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How to Throw a Surprise Retirement Party for a Colleague

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Retirement is a major milestone in our lives. Some of us are looking forward to it. Some don’t because they love their jobs. If someone in your office is retiring soon and you want to throw a surprise retirement party, ask your coworkers first if they can be in cahoots with you on this. It’s going to be hard to throw a surprise party by yourself. Logistically and financially, it could be impossible.


If everyone agrees, you can check out your office setup made by an office interior design company in London. You need to make sure that you have enough space to accommodate your guests, which will include the retiree’s family and other friends. If you don’t have a space in your office that is large enough, you can hold the party at a nearby restaurant. Or perhaps if the budget allows it, a hotel ballroom?

Guest List

Remember to invite the retiree’s spouse, children, bosses, current and former coworkers, and friends. You want everyone to be there to celebrate this important milestone. If it’s going to be a small office party, just remember to invite their spouses, children, and close friends. You can also “collaborate” with their spouses on the theme and color motif that will be used for the party.

Also, you need their help on how best to surprise the retirees. How will they not realize that something is being planned for them? Why would they need to step out of the office for a while so that you can set the place up? If it’s at a restaurant, why would they go there in the first place? You need their families for these scenarios.

Date and Time

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It is best to wait until the last day of that person’s stay in the office. But in case the retiree might have plans with the family, you can host the party a week before that person’s employment ends. Retirement parties are generally send-off parties. You can’t hold a party today and still see that person tomorrow. That sounds awkward and weird. But if that’s your only choice, then go ahead and schedule it a few days before the last day.

Also, try not to schedule the party during regular work hours. You don’t want to disrupt everyone’s workflow for a party. Schedule it on a Friday, when people don’t have to work the next day. Make sure that the upper management knows about the party so that you won’t run into any trouble.


Since it’s a surprise retirement party, you have to keep it a secret from the retiree and people who can’t manage to keep information to themselves. If you need to invite the chatterbox of the office, make sure to do it at the last minute. This will allow you more time to plan the party without any of the details spilling to the celebrant.

One of the things that you first have to check is whether the retiree is fond of parties or surprise parties, in particular. If you are not sure about the retiree’s views, ask someone close to them. It could be their spouse or children. It’s important to celebrate the retirement the way the retiree wants to. This isn’t about you or how the rest of the office says their goodbye. It’s about what the retiree will enjoy the most.

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