Throwing a going away party for yourself is a wonderful way to say “bon voyage” to an apartment and a group of great friends. While many people feel a little weird throwing their own goodbye party, let go of that feeling: It’s perfectly acceptable, and what’s more, it’s the perfect way to start your journey to a brand new place.

These soirees are a little different than birthday or holiday parties, though, so hosting one will take a bit of preparation. Here are some going away party ideas for throwing the perfect goodbye event:

Decide Who and When

 

The first step in your preparations is nailing down a date, time and guest list. Most people try to host their goodbye parties as close as possible to their departure date, but it all depends on what your moving plans are. If you know you’re going to be frantic with last-minute packing and preparations the weekend before you leave, opt for an earlier date.

As far as who’s going to attend, make sure you’re inviting anyone and everyone that you want to say goodbye to. For some people that means inviting their entire Facebook friend list, while others might invite only a handful of close friends. Either way, don’t extend an invite to someone you don’t particularly care for– you want the night to be as special as possible.

Book a Location

If you want to throw your going away party at your apartment, just make sure your place is going to be put-together enough for people to feel comfortable. You don’t want people standing awkwardly in a living room with no furniture. Choose a favorite bar, bowling alley, or restaurant, or ask one of your friends if they wouldn’t mind hosting (as long as you help with the cleanup).

Send Invites Early

 

If you want to make sure all of your nearest and dearest friends are definitely going to be there for your send-off, aim to send invitations at least three weeks before. To make things easy, create a private Facebook event and invite your friends from there. Even if you’re sending paper invitations (which are a fun opportunity to get creative!), a Facebook group can act as a sort of “save the date” until the invites arrive.

Hit the Dollar Store

 

A lot of your stuff is likely packed away, so look to the dollar store for cheap plastic decorations you can use once and throw away. While you’re there, pick up some paper plates and napkins, plastic cups and even some colorful plastic serving bowls to keep chips and snacks in. Cleaning up will be as easy as tossing everything in the trash, and you (or your friend who’s hosting) won’t be left with a ton of dishes.

Incorporate Local Stuff

 

Food or drinks that are local to the area you’re leaving are a fun addition to any going away party. Pick up some beers from nearby breweries you love and desserts from a bakery you’ll miss when you leave.

Make a Speech

 

No send-off party is complete without a speech from the person who’s moving away. Put together a slideshow, write a toast, perform a skit, or do whatever else you want to thank your friends and family for their well wishes and tell everyone how much you’ll miss them. Make it funny, emotional or poignant, but be sure everyone knows you appreciate that they’re there for you on your big night.

Give Useful Favors

 

Rather than typical party favors, make up some business cards, magnets or note cards that include all of your new contact information– including your address, email, phone number and social media pages– so everyone will know how to get in touch with you.

For easy DIY magnets, simply purchase cheap rectangular magnets from a craft store. Then, design sticky labels with all of the information you’re including, print them out, and apply them to the front of the magnets.

Prepare for Tears

 

Prepare yourself for the emotional roller coaster almost everyone experiences at going away parties. It really will be a sad event, so you’ll likely tear up or get emotional a few times– if not all evening. Whether this means wearing waterproof mascara, keeping a box of tissues on hand or even just giving yourself a pep talk before the party starts, keep this in mind while preparing for the big night.

Save the Best for Last

 

If you can, save the most important goodbyes for the end of the night when your going away party is wrapping up. You’ll want to spend a lot of time with your closest friends and family members, especially if you won’t be seeing them again before you go, and you don’t want to be noticeably absent while all of the other guests are there.

Remember: It isn’t goodbye forever. Invite everyone to visit so you can show them around your new hometown!

 

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