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Discussion Forums

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On Retirement Parties
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Ask your questions of The Party Girl now!
You may even see your question and answer posted in the space below.

Bob asked:

Occasion: Dad's retirement party
I was wondering if you had ever heard of a tree being put up for donations for the person retiring of something like that. Thanks for your help. >

The Party Girl's advice is:

This money tree idea comes up now and then and I guess people do it. I, personally, find the idea tacky. But it is being done.

Jacqueline asked:

Occasion: Retirement party
Comments = I am trying to find some ideas on planning my mother's >retirement party. If you have any suggestions or ideas on how I can >get a start on this, then I would appreciate it. >Thank you! If this could be email to me asap then I could let the >others know about the party and the planning.

The Party Girl's advice is:

First of all you need more information. What is she retiring from? How many years? Who is coming? When and Where? How much do you have in your budget? Time of day or evening? Mother's age? Hobbies, sense of humor? Can't be specific without some of this.

Jodi asked:

Occasion: Military Retirement
Hi Party Girl! My husband will be retiring from the Air Force >after 20 years of service. I already have the place and time, but I have >no idea on a theme. I plan on having friends throughout the AF write a >little something special, and I'm going to make a nice scrapbook of his >military career. We are looking at 30 - 40 at the party. My main problem >is a theme. All of the guests have been, or are AF cops, and I don't want >a typical military function...BORING!!! These guys like to party, laugh, >and have a good time. And I want this party to be the one that they NEVER >forget! Can you help??? >

The Party Girl's advice is:

Find pictures of a fisherman, a hunter, a beach bum, etc and have a copy center blow husband's face. Use these for decorations around the room. Use the typical retirement stuff to make jokes, like "helping you grocery shop" (men are no good at that and joining arts and crafts classes to keep him out of your hair. Look at for some other ideas. Go to the drugstore and buy the sample size of "old people" products such as dentucreme and Preparation H. Get a rocker and have him sit in it for presentations and put a shawl around his shoulders. Take lots of photos.

Kelly asked:

Occasion: retirement party
I am looking for a theme/menu for my mother's retirement party. >She has been a hairdresser for many years. >

The Party Girl's advice is:

You could do either one of 2 ideas or incorporate them together. First, the age thing. Superimpose your mom's face on the picture of an old lady dressed appropriately in a rocker and blow it up. Have the guests sign in. Get a wheelchair, walker and cane and take polaroids of everyone with these props along with a shawl and even white wigs. Get sample-size products from the drugstore like dentucreme and prep H and wrap them up as a gag gift. Have a few of her friends or relatives who have a good sense of humor write and present a "roast". Or use the hairdressor, beauty parlor idea and decorate for that. I would do both. As for the menu, it depends upon whether you are having a meal or just cocktails and hors d' oeuvres or an afternoon tea.

Nancy asked:


The Party Girl's advice is:

First of all, look at for some ideas of themes and for things to do. Get a picture of him blown up and mounted and play a game of Pin-The-Tie and then have everyone sign in. Ask the guests to write down a memory and read them at the party. Then take polaroids of everyone and put these with the memories in an album. Choose his favorite activity and you could build a theme around his having all the time in the world for this activity.

Brenda asked:

Occasion: Our Director's Farewell/Retirement Party
I have been asked to sit on a committee of (2) to come up with >ideas for a farewell/retirement party. The Director has only been with the >University for approx 2 years and he is retiring. We are not sure if we >should lean more towards a farewell party or a retirement party. The >party room has already been reserved - it will be held in a very nice >faculty dining room. Food will be catered. There will be about 50 >people. Any ideas for decoration or activities? >

The Party Girl's advice is:

You could put whatever speech is being given on a rolled up diploma tied with a ribbon like at graduation and make the theme "Well, you finally graduated!". Use miter boards, small blackboards and chalk, all the props that mean school. Ask the guests to write a memory down and take polaroids of the guests and put them in an album. Blow up a picture of the Director and play, Put-the-diploma in his hand.

Marci asked:

Occasion: Mom's Retirement Dinner/Party
My Mother was in the education system for 29 years (26 years as a Vice Principal) and I would like to give each guest a gift. I was thinking on the lines of chocolate, but I don't know of what object and what places take orders. Can you be of any assistance?

The Party Girl's advice is:

Look in your local yellow pages under chocolate, desserts, etc. Call and see if they do special orders. (there are many here where I live, ask some friends, the good ones are well known). You could have the chocolatier make small books in trios of dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate. Or you could have a play on the phrase, "An apple for the teacher" and have chocolate apples.

Barbara asked:

Occasion: retirement party
Help! I'm planning a retirement party for a fellow co-worker whose been >with our company for 35 years. She's special to everyone here and we'd >like to plan something REALLY special. After retirement she'll be helping >her daughter run a horse farm and we're searching for decoration ideas and >such. Any suggestions?? >

The Party Girl's advice is:

How about a "Day at the Races". Find pictures of race horses in their silks and use those for the decor and mount them on foamcore with fake grass, horseshoes, etc. for centerpieces. Look at a toy store like Toys R Us and find some sort of horse racing game and let the guests play it. Have each guest write a memory and bring it and then take a polaroid of each guest and put these in an album. Find a big silver loving cup and fill it with a bunch of sample "age" products such as dentucreme, Preperation H. eye drops, etc.

Jackie Peters asked:

Occasion: retirement party for parents

The Party Girl's advice is:

Well, the first thing that come to mind is the transition from public service to private service. Use a theme that involves fun and wishes for the future. Make a wishing well and fill it with wrapped presents. Hang envelopes from the top and in each envelope put a wish for your parents such as a vacation, reading time, fishing or another sport, etc. Use miniature wishing wells for decoration. See for inexpensive decorations. Find a picture of them over 25 yrs old and one recent and have them put together and blown up and mounted on foamcore. Have the guests sign it. Maybe ask your guests to write down a memory of each of your parents and take polaroids of the guests and put these together in an album.

Carrie Steinburg asked:

Occasion: retirement party
I'm baking the cake..What is an appropriate greeting to >write on the cake?

The Party Girl's advice is:

I assume this is for a co-worker. If so, you could say something like "You "lit" up the office" in the humor department, "We'll miss you" in the serious department, or just about anything that strikes your fancy.

Cheri Toney asked:

Occasion: Retirement Party for my Mother
I'm planning a retirement party for my mother. She is a deputy sheriff. I would like information on planning a retirement party in general. Steps from beginnig to end. I also would like to give away choc. badges as gifts to all her guest. Since the party is in Oct. and the sheriff dept. colors are brown and beige I think >a fall theme would be nice. Any information you can give would be a >great help. The program, give aways, just planning a nice affair >for my mom. Thank you

The Party Girl's advice is:

1. Pick a time, place, and make up a list of invitees. (Ask your mom who she would like) 2. Choose a theme for the party. Look at for some ideas. 3. choose or make invitations and send them with an RSVP deadline (you'll still have to call some of them but most will rsvp.) 4. get decorations and plan menu according to your theme. Look at for some great decorations and favors. You can also use lots of fall flowers for the party. 5. Get a pic of your mom blown up with her wearing a uniform and play "Pin the badge on the deputy". After the game, have everyone sign in on the poster. 6. Ask the guests to write and bring a memory of your mom and read it at the party. 7. Take polaroids of all the attendees for an album. 8. If you don't have a chocolatier who can make the badges, write me and I can probably get some made for you Hope this gets you going. Any more questions, just write back.

Baker asked:

Occasion: Retirement Party
My dad is retiring from Lockheed after approx 40 years. Our theme so far is planes and I was wondering if you had any advice for a better theme. Invitation ideas, etc. >Thanks!

The Party Girl's advice is:

First of all, have all the guests send you a written memory and a picture and put these in an album for your dad. Also, have a picture of him blown up poster-size showing at least down to his hands. Play a game of "Place the Airplane". Then, have everyone sign the poster as a keepsake. I like the idea of planes. Easy to decorate. If you can't find any decorations on, or in the local stores, write back and we can provide a lot of this for you. Use balloons to make blimps for the centerpieces and glue on the appropriate parts. Secure the balloon to a gondola-like base and fill the gondola with candies. Put the whole thing on cotton that looks like a cloud an sprinkle glitter on it. Use this for the food tables also. Find invitations with planes on them or get someone to use a computer and make it. Again, if you need help, write back, we can do this to coordinate with anything.

john anderson asked:

Occasion: fireman's retirement party
I need proper guidelines for an approiatiate and successful party. How long it should last, decorations, ... Thank you 

The Party Girl's advice is:

I will assume it's for an evening and for couples. If you are having cocktails, dinner, etc, start about 7 and eat at 8. toasts and stuff come after dessert. It'll be over when the last speech is said and the hour approaches midnight. Don't have an open bar or it will kill you financially. As for a theme, how about 101 Dalmatians. Check the Disney sight for stuff and also for decorations.

Treva Madore asked:

Occasion: Retirement party

The Party Girl's advice is:

Get a map that shows that part of the country and have it blown up at a Kinko's or CopyMax. Mount it on board and highlight the route. Feature interesting towns along the way with bullseyes or something like that and make the table centerpieces matchup with each site. Play some games that have to do with geography such as having everyone write the state and capitals and whoever gets the most right wins. Think of songs and movies that mention places along Route 66 and maybe have a charade contest.

Andie asked:

Occasion: Scholarship Awards/Club Advisor Retirement
Just found your site and I love it. I plan on recommending it to co-workers, as event planning is some of the work we do. A club advisor of 16 years is retiring from teaching. He plans to remain with the club as much as he can. We decided to combine his retirement party with our scholarship awards dinner, and invite some former students. They get to do a little roasting, I'm attempting to put the program together. The color scheme is black and gold. I checked out your theme ideas page and found a few ideas I can use, such as the keepsake memory book, and having pictures of him out on display. Any other thoughts? We don't have much time or budget. Of the $600 slated for the event $400 is going to catering, tablecloths, china etc. My current dilemma is center pieces. I'd like something simple quick and a little elegant. I'd love your thoughts on this, and anything else I'm doing. Thanks 

The Party Girl's advice is:

Go to the dollar store and get the paper gift bags in black and gold. Anchor them down with sand or stones. Use balloons in black and gold on matching ties filed with helium coming from the bags. Get ribbons and glitter and other such stuff in the colors. Don't forget black string licorice whips. If you have enough money left, put a disposable camera at each table.

PamK asked:

Occasion: retirement party
Partygirl: This is the same site I requested more information from. Do you have any "retirement party" themes? Thanks again,

The Party Girl's advice is:

If it is for a relative, you can use a more personal theme such as pix of them growing up and stuff of memories. If this is a party for coworkers, you might have a "thanx for the memories" party. Each guest tells a memory about the retiree, funny, helpful, kind, etc. If there are any pics of that person at work or work related, have a Kinkos blow them up and use as decorations. Go to the dollar store and look at all the party stuff to hand out and play with. Get a gift 9not a plaque, everyone hates them) that would be meaningful to the person. Have a toast to the retiree. Use "New Year's Eve-type" hats, horns, glitter, etc. You could even hire a fortune teller or tarot card reader and have that person tell the retirees future in front of everyone and then be available to the other guests.

McCoy asked:

Occasion: Fathers retirement party
I need some help with a theme for my dad's retirement party on May 21st. He was an officer in the military for 23 years and then worked as a procurator for a science lab for 19 years. My mom and dad travel a lot and I was thinking about a travel theme but I don't know. This has come up suddenly and now I am taken by surprise. Thanks in advance for any suggestions. Conni 

The Party Girl's advice is:

I gave my parents a party for an anniversary. They were world travelers so I used a theme of "Around the world in 50 years". You could change the number to how many years he has been in the marketplace. Use a different country for each table decoration. Have music playing from all over the world. Have a world map blown up and mark each place he has been with a picture of your dad fasten to a toothpick or tack. Tell some funny stories to the attendees and have them participate with stories of their own. Ask them to think of something ahead of time. Have them look for some pics of your dad when he was younger and put them in a book as a keepsake.

Sheila Earle asked:

Occasion: Retirement Party
Happened to be surfing and found you. I was wondering what kind of stuff or fun things to do for a small gathering of about 40 people for a retirement party. (women) It's taking place this Friday. Any creative Ideas. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. 

The Party Girl's advice is:

Not much time. Have each guest write down a funny, heartwarming, etc. memory of the retiree and read some at the party. Put them in an album for her to keep. Use "age jokes" as a theme and get gag gifts such as denture cream and Metamucil.

Sheila asked:

Occasion: Retirement party
The open house will be inside the office. I will probably invite about 200 - 250 persons. The guests will include referring physicians, current patients, and friends and family of the physician. I am deciding between Sunday afternoon or a Friday evening. It will be informal. I didn't know about doing certain themes in the exam rooms or maybe different foods, just to help with the walkthrough of the office. I would like it to be really fun. Something different from most doctor's functions. I will have a caterer, and possible a trio, unless some other music is require for a specific theme. I have not made a budget yet. I need to see the direction of the affair first, then estimated the cost. Thanks again, let me know if you need other info.  

The Party Girl's advice is:

Have you thought about a scavenger hunt that sends all of your guests from exam room to exam room for a fun prize? That's one way to keep the party moving and, believe me, it will be different than most doctor functions. Maybe give each person a single-use camera to take pictures of the other guests (always fun and gives you some nice pieces of memorabilia). And if it were me (I'm a bit "out there")...I would give each person who attends a surgical mask with their name emblazoned across the front. It can hang down and act as a that fun or what??! What do you think?

Amy asked:

Occasion: Retirement party
I am hoping you can help me!  I am planning a retirement party for a fellow employee. The theme is Spain.. (that's where we are sending him and his wife) ... any suggestions?   Thanks! Amy

The Party Girl's advice is:

Spain, huh? Well, let's see. Decorate the tables with bottles of Sangria or Spanish wine... with those fabulous drip candles. Make the wine into a sangria so you don't waste it. At each place, have a Spanish fan with the person's name tagged off...if you are not doing seating, just put a fan at each place. You may want to put together a fun travel kit for him...maps, sites to see, bottled water(!!!)...etc. Have fun.

Judy asked:

Occasion: retirement party
Our company is hosting a retirement party for 30 retirees who took the early retirement package. Is there a specific colour scheme or flower that is proper for this event? Any special touches/ideas that we could add to the party would be greatly appreciated. We are hosting a cocktail party with hot and cold hors d'oeuvres! Thank your time and appreciate a reply as soon as possible. Judy

The Party Girl's advice is:

No special colors or flowers that I can think of. You might want to do some fun decorations using "watches" and "clocks" which normally represent someone retiring. Another fun thing to do might be to enlarge photographs of people at the time they started at the company and put those on easels. Provide each person with a "scrapbook" for people to sign with good wishes for the future, etc. That is a nice touch as well. Does that help?

wanda asked:

Occasion: retirement
I need some ideas for a retirement party roast for my brother-in-law retiring from NASA. Can you help?

The Party Girl's advice is:

Wanda! First of all, I would like you to consider contacting one or both of these professional roasters and toasters: Ronni the Writer at and/or Hal Garber They can give you ideas as well as assist you with your own roast or toast. Secondly, it seems as if a theme is in order here...possibly do a caricature invitation...and put on it "send so and so into orbit with your roast and/or toast!" That brings NASA into it. Then, hire a local balloon company to decorate using silver star mylars, etc.

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