During my career, I have been asked to plan several retirement parties for my fellow colleagues. I used my organisational skills and creativity to plan small or big retirement parties. To plan a small retirement party, you need to respect some key elements. Below you will find the step-by-step recipe for planning a successful small retirement party.
Planning a small retirement party is easy and will not take up a lot of time. The key thing is to decide on the number of guests and stick to it. Knowing this will guide your choices about the budget, type of venue and food. You do not need to spend a lot of money to have a great retirement party.
Below you will find a checklist with all the points you need to think about to plan a small retirement party and make it unforgettable for the retiree.
How Do I Plan a Small Retirement Party in 7 Easy Steps?
It is important to remember that you do not need to spend a lot of money to plan a small retirement party. Creativity is free. Below you will find tips about how to make your small retirement party unforgettable without spending a lot of money.
Step 1: Fix the Number of Guests
The first and most important step when planning a small retirement party is to decide on the number of guests. Making this decision will help you set a realistic budget and will guide all your other decisions about the party. An intimate retirement party will enable your retiree to celebrate with their closest co-workers, friends, and family.
Of course, the number of guests you invite will largely depend on the budget available for the party, especially if you are going to opt for a commercial venue rather than a free venue. When deciding on the number of guests, remember that hosting a small retirement party at a free venue will be considerably cheaper than hiring a commercial venue with catering.
Step 2: Select a Suitable Venue
The next step is to think about the best place to host your small retirement party. If you need to keep costs down, the best option is to choose a free venue. This could be a space in the office environment or at home. Alternatively, seek out a free outdoor venue with a great backdrop for a stylish picnic.
When you plan a small retirement party, it is worth remembering that some office spaces can be large and impersonal. If you are inviting a limited number of guests to your small retirement party, you will need to get creative with the décor of the room and decorations to make an office venue look more attractive and feel more intimate (check out Step 5 below for small retirement party ideas about decorations).
If your budget allows, why not dine out at your retiree’s favourite restaurant in a private room or head to a rooftop bar? Another idea is to hold your small retirement party in your retiree’s favourite museum or art gallery for a truly unique and memorable celebration.
Once you have your guest list and venue, you can send out the invitations. Remember to include information about any theme or dress code (see Step 3 below). If you need a helping hand with the wording of the invitation, use our helpful article as a guide.
Step 3: Go Large on the Theme
One way of adding the wow factor to your small retirement party is to choose an impressive theme. You may not have an extensive guest list, but you can maximise the feel-good factor by choosing to theme the party.
If you are holding your small retirement party outside, a carnival theme in your backyard would be fun using brightly coloured bunting, feathers, and steel band music playing on your retirement party playlist.
Alternatively, you could plan a small retirement party with a summer theme complete with barbecue, hammocks, string moon chairs and giant floor cushions. You could even hire a transparent igloo with fairy lights to add an extra special touch to your small retirement party and to provide a striking weatherproof eating area.
For a more formal feel, you could plan a small retirement party with a diamond theme. Think decorative crystals, sparkly decorations, and mirror balls. To finish things off, ask your guests to follow a stylish dress code of black, silver, and white.
If you need more help and inspiration about choosing the perfect theme for your small retirement party, check out our ultimate alphabetical retirement party themes list here.
Step 4: Figure Out your Feast
Planning what to feed your guests at a small retirement party is another important decision. If you have opted to host your party at a commercial venue, all you will need to do is to choose from menus suggested to you. Then you can sit back and let the venue do the rest.
However, if you are hosting a small retirement party at a free venue, you have a little more work to do! Firstly, you need to think about what type of food you want to offer: party finger food, hot or cold buffet or a more formal plated and seated meal. You could also consider hiring a food truck to take the hassle out of DIY catering and to make the retirement event more memorable.
Budget will be one factor in your decision, but also think about the venue you have chosen and the type of small retirement party you want give. For example, are you aiming for a formal or informal feel? What kind of facilities are there at the free venue for heating and chilling food? All these factors will influence your choice of retirement party food. To plan a small retirement party, you need to think ahead.
Once you have made your decision, you will find plenty of specific retirement party food ideas and menus in our other article which you can access here.
Step 5: Max Out the Venue with Decorations
Another important part of planning a small retirement party is to think about the décor of the venue. Decorations can dramatically improve the décor of a venue, especially if you are holding your small retirement party in a neutral and impersonal office space.
Once again, your choice of retirement party decorations will depend on your budget. If you have a large budget, you can hire signage and purchase elaborate balloon garlands and arches to dress the venue for your small retirement party.
However, if you are throwing a small retirement party on a budget, make sure you read idea number 7 in our article about How to Throw a Party on a Small Budget. It covers essential tips about making your own decorations by hand or by re-purposing items.
Step 6: Arrange Memorable Entertainment and Activities
Hosting a small retirement party does not mean that your event needs to lack atmosphere and be boring. When you plan a small retirement party, make sure you include memorable entertainment and activities in addition to the traditional retirement speech.
Get creative and arrange some inexpensive, silly party games or quizzes linked to the retiree’s working life, hobbies, or future plans. Alternatively, hire a close-up magician or look-alike.
To help you put the fun into your small retirement party, click here to read our article that is bursting with inspirational ideas! Why not try out tip number 8 and set up a self-service snack or drink station or honor the retiree with suggestion number 10!
Step 7: Organise a Collective Gift for the Retiree
Of course, it is traditional to give a retirement gift to the retiree at a retirement party. If you are organising a small retirement party with fewer guests, a collective retirement gift is a good idea.
It is easy to collect donations from the guests using an online service. Once the contributions have been made, you can buy a substantial retirement gift rather than lots of individual retirement presents. Since a small retirement party is an intimate occasion, you might want to consider buying a personalized gift that the retiree will treasure forever.
Final Thoughts on How to Plan a Small Retirement Party
To plan a small retirement party that is successful, fun and memorable is easy to achieve if you follow our 7 simple steps. Without doubt, the hardest part is reducing and fixing the number of guests. Once you have a set number of guests, you can decide on the retirement party budget and the rest of the arrangements will fall into place easily.
Remember that when you plan a small retirement party, you have the opportunity to create a truly personal celebration. Keep your retiree at the front of your mind. Throwing money at a party does not mean that it will be more successful. Your small retirement party will be remembered for its atmosphere and that is achieved by your knowledge of the retiree and the personal touches you add when planning the small retirement party.