Theme * Invitations * Decorations * Food

Second Retirement Party Checklist items include party theme, invitations, announcements, decorations, food and drinks. The party theme is first as all other checklist items mirror the theme. Dividing party planning into several lists fits my divide and conquer strategy.  

See themes for more ideas. Themes such as quilting, woodworking or a "Sock Hop" can be fun. They create a more festive atmosphere. "Things that don't work" is a clever theme. Guests were asked to bring items that no longer work.

Themes can eliminate much of the concern that people may not have fun at the party. Choose a theme that your committee is excited about. Get those creative juices flowing. Then move on to the next Second Retirement Party Checklist item.


Theme influenced invitations should be ordered or made. An invitation must include the purpose for the party, date, day of week, time, and location. It should include the name of contact person, telephone number or email address and suggested dress code.

Mention the time that food will be served. Remember to address these items on the invitation. The invitation should answer all of the invitees questions.

When receiving an invitation I immediately go to a calendar if the day of the week is not mentioned. I also wonder what I should wear. Remember to address these items on the invitation. The invitation should answer all of the invitees questions.

What about a gift? I read about a clever retirement party idea. The theme was "Things That Don't Work". Guests were encouraged to bring a gift item that no longer works.

"Gifts are not required, Good Wishes are" is excellent. Make up your own clever saying to give guests information. The retiree may have a favorite charity. Suggest a donation. One by one check off the items on the Second Retirement Party Checklist.

Suggestions for an opening statement:

  1. "Join us in honoring..."
  2. "Please join us for a retirement party honoring..."
  3. "You are cordially invited to attend a celebration for (name) as he retires from..."

Check with your printer for an endless number of opening statements. Consider a picture of the retiree on the invitation. Circulating and posting a flyer at work is acceptable for a casual gathering after work.

Finally, when should the invitation be sent. Emily Post's recommendation is 3 to 6 weeks. Too early and it could be lost or forgotten. Too late and the date may already be booked.


The next item on the Second Retirement Party Checklist is decorations. The creativity of your committee will determine how extensive the decorations will be. A banner congratulating the honoree and balloon clusters should top the list.

Ask you contact at the restaurant or hotel about decorations at other parties. Check with your party supply store for even more ideas.

Theme parties should try to carry the theme into the banner, balloons, cups, napkins and table settings or centerpieces. Tables can be named based on the theme. Keep the party respectful. Make it fit the personality of the honoree.

Place enlarged photos of the honoree on tables or walls. For work themes, include photos of the retiree in the workplace. For the race car buff use photos at the track.

An enlarged framed photo of the honoree on an easel at the room entrance is touching.

Food and Drinks

You have already determined if it is a casual meeting after work or a lavish Saturday night dinner party. So many of the food and drink decisions have already been made. There may be reasons to have a non-alcohol party. Note that in the invitation.

A pool party and bring a salad or dessert requires refrigerator space and extra chairs. A party at a restaurant requires choices from their party menu.

I've heard that "a party is only as good as the food".

The food and drinks are important. True.

All of the items in this Second Retirement Party Checklist are important. But the next item on the third list, I believe, is the most important.

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