There comes a time in every professional career when valued employees leave the firm for the green fields of retirement. When that day comes, it’s customary for large business firms to throw a party for the retiree. A retirement celebration is an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ for the employee’s years of dedicated service to the company, and for friends and co-workers to gather together to share anecdotes and wish the guest of honor all the best for the future. But hosting a memorable retirement celebration takes planning. It’s not everyday that a valued employee retires, and office managers might benefit from a few helpful tips that will make their retirement party go off without a hitch.
The Guest List
The first step in planning a retirement celebration is making the guest list. Who you invite will have an impact on further decisions down the line, so it’s best to start here. Will your guest list be strictly confined to fellow employees and members of staff, or will it include family and friends from outside the firm? If you are including family and friends you will need to consult with the guest of honor for a list of people they would like to see at their retirement dinner. It’s generally expected that the guest of honor will bring their spouse, but it’s not uncommon to extend invitations to their children as well.
With the guest list finalized, it’s time to set a budget. Once you have a general head count, you will know what size venue you need to hire for the evening, and approximately how much you will need to spend on refreshments. Add in the cost of decorations and entertainment, and you should be able to set a workable budget for the evening. Once that budget is set, it’s important to stick to it. The cost of any celebration can easily balloon out of proportion, so setting a budget early and sticking to it is vital.
Hiring a Venue
The choice of venue will largely be determined by the number of guests attending the celebration. Generally speaking, for medium to large sized gatherings a banquet hall is always the best option. While it might be tempting to hold your retirement party at a local restaurant, it is important to remember that the restaurant’s staff will not be able to devote their sole attention to you and your guests. You will also have to contend with the distractions of other diners, and any entertainment the restaurant may have scheduled for the evening. By booking a professional event space, you maintain total control over seating and décor, and you can ensure that there are fewer distractions and that the venue’s staff can give your party their undivided attention.
Many people planning retirement parties hear the word ‘catering’ and thing ‘major expense’. But in many ways catering an event at a hired venue can be less expensive than holding your party at a local restaurant. It allows you to better control food and beverage costs, which will help your retirement celebration stay on budget. It also means that the chef has only one duty to perform that evening – keeping your guests satisfied. Many event spaces offer on-site catering services which can also help to keep costs under control, while providing a catering staff that is well trained and familiar with the venue.
You’ll want to work closely with the caterer to devise a menu for the evening. Depending on your preference, you may choose a full service sit down dinner, or a more relaxed buffet. Again, budgetary considerations may play a part in this decision. A buffet can offer a stylish selection of delicacies for your guests, while being less costly than table side service. Having said that, retirement is a once in a lifetime event, and an elegant full service meal shows a great deal of respect and affection for the guest of honor.
Retirement is a milestone in any employee’s life, and it is important to mark the occasion with a suitably memorable celebration. These few tips should put business owners and office managers on the right track, and help them throw a retirement party that will not soon be forgotten.