Farewell Party Ideas
Hosting a farewell party to remember
People move for a lot of reasons — to start a new career, to be closer to family, to go to college or just to experience a new way of life. But no matter the circumstances, saying goodbye to people we care about is never easy. Instead of leaving on a sad note, why not throw a fun going away party? Not only is it a great way to honor your friend or loved one, but it’s also the perfect opportunity to get everyone together one last time.
How to throw a going away party
Organizing a farewell party can take some time, so it’s a good idea to start planning well in advance. We’ve compiled a list of steps to get you started.
Step 1: Decide on the guest list
The first thing you’ll want to do when planning a going away party is decide who will attend. Consider the person you’re throwing the party for — a big party will be great if they’re social, but more private people may like a smaller event. While you’re writing the guest list, be sure to also consider your budget. If you can’t provide food for 50-100 people, then you may want to keep it more intimate with just a small group.
Step 2: Find helpers
It can be challenging to throw a successful party alone. Consider contacting some of the guest of honor’s closest friends, family members or coworkers and asking for help. This way, you won’t stress out about planning the entire party yourself, and you won’t be left paying for everything either. Once you’ve selected your party planning committee, assign roles. Put people in charge of things like booking the venue, getting decorations and sending out the invitations. If you don’t have to worry about every detail, you can pay more attention to your few tasks.
Step 3: Pick a theme
After finding your helpers, get everyone together to decide on a theme. When choosing what to do, consider the personality of the individual and their future plans. Here are some going away party themes that might work:
Bon Voyage. Throwing a bon voyage party with nautical or map décor is a cool idea for anyone who’s traveling overseas. Check out how one blogger put together a bon voyage themed party in just one day! A cool idea for this theme is to buy a globe and have people sign it as the guestbook.
Destination. This party is easy to put together. Just use décor that represents where your guest of honor is moving to. Examples might include a luau party (if they’re moving somewhere tropical), a winter wonderland party (if they’re moving somewhere cold), or a mascot themed party (if they’re going off to college).
Retirement. A retirement party is a celebration of the retiree’s accomplishments and contributions. Celebrate by setting out a memory jar for coworkers to write sweet memories on a paper, or creating a bucket list for them since they’ll now have more time for activities!
Deployment. If you know a military member who’s moving, you may consider having a patriotic themed party. Include red, white and blue décor. Fireworks are a fun addition, too — just be sure they’re permitted.
Step 4: Reserve a location
Booking a location is an important step. After all, it’s hard to have a party without somewhere to give it! Pick a location based on your party’s theme or somewhere the guest of honor loves to be. A few options could include: a restaurant, office (if it’s a work celebration), someone’s house, park, community building or church fellowship hall. Keep a few things in mind when selecting a location:
- Find a venue big enough to accommodate the number of guests attending
- If possible, make the location a local destination so that guests don’t have to travel a long way
- Pick a spot where you can have fun without being distracted or distracting others
Step 5: Send invitations
Think about what kind of invitations you’ll send. Some options include: a physical invitation sent through the mail, an evite online or a private Facebook group event. Whichever option you choose, here are some things to include:
- Date, time and location
- Phone number or email address where guests can RSVP (include RSVP date)
- Dress code (specify if guests can dress up to match the theme)
- State whether or not it’s a surprise party (so that no one accidentally spoils the fun)
Proper party etiquette is to send the invites out at least 3-6 weeks in advance. This gives people plenty of time to make arrangements to attend.
Step 6: Gather decorations
Decorations add a little something extra to any party, and it’s fun to transform a room for a short period of time. You can buy décor from the store or create it yourself. Either way, make sure it reflects the theme! For example, if you choose the destination theme, you might decorate using moving boxes. Write phrases like “fragile” and “this side up” and then allow guests to write messages on them. Not only can the guest of honor use these boxes for their move, but they can enjoy reading the sweet messages while packing. For the world traveler theme you could hang flags around the room representing the different countries they’ll be traveling through and include airplanes, plane tickets and luggage into other aspects of the decoration.
If you’re more limited on time, consider using traditional decorations like streamers, balloons, a personalized goodbye banner, lights, table covers and center pieces. You can find inexpensive party supplies like these at most party stores.
Step 7: Plan the menu
It’s not a party without food! Unless you’re having the party at a restaurant, you’ll need to decide whether you want a sit-down meal or finger foods. For catered parties, be sure to call a couple weeks (or even a few months) ahead of time to check pricing and availability. If you’re buying and cooking the food, ask for help so that you’re not stressed on the day of the party. When it comes to drinks, make sure to serve what the guest of honor likes and what the location permits — if you want to provide alcoholic beverages, check that the venue allows alcohol on the premises. And don’t forget to use plates, cups, napkins and silverware that tie in with the color scheme.
Step 8: Organize games and entertainment
Parties can be a little awkward if not all the guests are familiar with each other. So, try including some games and music to break the ice and allow people some time to get to know one another and feel more at ease — you can even include prizes for the winners! Group games like Pictionary®, Catch Phrase®, Apples to Apples®, etc. are some good ideas, or you can try some of these going away party games:
Roast and toast.
Allow everyone a chance to stand up and tell a funny story about the guest of honor. It’s a fun way for people to connect and laugh!
Map balloon pop.
Hang up a world map and attach balloons to major cities. Write down all the cities you place a balloon on and put them in a bowl or cup. The object of the game is for the player to choose a piece of paper, locate that city and see if they can throw a dart and pop the balloon. The person (or team) with the most balloons popped at the end is the winner. The game can either be over when every city has been selected, or until every balloon is popped.
Bubble Wrap® stomp.
Purchase some Bubble Wrap® and have individuals compete to see who can pop all their bubbles the quickest.
For this game you’ll need a moving box and then a variety of household objects people pack when moving. Some ideas include: a pair of shoes, an article of clothing, toiletries, books, silverware, figurines, etc. Put everything in the box and let each guest have a good look for about 10-15 seconds. After everyone has a chance to see what’s in there, close the box and have each person write down as many items as they can remember. The person with the most correct answers is the winner!
Another fun option is to see how many words people can come up with from the word Farewell. Whoever creates the highest number of actual words is the winner.
Hint: there are 91 real words that can be made from Farewell.
Step 9: Come up with some farewell gift ideas
Farewell gifts are a great way to let the person who’s moving know how much they mean to you. Personalized gifts like a photo album or scrap book are meaningful and are something they can hold on to forever. Another idea is to buy them some packing supplies like boxes, packing paper and furniture pads. It may not be a very personal gift, but it’s definitely a practical one they’re sure to appreciate! You also can’t go wrong with gift cards and cash. Whatever going away gift idea you decide on, make sure it benefits and reflects the personality of your guest of honor.
Step 10: Create a slideshow presentation
If you have the time and equipment, you might create a slideshow presentation with pictures of special people and moments in the honoree’s life. For retirement parties, you may even want to incorporate photos of them at work, fun things they did during their tenure and major career milestone moments. Just be sure you have access to a screen and projector, and test out all the equipment prior to the party date.
Step 11: Set up a photo booth
Because this is probably the last night you’ll all be together (for a while, anyway!), you’ll want to document it with photos. Designate an area at the location and set up a background and have props on hand — this way people can be silly or serious. And you can either appoint someone to be the photographer or you can provide a selfie stick. Either way, it’s a fun way to create memories that’ll last a lifetime.
Do you have other farewell party ideas?
If you have other ideas for going away parties, share them in the comments below — we’d love to hear about them!