What Do You Do at a Retirement Party

Throughout my professional career, I have organised a lot of retirement parties and I always make sure that the retirement party reflects the new retiree.  It is always satisfying to see the guests and the new retiree having fun and enjoying their retirement party.  Retirement is a big milestone for the retiree, so a retirement party is an important occasion and one not to be missed!

What Do You Do at a Retirement Party?

At a retirement party, you:

  1. Listen to the Retirement Speech.
  2. Toast the new retiree.
  3. Celebrate the retiree’s career.
  4. Give a gift.
  5. Mingle with guests.
  6. Eat and drink.
  7. Participate in retirement games.
  8. Leave your contact details.
  9. Have fun!

In this article, I’m going to detail every aspect of what you do at a retirement party.  As a result, you will know what to expect and won’t be surprised.

1. Give or Listen to the Retirement Speech

Give-or-Listen-to-the-Retirement-Speech
Give-or-Listen-to-the-Retirement-Speech

The most common thing you will do at a retirement party is to give or listen to a retirement speech.  If you are hosting the retirement party, you may decide to give the retirement speech yourself or you could ask someone close to the retiree to say a few words. 

To successfully write a great retirement speech, it is important to respect some rules.  Follow this link and use our guide to learn how to write a great retirement speech.

In general, your retirement speech needs to include:

  • A great hook to grab the audience’s attention.
  • Funny and memorable anecdotes.
  • Positive comments about the retiree’s contribution to the company.

2. Lift your Glass and Propose a Retirement Toast

Lift-your-Glass-and-Propose-a-Retirement-Toast
Lift-your-Glass-and-Propose-a-Retirement-Toast

Something else you do at a retirement party is to have a toast to the retiree. 

After the retirement speech, the retiree may say few words.  Usually, the retiree will feel emotional afterwards.   This is the time for someone to propose a retirement toast and it is the perfect way to move into the party phase.

Below are some examples of retirement toasts.  Simply replace the name Olivier with the name of the retiree.

  • Olivier, retirement isn’t the end of the road, but just a turn in the road. Happy Retirement!
  • Now it is your time to enjoy your retirement life Olivier!
  • Good news Olivier, you don’t need to request time off work now!  Enjoy retirement life!
  • Olivier, I’m extremely jealous, but I’m happy about your retirement!
  • Olivier, enjoy your new vacation that never ends!

If you want more inspiration about retirement quotes, don’t miss our comprehensive article about the best retirement wishes for co-workers.

3. Celebrate the Retiree’s Career

Celebrate-the-Retiree’s-Career
Celebrate-the-Retiree’s-Career

Of course, celebrating the retiree’s career is the main thing you do at a retirement party.  After the toast, another close colleague may give a short retirement speech to celebrate and reminisce about the retiree’s career.  Some people like to use humour and share funny anecdotes which happened in the workplace.

Celebrating the retiree’s career is a way of saying thank you to the retiree for their great work and their years of service.  Guests may share photographs in advance of the retirement party.  A display of photographs is a great conversation starter and helps people remember and share past successes (and struggles) in the workplace.

4. Give a Retirement Gift

Give-a-Retirement-Gift
Give-a-Retirement-Gift

Another traditional thing to do at a retirement party is to give a retirement gift.   Giving a retirement gift is a way of saying goodbye and thank you.  The gift needs to be personal and should show how much the retiree is appreciated and valued.

It is always a good idea to have a gift relating to the hobbies or interests of the retiree.  If the retiree wants to travel, then you won’t go wrong with a gift relating to the travel industry.

If you want help with ideas about the best retirement gifts, make sure you read our other articles which give many retirement gift ideas for family, friends, and co-workers in various occupations. Best gift for Retirement Party

5. Mingle With Retirement Party Guests

Mingle-With-Retirement-Party-Guests
Mingle-With-Retirement-Party-Guests

In my opinion, once all the formalities are done and dusted, it is time to start the party!  Another important thing to do at a retirement party is to meet and network with other people from different departments.

I love this part of the retirement party.  I always enjoy meeting different people and extending my social network.  You never know who you will meet at a retirement party – your future best friend or your companion for life!

6. Enjoy Retirement Food and Drink

Enjoy-Retirement-Food-and-Drink
Enjoy-Retirement-Food-and-Drink

Of course, another important thing to do at a retirement party is to share and enjoy food and drink.  Depending on the type of retirement party, you may have a sit-down formal meal or a self-service buffet.

Eating and drinking makes everyone relaxed!  This is one of the best times to discover more about new people you met during the party, or to get to know existing colleagues better.

The key thing is to have fun and enjoy spending a great time with others.  Follow this link, if you are responsible for planning a retirement party and want to discover suggestions for retirement party food.

7. Participate in Retirement Party Games

Participate-in-Retirement-Party-Games
Participate-in-Retirement-Party-Games

Another popular thing to do at a retirement party is to participate in retirement party games.  Not all retirement parties feature retirement games, but they are good icebreakers and create a fun atmosphere which add to the celebrations.  Don’t be surprised if you’re asked to join in!

Here are some popular retirement party games:

  • How well do you know the retiree?  A trivia quiz about the retiree’s career.
  • Memory in the Pot – Ask each guest to write a memorable anecdote about the retiree.  During the party, put all slips of paper in a pot and ask people to take one out and read it.  Alternatively, bring along some historical memorabilia from the company to reminisce about!
  • Talent Contest – The retiree tells the guests that they have five minutes to prepare a short performance to showcase their talents.  The retiree chooses the three most talented guests.
How well do you know the retiree? A trivia quiz about the retiree’s career.
Memory in the Pot Ask each guest to write a memorable anecdote about the retiree.  During the party, put all slips of paper in a pot and ask people to take one out and read it.  Alternatively, bring along some historical memorabilia from the company to reminisce about!
Talent Contest The retiree tells the guests that they have five minutes to prepare a short performance to showcase their talents.  The retiree chooses the three most talented guests.

8. Keep in Touch with the Retiree

Keep-in-Touch-with-the-Retiree
Keep-in-Touch-with-the-Retiree

Another important thing to do at a retirement party is to leave your contact details so that you can stay in touch with the retiree. 

Somewhere in the retirement party venue, there might be a book where you can leave your personal details and find those of the new retiree so that you can keep in touch.

Alternatively, these might be exchanged on a digital platform.  Social media and chat groups enable everyone to stay connected effortlessly.

9. Have Fun!

What Do You Do at a Retirement Party Have Fun!
What Do You Do at a Retirement Party Have Fun!

Remember that a retirement party is a major milestone for the retiree.  Often during the party, the retiree will be full of emotion.  The retirement party needs to bring happiness to the new retiree, so have fun and don’t be shy!  Throwing yourself into the retirement games and talking to others will help make the retirement party a success!

Whether you are attending a retirement party or throwing a retirement party, the main thing to do is to ensure that the retiree enjoys their special occasion!

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