How to Throw a Going Away Party

Goodbyes are never easy, but they don’t have to be sad, either. While you’re sure to miss your friend, relative, or colleague, sending them off with a fun party will help them remember you fondly. Don’t worry. We’ve answered all your burning questions, so you can spend more time celebrating and less time sweating the small details.


[Edit]Can you throw yourself a going away party?

  1. Yes, you absolutely can. A going away party is a great way to see all your friends, co-workers, and acquaintances before heading off on your next adventure. During the festivities, you’ll have a chance to reconnect and thank all of the people in your life before you settle in a brand new place.[1]
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    • At the party, you might also give your new address or other contact info to your family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances, so you can keep in touch.

[Edit]What’s the first thing you need to do?

  1. Pick a date and time for the party first. Think about the majority of your party guests and what their availability will look like. A weekday party won’t offer as much flexibility, and you’ll need to factor in people’s work schedules and commute times. A weekend party will give you a little more wiggle room, but you’ll want to set the date and time as soon as possible so your guests don’t make any previous commitments.[2]
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[Edit]Does the party have to have a theme?

  1. Not necessarily, but it can be a nice touch. Pick a theme that fits with the “going away” aspect of the party—you might host a destination-style party, or opt for a classic bon voyage theme. Above all, pick something that the guest of honor will really enjoy.[3]
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    • For a bon voyage party, you might put map-style tablecloths over the table, or set up candles in map-themed candleholders.

[Edit]What else do you need for a successful party?

  1. Choose a location for the big event. Unfortunately, retirements, moves, and other big changes can happen pretty suddenly and don’t leave you with a lot of party planning time. See if you can find a venue that matches your theme, or at least fits the vibe of your party.[4] If you’re short on time, ask a friend or relative if you can host the party at their home instead!
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    • For example, if the guest of honor is moving somewhere coastal, you might host the party at a tropical restaurant or tiki bar.[5]
    • Even if the party is last-minute, you still might be able to reserve a spot at a local restaurant or venue. Give them a call and see what your options are!

[Edit]Who do you invite to a going away party?

  1. Invite a wide variety of people. Going away parties are a great chance to reconnect, reminisce, and celebrate with lots of different people. If you’re hosting your own party, invite your relatives and friends, along with any neighbors, co-workers, and other acquaintances you’ve met over the years. If you’re hosting the party for someone else, invite their friends, co-workers, and other people they might like reconnecting with.[6]
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    • If you’re hosting a going away party for a co-worker, you might invite some of your other co-workers, along with your boss or manager.
    • If you’re throwing a party for a neighbor, you could invite everyone on the street and make it a neighborhood affair.

[Edit]How far in advance should I plan a going away party?

  1. Mail your invitations at least 2 weeks before the party. List all the essential information, like the date, time, venue, and when they should RSVP by. This way, you can create a rough headcount and estimate how much food, beverages, and other supplies you’ll need.[7]
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    • Apps like Paperless Post, Red Stamp, Evite, and YappBox are easy, digital alternatives to traditional invitations.[8]

[Edit]What supplies do you bring to a going away party?

  1. Stock up on party decor and silverware. If you’re hosting the party at someone’s home, decorations will really help jazz the place up.[9] Swing by your local party supply store and pick up some inexpensive decorations for the occasion. While you’re at it, pick up some plastic silverware, paper napkins, and paper plates for easy set-up and clean-up.
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    • You might hang up a “Bon Voyage” banner, or pick up a special “Bon Voyage” cake topper.[10]
  2. Pick up plenty of food and beverages. Reference your RSVP count to see how many people are stopping by the party. Simple party foods like sandwiches, tacos, deviled eggs, and make-your-own-pizzas are great options for the big event.[11]
    • You could serve some fun party drinks, like mojito pitchers, frozen margaritas, blue lagoons, and simple sangrias.[12] If you’d rather keep the party dry, serve drinks like strawberry lemonade, Thai iced tea, glow water, eggnog, or frozen hot chocolate instead.[13]

[Edit]What activities can you do at a going away party?

  1. Set up some fun games. You might set up a “quiz,” where people answer fun trivia questions about the guest of honor.[14] You could also plan a “spotlight segment,” where you “replay” the guest of honor’s life with scrapbooks, trophies, and other mementos.[15]
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    • You could always play simple party games, like Two Truths and a Lie, or host a ping-pong tournament.[16]
  2. Give a speech. If you’re throwing a party for someone else, you could invite people to give a short send-off speech for the guest of honor.[17] If you’re the guest of honor, you might make a speech thanking everyone for coming, and reminisce on your past memories.

[Edit]How do you throw a virtual going away party?

  1. Host it on a video chatting platform like Zoom. Send an invite link to everyone on your guest list, along with detailed instructions on how to join. Plan for the party to be about an hour long, but give guests time to join early or stay later, if they’d like.[18]
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    • A virtual party can still be really festive! Dress up in your favorite party clothes, and hang up party decorations in the background.[19] You can even set up a fun virtual background, if you’d like.[20]
    • To add to the party atmosphere, invite everyone to bring their own food and drinks to the call.[21]



[Edit]Quick Summary