Last Updated: Jul 5, 2018
Whether for work, college, or other, we often say goodbye to one chapter in life and hello to the next. What better way to celebrate this special time than a going away party? Remember the good times and look forward to new experiences with friends and family by your side. Or congratulate a friend by throwing them a party they won’t forget. For either occasion, check out a few of our farewell party ideas below.
For specific questions, jump to:
- Reasons for a Goodbye Party
- Going Away Party Etiquette
- Invitations for a Goodbye Party
- Going Away Party Themes
- Farewell Cake Ideas
- Party Games
Every person has a different reason for moving, and it’s important to consider these reasons before planning. Below are the four most common occasions for a going away party:
- Military: Deployment parties are common for a military send off. Whether your loved one is leaving for the Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy, Army, or Marines, let them know they’ll be missed.
- College: After high school graduation many make the big move to a distant school. Before they begin their college journey, celebrate their previous accolades and future adventure with a grad party.
- Career: Who knows where your career will take you? Whether it’s across the world or to a nearby city, there’s always a reason to party.
- Travel: When someone is traveling to another state or country and will be gone for a while, throw a goodbye party. Make sure you get the chance to say Bon Voyage and start their travels on an excited note.
Should you bring a gift to a farewell party? In short, yes. However, there are a few etiquette best practices to keep in mind.
- Don’t get anything the guest-of-honor doesn’t need or want. There’s a good chance that the person moving away is trying to get rid of most of their things before the move. They’d appreciate it if you didn’t add onto that burden.
- Ask them if there’s something they need for their new home. Getting something they can use in the next stage of their life is thoughtful and practical.
- Get them something they can remember you buy. Consider using your favorite photo of you two and creating a custom glass print. That way they can take you with them.
If you’re planning on inviting friends and family to see-off a loved one, make it official with a custom party invitation. Pick a card that matches your party’s theme and make sure to send out the invitations in plenty of time. When to send out going away party invites depends on how formal the celebration is. If your nighttime elegant dinner party requires a lot of planning you’ll need time to get RSVPs and prepare. If you’re planning a daytime drop in you won’t need as much time and can wait to send those invites.
- Formal: Send out invites 4-6 weeks in advance
- Non-Formal: Send out invites 2-3 weeks in advance
Going away party invitation wording varies by theme, formality, and occasion. Here’s some things to include:
- The theme and type of party
- Who the party is for
- Location for the event
- Date and time
- When to RSVP by and who to RSVP to
- The dress code, if applicable
- What to bring (food or presents)
Once you have all your bases covered you can sit back, relax, and wait for the RSVPs to roll in.
Make your celebration a little livelier by picking out a theme. This should be one of the first steps on your to-do list, because almost all party planning depends on the theme.
Put your party planning hats on and get creative. Below are a few of our favorite farewell party themes.
Give your guests a taste of your new home with a ‘future destination’ themed party. This is the perfect way to celebrate and say “out with the old and in with the new.” Make food the new city is famous for. Include photo plates with pictures of the city’s largest landmark. Decorate with tourist destinations located in the new city. This theme shows off a little bit of your new home to all the dear friends you’ve made.
This expression offers well wishes to someone about to go on a journey. Is there a more fitting theme for a going away soirée? When it comes to décor, think airplanes and maps on printed table runners and hallway banners. This is a perfect theme for someone about to go on a long trip.
Who said it was wrong to put guests to work at your own party? One of our favorite themes for sending a loved one off is a packing party. Bring out the duct tape and boxes. Friends and family can make the best moving crew with some provided food and drinks.
Military Send Off
If the guest of honor is headed to the military say goodbye with a themed party and military style goodbye gifts. Decorate the walls with the emblem of their military branch. Craft care packages to send with the person as they start their training or their post. Make sure you show your support and love as they start their service.
Color Themed Party
If the guest of honor doesn’t want a specific themed goodbye party, then you can opt for a color combo. This will make the planning easier and still give the party a uniform feel. Test out the following color combos:
- Black and Gold
- Brunch with Bubbly
- Cream and Neutral
- White and Black
- Flag Colors (if the honoree is moving out of the country or traveling abroad)
Going Away Dinner Party
For a more sophisticated feel, have a dinner party. Each guest can bring a favorite dish of the guest of honor or something to fit the theme. You can eat under the stars or feast inside depending on the weather. Below are some creative food ideas to kick off a perfect goodbye:
- Breakfast for Dinner
- Backyard Campfire
- Garden Party
- Bite-sized Dinner
- Wine & Cheese Party
- Sushi Dinner Party
- Cocktail Party
When it comes to party themes, the options are endless. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when deciding on a party theme. You should always consider the weather and season so your party theme can be successful. You don’t want to plan a BBQ party during a rainy season or host an outdoor dinner party in the winter. Before settling on a theme, consult with the guest of honor if they’re not hosting the party. They may have a preference or an idea that’s near and dear to their heart.
No party is ever complete without a cake. If the guest of honor has a favorite flavor make sure to use that recipe, and then get creative with the decorations. Consider incorporating a map, plane, flag, or package imagery for an on-theme decoration. Also make sure to include a kind sentiment in frosting to tie it all together,
Between all of the reminiscing there may be some time during the party to play a few games. Choosing games that focus on the guest of honor is a great way to celebrate them moving onto their next adventure. Check out some game options below:
- Roast and Toast: Sit in a circle and have each attendee share their favorite memories, then toast. It’s a great way to remember the special person and share a good laugh with friends.
- Quiz Anyone: Draw up a list of questions that focus on the guest of honor and see who knows him or her the best.
- Blindfolded Guessing: It’s time to put the guest of honor into the hot seat. Have all of the party guests stand in a circle around them. The guest of honor guesses which friend is in front of them by holding their hand. If the guest of honor can’t tell then they are given a clue about the guest. The pressure is on. This game shows just how well the the guest of honor knows their friends and family.
- Photo Booth: A party favorite, this is a great way to share your celebration on social media. Add theme related props and let your guests have a blast.
Party go-to’s include streamers, balloons and banners of different colors and sentiments. You can also print out some of your favorite photos and memories with the loved one and hang them around the party area. Consider adding thoughtful ideas such a peel-on chalkboard wall where guests can write down their favorite things about the honoree. For more party decoration ideas, look to your theme for inspiration and buy accordingly to amplify your theme.
Here are a few decoration ideas:
- Balloons with photos tied to the bottom
- Memory Jar
- Map of honoree’s new destination
- Wall of memorable photos
- Custom napkins
- Signage with farewell or goodbye sayings
Most importantly, enjoy the party! Take the chance to wish your loved ones well and celebrate new adventures, but don’t forget: it’s not goodbye forever.