Sensational Send-Offs: 8 Tips for Planning a Great Retirement Party

Sensational Send-Offs
Sensational Send-Offs

There is no better way to celebrate someone’s career and thank them for their service than a fantastic retirement party.

Done well, a retirement party leaves a retiree with a warm, positive memory of the company for the rest of their lives. However, the opposite is also true – a bad retirement party will be forever etched in their memory!

If you have been tasked with planning a dinner or event that celebrates someone’s retirement, you have the essential task of creating something sensational. You can always engage the services of an event manager to help with planning, styling, or managing the entire event.

But if you must do it yourself, here are 8 tips to make it sensational:

1. Get a gift!

Whatever you do, don’t let the person go away empty-handed. Ask management to approve the purchase of a gift to show appreciation as well as a gift card for the team to sign, or you could alternatively ask the team to contribute a small amount towards the gift if budget is tight!

Gifts are so common-place these days that any retiree leaving without one may do so with a bad taste in their mouth and you don’t want that!

2. Extend the invite

If the event is outside work hours, consider inviting the retiree’s closest family. Ask someone who is friends with them outside of work to speak with their spouse and children.

If, due to budget restrictions, you can’t invite everyone the person works with, let them know in advance. The last thing you want to do is offend the people who still need to turn up to work every day!

3. Pick a private space

Restaurants are nice, but they often lack intimacy. Look for places that offer a private room as part of the restaurant, or consider a conference room, function centre, special event venue or even a corporate box at a sporting event.

If you opt for after-work drinks, try to find an establishment that has an intimate area that you can reserve. The last thing the retiree needs is to have their life paraded in front of strangers at the next table!

4. Cater to different tastes

Pick a restaurant with food that caters to the tastes of the majority, and makes sure there are always vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free options.

5. Theme it up!

Coming up with a theme can be lots of fun, and if you really want to personalise the event, create a theme that celebrates the retiree’s working life, their new future or something you know they would absolutely love.


  • The Year: music, clothes, food and work phrases/memories from the year the retiree started with the company.
  • Vacation: Hawaiian shirts, sounds of the ocean, pictures of the beach, fresh fruits and BBQ-style food.
  • Hobbies: golfing, fishing, knitting, grandkids, etc.
  • Travel: food from around the world, maps and globes.
  • This Is Your Life: watch episodes of the TV show for inspiration.
  • Career: Play up their role, i.e. a marketing pizzazz theme, a teacher theme, an IT geek theme, a real estate theme, and so on.

6. Appoint a host or emcee

To ensure the event runs smoothly, it’s good to have one person in charge. Choose someone who is easy to get along with, has a natural talent for speaking, and can generally keep everything on track.

Discuss the event’s schedule with them beforehand and give them time to prepare.

7. Make it engaging with games

Retiree-themed games are great, and there are a multitude of online resources available (such as pin the tie on the businessman and smash the alarm clock!).

Allow time for co-workers and the retiree’s manager to make a speech, or set aside 30 minutes for “Open Mic” and give each speaker a time limit.

Career trivia can be great fun, as can a “Roast” where a small panel sits and share funny stories about the retiree. Just be sure to organise the panel members in advance and give prompting questions to the emcee, such as “I most remember”, “Our funniest workday ever”, “I was most impressed by”, and so on.

8. Take photos and buy a blank book

Often people don’t have as many photos or videos of their working life as they would like, so be sure to create something the retiree can keep forever.

Retirement cards are nice but they lack space. Consider having a blank book for people to sign, insert a polaroid picture and write in at the event.

Take photos and have someone do a video during speeches and games. You can give them to the retiree before their last day, or mail it to them.

Retirement events are really special, and we hope you will use these 8 tips to make the one you are planning absolutely sensational!

For help organising a sensational send-off or special corporate events in Melbourne, contact End2End Events on 0415 523 159 or use the contact form below.