Retirement Party Planning: Part One

Decorations are an important consideration when planning a retirement party.Planning a co-worker's retirement party is a big responsibility. This will be the final hours of their career, a momentous occasion that deserves to be marked with care and dignity. So what kinds of things should you keep in mind when planning for a retirement party? In this article we'll provide you with tips and ideas that should ensure everything goes better than smoothly.

What Kind of Retirement Party?

First you need to decide what kind of party to plan. You could organise a dinner, drinks at the pub, a party in the office or even a surprise party, depending on the circumstances. If the boss allows it, you could even turn part or all of the retiree's last day into an office party - you can just hire caterers, or even bring easy-to-transport food yourselves. And you need to decide whether the party will be for co-workers only, or if the retiree's close family will also be invited.

Retirement Party Invitations

Obviously the manner of distributing party invitations will change if you're planning a surprise party. In this case, you'll need to distribute the invitations secretly. You could do this via email, but emails are very easy to copy and forward on, so they're not the safest form to use. You may not even need invitations in this case - simply speak to everyone individually and ask them to keep quiet.

If you're not planning a surprise party, things are easier. The invitation will set the tone for the event - try to keep the tastes of the person in mind. For instance, if they're a serious person who is concerned about how they appear to other people, joke invitations may not be the best option. If, on the other hand, they're the office clown, an invitation poking fun may be just right.

These days there are lots of options for distributing invitations. Email is possibly best - it's simple to include pictures and other media, and everyone in the office probably uses it already. If your retiree is particularly tech-savvy, they may have a Facebook account - you could use that to create a party group. Of course, others in the office may not use that website, so make sure you notify them by some other means. And there's nothing wrong with paper invitations either.

Setting the Scene

You'll need to create a festive atmosphere in the room. Obviously you can do this with traditional types of party paraphernalia - balloons, streamers, banners and those kinds of things. But a retirement party is commemorating decades' worth of work, so a more personal touch will definitely be appreciated. Get hold of photos taken during the retiree's time at the company - they could belong to you, your co-workers or even come from the company archives. Scan any non-digital photos into a computer and then take all the files to the local print shop (or use a high-quality printer yourself if you have access). You can then have nice, big prints of the photos made up, which you can paste on to the wall as a testament to all the things this person has done.

If you get lots of great photos, you could even consider using that office mainstay, the Power Point presentation, during the party. Arrange all of the photos in a slideshow and use a projector to play this throughout the party. You could even intersperse the photos with memorable quotes from the retiree, or otherwise inspiring quotes that look towards an adventurous future.

Stand by for more tips in part two of our retirement party guide.

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