How Much Does A Retirement Party Cost?


When you’re planning a retirement party, you should definitely think about the costs before you set things in motion. And you might wonder: How Much Does A Retirement Party Costs?

The costs for a retirement party can range between $5 – $140 per person. It depends on different factors: venue, food, drinks, guest list, entertainment, decorations, rentals, hired staff, gifts, etc. A picnic in the parc can costs as low as $5 per person, but the costs for a catered retirement party at a venue with entertainment are much higher. 

To learn more about the costs of a retirement party, continue reading. 

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Retirement Party Costs

The range of costs from anything between $5-$140 per person for a retirement party is, of course, very wide. You have to get creative to organize a retirement party for a budget of $5 per person, but it is possible. And retirement parties of $140 per person are very luxurious and extravagant and don’t happen very often. Mostly these parties are corporate retirement parties. Either the boss is retiring, or they use a retirement party also for a business event. 

Most people will organize a retirement party for the costs of anywhere between $20 – $80 per person, depending on what their wishes are. As I mentioned above, a lot of factors influence the costs of a party. And you have to balance these factors out and make compromises to ultimately organize the perfect retirement party and to stay within your budget. 

To help you out, I’ve listed the most important factors that affect the costs of a retirement party. And by reading through these cost items, you’ll get a better sense of how much your retirement party will cost. Because the most important thing about planning a retirement party is to determine your party budget first. Then decisions will become much easier for the rest of the planning.  

Guest List

First, you want to finalize your guest list. You have to know how many people you want to invite to the retirement party, to see how much it will cost you. Because the amount of people you invite affects the costs of a retirement party immediately.

Also, your guest list will determine where you can organize the retirement party. Have you set your mind to a certain venue? And do you know the capacity of the venue? 

Maybe the capacity is limited, so you can’t invite everyone you want. Or you find out that the amount of guests exceeds your retirement party budget. These are all factors you need to consider before finalizing your guest list. And therefore, you need to make compromises and set priorities. 

Read more: Who To Invite To A Retirement Party?

Venue

When you determined your guest list, you probably also have an idea where you want to host the retirement party. At home, at work, at a catered venue, restaurant, campsite, park, vineyard? These places are all possible places to organize a retirement party. And the choice of venue will affect the cost as well. 

If you need to stay within a certain budget, its best to organize the retirement party at home, at work, or in a park, then you don’t have to pay for rent. And it will be much cheaper to organize a retirement party compared to hosting it at a restaurant or catered venue. But as I mentioned before, this all depends on your wishes.

The best way to budget your retirement party is to ask the venue for a package deal, so you know exactly what it will cost you per person. 

Read more: Where Can I Celebrate My Retirement? A Guide For Retirees

Date and time

The timing of the retirement party is also a factor that can either be in your advantage or disadvantage. When you book a venue at their busiest time in the week, it will be a lot more expensive then if you book the venue during slow hours. 

Before you send out an invitation, it’s wise to think about who you want to invite and when you want to plan the retirement party. A venue will be much cheaper during the week, but that isn’t always suitable for your guest list with people that need to work during the week. 

A guest list with only retirees will make things a lot easier. You can plan it on any day of the week, and therefore you can often get amazing deals at a much lower price. 

So before you plan the time and date, see who you invite, where you want to plan the retirement party, and figure out which of these factors are more leading then the others. 

Read more: When To Throw A Retirement Party? | Party Guide

Food & Drinks

Let’s continue with food and drinks. The time of the day also determines what kind of food and drinks you normally serve around that time. And the amount of food and drinks and what you serve will influence your retirement party costs as well. 

There are a couple of options you can consider:

  • Bring your own party
  • Make your own food and drinks
  • Hiring a caterer to drop off
  • Host party at a catered party venue
  • Host party at a restaurant or other desired venue

Making your own food and drinks is the cheapest option when you like to be in charge. The average cost of a caterer is between $15 and $80 per guest, depending on what you order, and it can vary greatly by region. 

And when you organize a retirement party at a catered venue or restaurant, you can negotiate about the price per guest. And this can vary greatly about what you order and which venue you choose. It usually ends up being a better price per person to take the flat rate (package deal) offered by caterers or restaurants. Rather than choose from the à la carte offerings. And it also makes your party budget more transparent. 

Tight Budget

If you have a tight budget for the retirement party, you can consider only ordering or baking a retirement cake and serving tea and coffee. And that’s it. You probably plan your retirement party between breakfast and lunch or between lunch and dinner. The slice of cake will cost you around $2 – $4 plus costs for coffee and tea. If it’s at the office, tea and coffee are normally free of charge. And if you bake the cake yourself, you can make it as extravagant or low costs as possible. 

Or if you would like to do something more than that, but still want to keep things simple and low costs. Then you can consider doing only drinks plus some snacks or hors d’oeuvre. You can make them yourself, which is a cheaper option or hire a catering company to drop-off hors d’oeuvre that can cost around $2.50–$7.95 pp/ per hors d’oeuvre. 

Another cool way is to keep costs low is to hire a food truck that will serve food at your retirement party. But cities can charge you with an operation fee, so don’t assume that your only cost is the food. 

Also, a lot of people like to organize Bring Your Own parties, where everyone brings their own food and drinks. This will keep your costs of food and drinks low, which will leave room for other variables like decorations, retirement gifts, etc. 

More Budget

When you have more budget, you can consider organizing a lunch, wine tasting, having a buffet, food stations, or a (small) dinner at the retirement party. The costs all depend on where you celebrate the retirement party and what your wishes are. You can keep the costs lower when you organize these things yourself. 

Having a lot of alcoholic drinks will pump up the costs for your retirement party as well. And the costs for this also depends on where you plan the retirement party at a venue or home. And before you decide the timing of the retirement party, you need to know that organizing a dinner party is often more expensive than organizing a lunch party. This can maybe also influence your decision about as well.

Read more: How To Celebrate A Retirement Party At Home: 14 Tips.

Invitations

When you know the time, date, place, and guest list, you can send out the invitations. And you can do this very low cost through email, texting, or calling up everyone. Or a bit more expensive through a paper invitation. It depends on the type of party which way you choose. 

An email invitation for an informal retirement party is very suitable. And perhaps a paper invitation is more suitable for a corporate, formal dinner retirement party or a more traditional retiree. But if the company or retiree values being sustainable, it’s can be best to send an email invitation. 

Invitation Recourses You Can Use:

Entertainment

Sometimes one of the highest costs for a party can be entertainment. Booking a band is so much fun, but it can also be very expensive. In that case, a DJ is often less expensive, but the lowest cost is creating your own music playlist. 

Besides organizing music, you can consider booking a photographer or videographer to document the retirement party. Or you can book a video or photobooth, have fireworks, have a magician or other artists perform at the party. 

Entertainment will increase your costs and is not always necessary. But sometimes, having a video booth will make the retirement party extra special and more memorable for guests. And because you want the retiree and guests to remember this party for a long time, you likely want to book some sort of entertainment. 

To keep costs low, you can consider handing out disposable cameras, doing a fun game, host a quiz, plan a roast, or plan an activity to entertain guests. 

Read more: 30 Ideas To Make A Retirement Party Extra Special.

Decorations

A party without decorations isn’t really a party. So within your budget, you want to leave room for decoration costs. You can, of course, outsource this, but that is also more expensive. On a tight budget, you probably have to get creative and do the decorations yourself. 

You can consider arranging flowers, party favors for the guest, and all sorts of party extras that make a retirement party memorable. And there are all sorts of great retirement party decorations that don’t have to cost you a lot. Check them out here

Rentals

When you’re planning a retirement party, it usually occurs that you need to rent something. It can be very small from utensils, plates, linens, and cups to bigger rentals such as chairs, tables, DJ booth, sound equipment, etc. Make sure you budget rentals into your party budget because often, people tend to overlook this. 

It’s everything you need, but you don’t have at home, office, venue, etc. Often you can borrow a lot of things from friends, family or neighbors. This will lower the costs of rentals. 

Retirement Gift

When you’re organizing a retirement party, you need to budget a retirement gift. You can consider collecting money to give a shared and bigger gift together with all the guests. Or let guests bring their own retirement gift for the guest of honor. 

The best gift for retirement is a gift that matches the retiree’s personality, hobby, or plans for retirement. A gift that helps them enjoy retirement better or a gift to keep as a memory. And here some examples of great retirement gifts:

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Kirsten Veldman

I'm Kirsten. In 2017, my boyfriend Léon, and I decided to retire from the rat race to travel the world and work and live location independently. With my articles, I want to help people enjoy and celebrate retirement in the best way possible.

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