Arguably, one of the toughest aspects of moving away is having to bid farewell to your good friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Moving to another part of the country or even moving abroad often turns out to be a bittersweet experience – you may be thrilled and impatient to start the new chapter in your life but parting with the people you love and care about is never going to be easy.
Before you pack up and move away, one great way to say goodbye to each special person around you is to throw a going away party… for yourself. That way, you’ll get the perfect opportunity to see your good friends one more time, to tell them how much they mean to you, to exchange contact information, and to assure them that you’ll do your best to keep in touch.
Here are some great tips for throwing a going away party before a move.
1. Decide WHEN, WHERE, and WHO
Throwing a moving away party is all about planning – if you manage to plan your goodbye event well, then its success is almost guaranteed. Basically, the very first step to hosting a successful moving away party is to solve the following 3 puzzles: date, location, and guest list.
- WHEN (DATE). In general, moving away parties take place just a few days prior to the actual move, or in other words, as close to Moving day as possible. Of course, there are no set rules and you can choose a much earlier date for your goodbye party. It all depends on whether you think you’ll be able to finish the moving preparations ahead of schedule or you’ll have to do some crazy last-minute packing or work on other move-related tasks right until the last possible moment.
- WHERE (LOCATION). Your first thought will probably be to throw your own moving away party at your place, and that’s perfectly fine. Unless, of course, your apartment or house is going to be too messy, too cluttered and too disorganized for your guests to feel fairly comfortable and at ease. If you conclude that the home you’re about to leave is not the perfect setting for a going away party, you still have good options to choose from: a favorite bar or a trendy restaurant, a memory-filled bowling alley, or even a good friend’s place if he or she won’t mind hosting the goodbye party for you.
- WHO (GUEST LIST). Without a doubt, here comes the most crucial decision when organizing a house-cooling party – who to invite. Review your guest list very carefully before sending out the invitations – after all, you want to see your dearest and nearest friends for one last time before you move away to another town or city, often in another state. It’s entirely up to you whether you will invite just a handful of really close friends or almost all your Facebook friends. Whatever your decision, just limit your invitations to the people you do care about simply because you’ll want your farewell party to be as special and memorable as possible.
See also: How to tell your friends you’re moving away
2. Send out the party invitations
After you’ve solved the 3 major puzzles of throwing a goodbye party when moving out (When, Where, Who), it’s time for the next step – sending out the invitations to the people from your guest list. There are 3 important things to remember during this key phase of organizing your own moving away party:
- Do it early. If possible, send out your invitations around 2-3 weeks prior to the set party date so that you can minimize the disruption of your friends’ own plans and maximize the number of attendees.
- Paper or digital? If you choose to go with paper invitations and you have enough time and artistic inspiration, you may wish to get creative and design your own going away party invitations. You can be sure that your friends will appreciate the touch. Or you may go with digital invitations – the faster and easier way to invite your circle of friends, coworkers, and neighbors for a final get-together. There are various websites that will let you create online invites in minutes. Also, it’s a good idea to set a private Facebook event where you can invite, again, your friends to the farewell party.
- Request confirmation. Keep in mind that your moving away party is not in any way a surprise party. Ultimately, it’s important for you to have the exact number of guests (plus-minus 2-3 people, of course) so that you can prepare better for the event. After all, having 5, 15 or 30 guests can make a huge difference in how you go about planning and organizing your farewell party before moving. Kindly ask your friends to RSVP – Please respond (Répondez s’il vous plaît in French).
Good advice: How to say goodbye to friends when moving away
3. Make it a memorable going away party
Now it’s time to prepare well for the occasion. It’s no secret that it’s the little things that will make your moving away party fun, emotional and memorable. The following brief checklist will help you get ready for a bittersweet party where strong emotions are likely to take center stage.
- Choose a party theme. You don’t have to do it but your farewell party will be much more fun if you do. For example, if you’re moving to Texas, you may choose to set a Wild West party theme. Or you can just make it a fancy dress party where each guest can show up in a fun costume he or she likes.
- Play games. Do something memorable at the Bon voyage! party so that you can keep those fun memories for later when you’ll be far from your closest friends. One moving away party idea is to hire karaoke equipment from the local music store and have a blast singing all kinds of songs with your pals, including some farewell songs such as ‘Old Lang Syne’. Another fun idea is to create a memory box – take a show box, for example, let each guest write on a piece of paper their favorite memory they have with you, and then gather all the pieces into the box. You can read those memories out loud or keep them private and read them later on your own.
- Make a farewell speech. Everyone will expect you to make a short speech, so you shouldn’t disappoint your guests. You can prepare your speech in advance or rely on your improvisational skills. Either way, don’t forget to assure your dear friends how much you value their friendship and to tell them how much you’re going to miss them after the move.
- Promise to keep in touch. Often, moving away parties are bittersweet. Yes, you’re gathering your friends to spend some quality time with them and have as much fun as possible for one last time, but the fact that you’re moving away and won’t see them for some time will surely bring sadness and possible tears to the party. And that’s fine. Make sure you give your new address to your pals and promise each other to keep in touch. Also, consider inviting your closest friends to visit your new home in the new destination town or city.
See also: How to host a housewarming party after the move
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