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One idea often overlooked or short-changed in retirement party planning is the guest book. Don't have the guest book at the entrance to the party. You'll just get a line of people who just want to get the thing signed so they can get to the hors d'ouvres or drinks. Instead, put the guest book in a more central location where people can take time to write something a little more personal, stories, retirement jokes, retirement poems... things that will make the guest book something more than a list of signatures.