Nothing says ‘thank you!’ for years of service quite like a well thought out, memorable retirement party. Sometimes, hanging up a bit of bunting and wheeling out a cake just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes, you have to pull out all the stops – which is where we come in. With this retirement party guide, we’ll give you a few ideas to help send your colleagues off in style, from personalised retirement gifts to party themes. So, the next time a much-loved co-worker bids you farewell, you’ll be ready!

1.     Pick a venue

One of the most important things to get right when planning a retirement party is the venue. The obvious option is the workplace. Now, if you have a large office space then it shouldn’t be too much of an issue. However, if you simply don’t have the adequate space to host, there’s no shortage of places you can hire. These could include:

  • The local pub where everyone goes for Friday night drinks.
  • A nearby restaurant with enough room for hosting.
  • A popular event space with catering facilities.

2.     Get the right gifts

A cake should always be the centrepiece of any retirement party, but it should by no means be the only gift that the retiree receives.

Some of the best gifts are ones that the retiree can use now that they have all the time in the world. If they have a hobby or passion, then get them something for that. For example, if the retiree is a keen golfer, you could get them a personalised golf ball or tees.

Alternatively, photo books make wonderful presents. Filled with photos from years of service, they can be a great way to commemorate a colleague. For an extra special touch, you can pass it around the office so that everyone can leave goodbye messages.

3.     Party themes

Compared to other celebrations, finding a good retirement party theme can be a challenge. Let’s look at a few possible options:

  • The Career – Build the party around the career that your colleague is leaving, with details such as food, decorations and even dress code reflecting this. For instance, if the retiree is a teacher, you could have a blackboard and chalk aesthetic.
  • The Past – A fun idea is to theme the party around the year that the retiree was hired, which opens up a world of possibilities for food, music and outfits. In addition, you can hang old – and possibly embarrassing – photos of the guest of honour around the venue.
  • The Hobby – If you know your colleague has an interesting hobby, why not theme their party around it? Whether it’s sports, fishing or cooking, there’s plenty you can do with the décor and food to make it memorable.

4.     Games

Everybody loves party games, and having some themed games around the retirement of a colleague can be an exciting way to send them off in style. Take a look at our list below for some ideas:

  • Smash the alarm clock! – Ever the symbol of the morning slog, having the retiree or guests smash the alarm clock with a hammer can be a fun and exciting way to say goodbye to early mornings.
  • Memory Bank – Everyone can write their fondest and funniest memories of the retiree on scraps of paper, which will be read out, and the retiree has to guess who wrote it.
  • Life Quiz – One of the best ways to reflect on the career and life of the retiree is to write up a quiz relating to them. The team with the most answers can win a small prize.

5.     Speeches

Traditionally, the honoured guest will take to the podium towards the end of the party, but this is also a great time for family members and ex-colleagues to have their say. More inventive suggestions include a video message from every member of the company, or even a comedy-style roast, with the retiree being forced to sit through funny and embarrassing stories of their time at the company.

Hopefully, you’re now ready to give your colleague the send-off they deserve. Let us know how it goes in the comments!