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21 Farewell Party Ideas: Themes, Invites, Activities, and Gifts

Saying goodbye is such sweet sorrow, but throwing a giant party makes it a little bit easier. To give your friend an unforgettable send-off, we’ve rounded up 21 farewell party ideas from party themes and...

Farewell party: farewell invitation cards

Saying goodbye is such sweet sorrow, but throwing a giant party makes it a little bit easier. To give your friend an unforgettable send-off, we’ve rounded up 21 farewell party ideas from party themes and invitations to activities and gifts. You’re sure to find something your guest of honor will love.

While the day after saying goodbye might be a little sad, we’ll ensure that your send-off is just like the rest of the time you’ve known each other — Super. Fun.

Dive into these ideas to keep your focus on planning an epic farewell party and celebrating everything the future holds.

5 Farewell Party Themes

Farewell party: map, notebook, phone, camera, hat, and a toy airplane

Say “so long” in style with a fun party theme. A theme is the perfect place to start your planning process. Once you’ve chosen a theme, it’ll be easier to pick out everything else — from your party decorations to your invitations to your going away gift.

1. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Not just for kids’ birthday parties, this theme is adorable for any going away party. Instead of focusing on the fact that your friend is leaving, focus on the fact that they’re going places! Use mini plane, train, and automobile figurines as party decorations, get a matching cake, napkins, paper plates, and the whole shebang.

2. The Sound of Music

Say “So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu,” with this delightful musical theme. It’s ideal for a friend who is about to start traveling (Europe, here we come!) or a friend who loves this classic story. You can screen the film in the background of your goodbye party, play the soundtrack, or ask everyone to show up in costumes of their favorite characters.

3. Shipping Out

We love this theme because it can be interpreted in so many different ways. You can choose a literal ship theme and throw a classic bon voyage party, complete with imagery of old steamer ships. You can channel Bob Hope and the Andrews Sisters, and add some USO-style entertainment to your going away party. And if someone you love is joining the military, you can decorate with their branch’s insignia, motto, and colors.

4. Maps

Maps and globes make beautiful party backdrops. Hang them all around, place pins to mark the location your friend is moving away from and the one they’re moving to. Get globe-themed paper plates, napkins, and balloons. And if you’re celebrating a recent grad, bring a copy of Dr. Seuss’s “Oh the Places You’ll Go” as a farewell gift. You can have guests sign the inside cover like a yearbook.

5. “Friends”

Whether you’re saying goodbye to a childhood bestie or a work bestie, this 90s sitcom classic is a fun theme to let your friend know that no matter what, “I’ll be there for you!” Hang a banner with the “Friends” logo and decorate with black tablecloths, sprinkled with primary-color confetti. Make a sign with a Friends-style episode title, chosen specifically for your friend’s farewell party — something like “The One Where Amanda Moves Away” for a going away party or “The One Where John Retires” for a retirement party.

7 Farewell Party Invitations

Make your farewell party planning easier by sending out digital invitations. With digital invitations, you can customize the wording, color scheme, and more in a matter of minutes. Then, send invites directly to your guest’s inboxes and collect RSVPs online. You don’t need to buy stamps, waste paper, or track down tardy guests. So while saying goodbye is hard, digital invitations are easy.

1. Farewell Friend Invitations

Say your goodbyes in big, bold letters with this crisp and colorful design. It announces the most important details of your event — the farewell party and the guest of honor’s name — in clear, simple lettering.

2. Bonne Journée Invitations

The vintage-inspired design on this invitation makes your friend’s farewell look like the start of a new adventure instead of the end of their current chapter. It’s the perfect choice for an old-fashioned bon voyage party.

3. Friendly Send Off Invitations

We love the way this farewell party invitation includes the name of the guest of honor’s current home and their new home. The design is customizable, so you can update the name of the states or even swap them for city names (if your friend is making a smaller move) or country names (if your friend is making a very big move).

4. Bid Adieu Invitations

This invitation is sentimental and sweet. The Victorian design and French text are full of nostalgia, perfect for an afternoon spent reminiscing over the good times you’ve had and the things you’ll miss most when your friend is gone.

5. Farewell Amigo Invitations

Bright and cheery and full of fun, this invitation makes it feel like farewell is only for now, not forever. It’s an ideal invite if your guest list is full of good friends and your going away party will be full of good times.

6. Final Farewell Invitations

Even if it won’t really be your final farewell, this formal farewell invitation is appropriate for any sophisticated send-off. Use it to announce an office party for a beloved coworker or an evening soirée for a fancy bestie.

7. Fly Away Invitations

For anyone who’s moving a little too far for comfort, this airplane-themed invitation is a reminder that they’re still just a plane ride away. Use it to announce your friend’s farewell party before their new chapter takes flight.

4 Farewell Party Activities

Group of friends smiling at the camera

Having activities planned can keep the conversation rolling at your farewell party, and it can provide a fun distraction when saying goodbye gets a little too real. Here are four activities to add to your agenda.

1. Guess the Goodbye Song

Guess the song is a popular party game, and it’s easy to adapt for a farewell party. There are plenty of songs about saying goodbye, from John Denver’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane” to Alan Jackson’s “It’s Time You Learned About Goodbye” to NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” and Gene Watson’s appropriately named “Farewell Party.” Play short snippets of well-known and not-so-well-known goodbye songs and see who can guess the song title and artist first. Give a prize to the winner.

2. Share Favorite Memories

This one will have your guest of honor feeling sentimental. Pass around a microphone and ask everyone at the party to share a happy memory of your guest of honor. It’s a beautiful tribute to let your friend know how much they’ll be missed. If your friend group is shy about public speaking, you can also have them write down their favorite memories and add it to a jar or keepsake box.

3. Set Up a Photo Booth

Everyone will want to get a final photo with the guest of honor, so set up a DIY photo backdrop where guests can strike a pose. This can be as simple as hanging a few decorations on your most stylish wall, or it can be as silly as adding photo booth props like fake glasses and top hats.

4. Play Guest-of-Honor Trivia

You’ve spent a long time getting to know your friend, so before they leave, show off your knowledge. Write up questions about the guest of honor — like “What’s Amanda’s favorite local restaurant?” or “How long has John lived in Texas?” — then have your other guests try to guess the answer. Hand out a prize to the person who knows the guest of honor best.

5 Farewell Party Gifts

Person signing on a guest book

A farewell gift doesn’t have to be big or flashy. (In fact, if the guest of honor is moving, then smaller is better — they have enough to pack.) Think of this as a token of your affection. It only needs to be a small memento that will help your friend remember you and the other guests at your party. Here are a few ideas to inspire you.

1. Signed Guest Book

Even better than a goodbye card, a guest book is a sweet keepsake for any momentous occasion. During a farewell party, it allows each of your guests to write a goodbye message, share words of encouragement, and let the guest of honor know just how special they are.

2. Box of Lucky Charms

Your friend might need a little luck on their next journey, so give them a box of good luck charms. Ask guests if they’d like to contribute something that’s brought them luck and have each person write a short note explaining their good luck charm. Some fun charms to add might include a ladybug pin, an acorn, a horseshoe, a shamrock, and other symbols of good luck from around the world.

3. Photo Album

It can be hard to find the words to say goodbye to a good friend, so let your favorite photos do the talking. Ask your guests to send their favorite pictures with the guest of honor. Then, add them to an album that your friend can look back on when they’re far away.

4. Succulent

One of the few plants hardy enough to survive a big move, a succulent is a good gift for any bittersweet occasion. Write a punny note to go with it that says, “This place is going to succ without you.”

5. A Scratch-Off Map

If your friend is about to go on a big adventure, help them keep track of it all with a scratch-off map. Every time they go somewhere new, they can scratch it off just like a scratch-off sticker to reveal a full-color image underneath.

So Long, Farewell

Farewell party: group of friends doing a group hug

Life is full of beginnings and endings, of closing one chapter and opening another. As we go through life, it’s just as important to celebrate endings as it is to celebrate beginnings. After all, it’s only at the end of a chapter that we can look back and see how much we’ve accomplished.

At your friend’s farewell party, you can look back on happy memories, big moments, and fond friendships while looking forward to new adventures. Because farewell doesn’t have to be forever, only for now.

We hate to say goodbye, so instead, we’ll say, “see you later.” And if you want to see us sooner rather than later, you can find more party inspiration on our Stationers blog.