have some fun with it.
A cake in the shape of an old VCR player for movie night, a sandcastle for a beach theme, have a cake in the shape of the murder weapon for your murder mystery dinner, and see if anybody notices the big cake-sized clue in the room!
A guest book is something that your retiree can look back on for years to come.
Encourage guests to write in it, including suggestions for the years ahead, some memories that they have of time spent working with the retiree, and their contact information so that the retiree can keep in touch with them.