Throwing a great retirement party is a wonderful way to show appreciation for all of your employees, not just the retiree. Sure it is to show appreciation to the individual for all the years of service he or she put into the company but it also will show your current employees that they will be shown the same when the time comes for them too . As always plan well in advance.
Some tips to make sure it is a success is to include the family of the one to retire. If the retiree has a spouse and or children, have someone give them a call. Gather as much personal info as possible. Get pictures to display. Ask employees if there are any work pictures of the individual to put on display as well. Find out what kind of hobbies they like and include that too. A collage of pictures always draws a crowd. If the employee has over the years been given any awards, have them on display also. Invite family members to attend the party and if at all possible keep this a surprise. As many as you think would be feasible but just close family. Find out what kind of food and drink the individual prefers. Tailor it as close to the retirees personality as possible.
The entertainment should also be suited to the retirees likes. Having an emcee or master of ceremonies is the best way to control the flow. Make sure to provide as much personal information as possible to him or her to give it a personal touch. Have a band or just a DJ.
Either way make sure to inquire about their musical preferences. If the budget will allow it, hire a professional entertainment company. They have experience in these types of events and it may be well worth it. Depending on the size of your company it could be held in a hall or if an intimate setting is more to your liking, find out if the retiree has a favorite place and if it would be able to handle a party the size of which you are planning. If not practical than a hall would be a better idea. If people want to do a lot of dancing than a hall is probably the better choice.
Weather a sit down meal or a buffet style meal is planned , again ask family members the retirees likes and dislikes , always allow for enough time to show your appreciation . Allow time for family and friends to reminisce about old times. Have people take turns saying a few words about the guest of honor. A cake is always a nice touch towards the end of the party.
The bottom line again is to try to make the party as personal as possible which in turn will really show your appreciation to the employee, his family and fellow employees.