Celebration Inspiration: Fabulous Retirement Party Ideas
The day we leave the rat race behind for the adventures of retirement is a major milestone. We have spent as much as a third of our adult lives among the familiar places and faces of our jobs. The bonds formed with colleagues and clients have often evolved into prized friendships. So, when it’s time to move on to the next chapter of our lives, the occasion calls for a major celebration.
Of course, the enormous variety of careers and personalities in the the work force call for an equally varied selection of retirement party ideas. Whether your party style is elegant, casual, or outlandish, the perfect party theme is out there.
“Retiring on a Sweet Note”
Is your retiree a jazz aficianado, would-be rock star, or an avid symphony patron? Include his or her love of music in your party plans. Hire a chamber group, rock band or jazz trio to provide entertainment. Encourage the entire guest list to participate by hiring a karaoke host. Has your retiree been a lifelong amateur musician? Rent a P.A. system and arrange a reunion of his old band. If he or she has a favorite music venue, you may consider renting it for your party. Souvenirs may include a customized mix Cd complete with a customized label to commemorate the event.
- Select a music friendly venue
- Hire band and/or rent a P.A.
- Register on iTunes, Amazon, or Borders. You can create music wish lists for easy gift ordering and pick up.
- Other gift suggestions include music lessons or subscriptions to a local symphony or jazz performance series.
Cake Suggestion: Look online or at specialty baking stores for cake pans in the shape of musical notes or instruments.
“Days of Wine and Roses: Vino and a Taste of the Good Life”
Retirement ushers in the chapter of our lives during which we should savor the fruits of our accomplishments. What could be more fun than starting this phase of life with a wine tasting? Wine tastings can be casual or formal. Call your local boutique wine shop or wine bar and inquire about private parties. Many will work with you to custom design an event. Some even work with caterers who can pair cuisine with your selection of wines. Will the retiree be journeying to Spain, Italy, or Argentina? Let the sommelier know, and he or she may choose wines from that region as a theme. If you prefer to celebrate closer to home, the emerging trend of at-home tastings has given rise to a number of small businesses who will come to you, bringing a selection of wines which your guests can order.
- Reserve private party at wine bar, shop, or via in-home tasting service.
- Select a theme such as a champagne celebration, or wines from your guest of honor’s favorite region.
- Souvenirs such as engraved wine glasses, tasting cups, or wines with customized labels are available online.
- Gift Suggestions: Wine chillers, embossed wine journals, and crystal decanters are lovely gifts. For serious collectors, a sommelier can suggest bottles of wine which will mature at the one, five, and ten year anniversaries of retirement as well.
Cake Suggestion: A selection of petit fours whose flavors are specially paired with the wines of the evening will surprise and delight your guests.
“Last Call Happy Hour: Retire to Margaritaville”
Nothing says “relax and have a great time” like the songs of Jimmy Buffett and a frozen margarita. A “Margaritaville” themed party is easy to arrange. Ask guests to wear their favorite Hawaiian shirts and cruise wear. Then distribute leis to each guest as they arrive. You may even be able to rent frozen margarita makers from a local catering company. If not, ask each guest to bring a blender full of their favorite fruity concoction. Serve them up in tiki glasses from your favorite party supply store and enjoy!
- Lei’s, tiki torches, tiki glasses, and even grass skirts can be found at your local party supply store.
- Load your ipod with a playlist of the Beach Boys, Don Ho, and of course, Jimmy Buffett.
- Rent resort style margarita makers, or set up a margarita buffet with blenders, fruit and plenty of ice.
Cake Suggestion: Continue the tropical party theme with pineapple upside down cake, or key lime and coconut flavored cupcakes.
“Farewell and On To the Fairway”
Many a retiree-to-be can be found daydreaming of the day when he can cash in his chips for a life on the green. If your retiree is a golfing fanatic, send him out for 18 holes with his best golf buddies. Then surprise him at the 19th hole with a gathering of friends, coworkers, and family. Pitching in for a season of tee times, or a dream trip to one of the world’s best golf courses makes the gift-giving process a cinch.
- Reserve a tee time for your golfer and his golfing buddies
- Book your private party to coincide with the end of his game
- Invite guests to the surprise party at the 19th hole or clubhouse
- Gift ideas include seasonal memberships at your golfer’s favorite golf course, pro lessons, or a trip to a renowned course. Golf courses in Hawaii and South Africa offer some of the most breathtaking scenery and challenging games in the world.
Cake Suggestions: Use green icing and flag-adorned toothpicks to decorate cupcakes with an 18th hole theme.
“Enter the Luxurious Life: A Spa Style Retirement Party”
After all those years of hard work, indulge your retiree’s inner hedonist with a spa-themed party. Whether you rent a day spa for the afternoon, or bring a team of massage therapists to your party venue, a spa party is always a hit.
- Book a private event at your local day spa, or hotel. Many offer special package rates for multiple guests and services.
- If you will be hiring massage therapists, facialists or other spa professionals to come to you, make sure you have space to accommodate massage tables and other relevant equipment.
- Party decor may include floating candles, throw pillows, and tropical flowers. The atmosphere should be luxurious, but soothing. For extra indulgence, consider renting a hot tub if you don’t have one already.
- Gift suggestions include massage club memberships, a month of yoga classes, candles, robes, and bath products.
“BBQ & Roast the Retiree”
Was the retiree in your life the class clown, and later, the boardroom cut up? Celebrate a lifetime filled with laughter by hosting a retirement roast. At a roast, guests pay tribute to the guest of honor by taking turns sharing funny or blush-inducing stories about him or her. Watching the new generation of celebrity roasts on Comedy Central, or looking up episodes of the classic, “Dean Martin’s Celebrity Roasts” will give you more retirement party ideas. Complete the theme by firing up the barbeque or having an actual pig roast.
- Call guests ahead of time to inform them that your party will be a roast, and to let them know what that means. Be sure to invite your guests early enough to give them time to prepare a story.
- If your guest list includes more than 15-20 people, consider procuring a microphone so that everyone can hear and participate.
- Ask one of your guests to videotape the event. Most personal computers have basic video editing software, and a montage of the funniest moments at your party will make a terrific memento. Posting the best segments of your roast online is an excellent way to include out of town family and friends in the festivities.
Cake Suggestion: Do you have a funny picture of your retiree? Many bakeries are capable of transferring photographic images onto a cake. Go through your old photographs, or ask old friends and relatives for contributions.
Unique ways to celebrate the beginning of retirement are abundant. Choose a theme that perfectly embodies the spirit of the person you wish to honor, and your party will be remembered for years to come.