Brainstorming Retirement Party Ideas

A person assigned to brainstorm retirement party ideas has the responsibility of making the retiree feel honored and making the party fun for the participants, too. Start planning by thinking along the lines of Who, What, When, Where and Why.

Who, What, When, Where and Why

Who. Make a list of the accomplishments of the person to be honored. Then list his or her personality traits, special hobbies, interests and time-off activities. For example, is the retiree a person who likes travel? Knowing the retiree can be an aid in preparing the theme, location, activities and appropriate gift ideas.

Also consider who should be invited, not forgetting to invite the family of the retiree. If children will be included, the activities and time might need to be selected with bedtimes and appropriate content in mind.

What. Pick a theme, like golfing, travel or humor that is appropriate to the guest of honor. Once a theme is set, choose retirement party supplies, including decorations, food, activities and a gift that complements the theme. For example, if the retiree is going to spend winters in Florida, a Florida theme might be a good choice. With a Florida theme, the party could have tropical decorations that include Florida highlights such as Disney World and Epcot Center.

The food for the party could include fresh fruits, summer-type fare such as grilled veggies or chicken, and watermelon or ice cream cake. Activities could be centered on the warm-weather theme, too, by having some party games like the Limbo if it's a fun crowd, or giving the guest of honor beachwear, towels and fun reading. Tropical music could also complement this theme. Last but not least is the tribute. This could be in the form of a collage of pictures, a set of toasts by significant people or a specially written poem just for the guest of honor.

When. Will the party be on an evening, weekend, after work or during work hours? This important planning detail goes a long way in dictating the venue, activities and even menu choices. For example, a midday party should include lunch, but an after-work party could be hors d'oeuvres and cocktails, or a full dinner. A casual weekend party could be held outdoors if the weather is nice. A Saturday night party might be more formal, and a dress code might need to be specified. Again, budget is always a consideration.

Where. Will the venue be a restaurant, the office, a person's home or a party center? Each venue offers advantages and disadvantages, and everything will need to be adjusted to suit the specific location. Parties in the office will require more work, as everything from food and decorations to activities and gifts will need to be brought in and prepared.

Set up and clean up is the responsibility of the host as well. Also, the location in the office is important, as the break room or kitchen might not be the best place for the party. A retirement party in a restaurant is easier because the food is taken care of, and decorations will be simpler. A gathering in someone's home is an intimate affair, but again, setup, cleanup, decorations and food need to be planned well in advance to avoid stressing the homeowner with the details.

Why. On the surface, why may seem like a silly question. But it's important to keep in mind the reason for the retirement party, which is to honor the retiree. Be sure to know why you chose the specific theme, and why it is fitting for the guest of honor.

Other Considerations

A Tribute. The tribute can take many forms, such as pictures, speeches, toasts, a song or poem written for the person or the presentation of a plaque, award or gift. Also one, a few or many people might be involved in creating and/or presenting the tribute. The tribute could also be a roast, but the tone of a roast should be monitored to be sure that it is appropriate for the audience and doesn't offend the retiree. It's also nice to have a guest book for people to write their wishes for the guest of honor either before or during the party.

Invitations. Let everyone know of the retirement party plans. Be sure to choose invitations that go along with the party's theme, are sent out with plenty of notice and include any important information about dress code, gifts or requests for tributes as appropriate. Make sure that the guest list is complete, not forgetting spouses and adult children of the retiree, as well as company staff.

Retirement party planning will go smoothly if you organize with the guest of honor and party guests in mind. Plan along the guidelines specified, and the party will be appreciated by all, especially the retiree.

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