Follow basic rules of etiquette at retirement parties, such as confirming your attendance beforehand and drinking in moderation. The most important thing to keep in mind is that it is an important time for the retiree. Gauge the guest of honor's feelings about this big change in his life, and do not assume that he feels the same way as you or someone else in the same situation.
Your choices depend greatly on the location of the retirement party. Behave and dress more casually at informal parties that are held in office settings. Do not ignore organizers’ requests, such as bringing food and contributing funds. The organizers are counting on guests to make the party a success. Always dress for the setting; ask organizers for the dress code and tell your guest, accordingly. If you have known the retiree for a number of years, consolidate your funds with others to purchase a gift of substance. Otherwise, a modest gift or a greeting card with kind words suffices.
The type of gift that you give depends on the retiree's particular interest. Confirm what his hobbies are in a casual manner. You do not want him to think that you have not been listening to his stories about fishing and baking competitions all the years you have known him, and you do not want to assume that his hobbies have not changed. Check with a spouse or a retiree's close friend well before the party if you are unsure.
During the retirement party, offer kind words and reminisce about positive moments that you have shared. Usually, retirees mention their future plans, but when they do not mention any plans, do not prod. Everyone perceives major changes in life differently, and it is important to help make the retirement party a joyous occasion in any case. Never leave the party without giving the retiree kind parting words and offering your contact information to retirees you have known for a number of years.