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luvstocraftApril 17, 2008

My DH will be retiring Aug. 1st. I want to host some type of a retirement party but it will be hard to determine for sure how many will come. I'm sure of at least 25, but there may also be officers and employees from the company who will want to attend. I am thinking about doing it at a golf course club house and wondered if I could just do it in the afternoon with finger foods and beverages? Would that be appropriate? I suppose we should also have cake. I've never had to organize this type of party so really have no idea what is the appropriate thing to do or what to serve. What do you suggest? Thanks, Luvs

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Hi - I think that sounds very nice! I don't see any reason why an afternoon gathering as you've described wouldn't be appropriate. As for whether you "should" have cake, don't worry about "should", just have cake if you want to (perhaps with a transferred photo of your DH at work, or something similar?).

When you say afternoon, you're thinking weekend, right? If during the week many people probably wouldn't be able to attend.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 8:00AM
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I think that sounds perfect. I'd do one meat type appetizer. Like a tenderloin of beef or pork on rolls. Or a chicken strip type item. Something easy to handle with one hand.

Then cheese, fruit and such. A cake will be perfect! I think it would be neat to do something different for the cake. Instead of a Congrats on a sheet cake, how about a cake in the shape of a lounge chair? Not 3-D style. Still flat. Or a smashed alarm clock. LOL

I think you have the party planned perfectly!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 9:56AM
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Thanks for your words of encouragement ladies. Yes, I'm thinking a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. I like the suggestion of a meat item as well as other appetizers, a little something hearty for the guys, huh. Love the idea of his picture on a cake--or perhaps one decorated like a motor home since that is what he wants to do after retirement.

I am glad to know this sounds appropriate for the event. Thanks for your help.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 1:13PM
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Sounds great Luvs....

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 2:40PM
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Sounds lovely, and congrats to you and your husband.

If you are doing an afternoon reception then you need to keep the food on the light side. Depending on the exact time, people will have had lunch and may be going home to dinner.

Fruit, cheese, light seafood like shrimp with several dipping sauces, mini quiche, meatballs, stuffed mushrooms; small bite size nibblies. Nothing too substantial.

Be careful with the timing you don't want to suggest this lunch or dinner unless that is what you are doing.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 5:45PM
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Your idea sounds great. I'm not so sure about a Saturday afternoon. I live in your planting zone. I'm by the beach and everyone I know with kids in California under 18 or grandchildren is out watching soccer games, baseball, taking the kids to karate lessons or just doing their laundry and errands, and going to a wedding. Sunday afternoon will possibly net you more people. Ask around and see. I entertain a lot and gave baby showers this year and that was my observation.
Costco (the California caterer LOL)is a place you can order trays of those rolled sandwiches, veggie trays and fruit assortments. I think Sam's club has them also. There are shrimp trays with the sauce in the middle, and they tell you how many it serves. Add a can of mixed nuts, get a sheet cake and voila --instant party. You are only going to need one veggie tray whether you have w25 or 50 and ditto with fruit. But then you don't have to feel like the vegetarians are left out. You can buy assortments of dip --hummus, etc. and bags of chips. You will need the most of the sandwiches. I would get 2 or 3 identical trays of sandwiches. If you have 3 different kinds-people will take one of each whether they eat them or not. You can pick up a big box of plastic knives & forks, and paper plates and napkins & cups when you order the sandwiches a couple of days ahead. Dont forget something bright at the table. Trader Joes has daffodils for $1.39 a bunch but you can just buy a potted flowering azalea & put it on the table for color. Be sure the country club will let you bring your own beverages and ask if they provide tablecloths or if you can use/borrow/rent a coffee tureen.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2008 at 10:41AM
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Thanks ladies, all great suggestions and reminders. Marge, you are right, Costco has it all, we've done that before for smaller gatherings here at the house.

I think you are right, better plan for a Sunday afternoon, although most of these guys are railroaders so they don't observe the "traditional" work week. That's why it will be harder to know how many will be there.

That's a good observation about the sandwiches--I would not have thought of that.

Next step is to go talk to the manager at the club house to set up a date and see what items they can supply so I know what else I will need to get.

Thank you all so much for heading me in the right direction. Haven't really done this before, so was feeling sort of overwhelmed for a bit.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 2:03AM
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I'm a little confused by your post. Doesn't your husband's company give him his retirement party? I've never heard of a wife giving one for her husband (sounds a little like a mom throwing a shower for a daughter). It may very well be that the customs are different in your area of the country than mine.

I'd think, though, that if you're going to be inviting your husband's coworkers and management--again, this is the standard practice in my area of the country--you'd want to hold this in the afternoon, right after work. Retirement parties are generally 'happy hour' affairs around here. Drinks and some fingerfoods, enjoyed on the way home from work. Occasionally, it's a dinner--but again, always held on a workday, so that the coworkers can make it. Most don't want to have to go to a work function on the weekend.

Look--do what you and your husband want and feel comfortable with. I'm merely expressing another take on this topic. As I already said--in your area of the country retirement parties may be totally different than they are here.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 5:02PM
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azzalea it used to be that companies threw the parties but generally that doesn't happen any more unless you are in the upper, upper echelons.

It is very typical, in this day and age, for family to host a retirement celebration. At best you may have some co workers throw a "pay as you go" bash but rarely does the company pay for retirement do's anymore....unless as I say you are a head honcho or maybe if it's a very small company. ...don't get me going.

luv your plans are perfect.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 7:07PM
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Azzalea, I appreciate your thoughts, but he is a train engineer and they don't have a "normal" day like you are referring to. They work weird shifts and any day of the week. And while some of his union members and management would be invited, so would other friends who have nothing to do with his job.

This would just be something very informal for everyone to celebrate the fact that he is now free from earning a living and can enjoy some free time. He's worked there for 30 years, plus he was in the military 11 years. I think he deserves a little celebration to mark the occasion, don't you? ;o)


    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 12:44AM
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If you are in California--few companies host a big shindig for retiring workers.In the last few years they have been laying people off instead. By the way Luv, I had a friend who didn't want to have it appear that she ever bought food. So she took her lovely bowl directly to Guilianos and had them put the potato salad in it. I have seen caterers I know at Costco
and I have observed that they simply move stuff to a different bowl or tray and garnish. That plastic stuff is great to transport but you don't have to serve in it, altho in California the party minded don't really care.
I really believe that California has different customs because when I moved out here, almost nobody was born here. You didn't have a lot of family and if you didn't have showers for family members nobody would. Also it can be expensive to entertain here--we don't have a lot of the halls and VFW locations that I know there are in Chicago for instance. Some of our available commercial sites--country clubs--have expensive corking charges if you bring your own alcohol, some won't let you bring your own food, So if anybody in the family has a big house with a garden you are the designated party host, and everybody pitches in to help.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 12:13AM
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Marge, I think it is expensive to entertain no matter where we live. I'm in California too, and I do think some of the "customs" are different, no one gets too hung up on who should host or not host--they just want a party! LOL

We've already downsized, so thought I'd better find a location with more room so everyone could be in the room together!

Good suggestions on putting the food in other containers, although I'm not sure that I care if guests know I bought food--I'm just concerned that I have enough of it! LOL

Thanks for all the help gals.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 11:31AM
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bella_victoria've received lots of great advice and I've saved the suggestions for future use.

I just have to say that I completely agree with Chase that hosting a retirement celebration is very typical this day and age! In all my years I've never heard that this was inappropriate in any way...and I'm glad that you haven't been discouraged from doing something so wonderful (and special) on behalf of your husband.

I wish you the best and have a wonderful time!!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 1:21PM
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Thanks Bella, and everyone else for the great suggestions and encouraging comments. Luvs

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 11:35AM
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It's the norm around here for families to throw retirement type parties. I think it's a lot different than a shower because with a shower you are asking/having a party for gifts so it's sort of tacky to have a family member throw it. But a retirement party isn't really a gift gathering event so I think it's fine that you host it. I'd look at it more like a "graduation" type party because after all he is graduating from work!

I think the sandwich idea sounds good. Be sure to ask that they slice the pieces in small servings though. If you have a lot of other things and it's not really meal time, many may prefer a smaller portion rather than a bigger piece. But, it's good to offer a sandwich (or something a little more filling) because there will always be some men who will need to have something more substantial to eat than celery sticks and hummus.

I'd actually offer a couple different types of desserts/sweets for an afternoon party. It's usually a good way to stretch the menu out without going overboard. Some ideas include brownie or cheesecake bites, cookie trays, caramel or lemon bars. I do think the retirement cake idea is cute (especailly if you had a picture of him when he first started work!) but I'm finding lately that people just don't seem to eat sheet cake like they used to especially at parties. Am I the only one that has run into/noticed this trend away from the sheet cake thing? You think it's just regional? Even all the kids seem to eat the big cookies instead of cakes at their b-day parties now. Just something to consider. The last couple times I ordered a sheet cake, only like 1/3 of my guests took a piece, but other times when I'd have other types of dessert, it's been closer to 90% that take dessert.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 11:28PM
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I think the suggestions you've received so far sound good, I'll be throwing a promotion party for my husband soon, so I appreciate all the tips, too. We do have a pretty big backyard, & I'm used to large family gatherings, so I hope it will go smoothly.

Carla is right about the sheet cake, for kids' bdays, we do cupcakes, it's one less step (slicing & plating cake), everyone gets their own, it's portable...

    Bookmark   April 26, 2008 at 7:46PM
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Gosh, more great ideas Carla, I'll have to remember to come back and let everyone know how it went. Thanks so much for all the helpful ideas.

Thistle5, good luck with your promotion party too and congratulations to your DH.


    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 11:35PM
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