50+ Ideas For LDS Missionary Farewell & Welcome Home Parties

missionary farewell and welcome home party ideas feature

Today there are nearly 85,000 missionaries serving full time missions for the LDS Church. This huge increase in missionaries stemming from President Thomas S. Monson’s age requirement change in October 2012 has also led to a huge increase in farewell and homecoming/welcome home parties.

As a sign company located in Salt Lake City with plenty of employees who are not just LDS but returned missionaries, we put our heads together to compile an overview of what you need to know about farewells and homecomings as well as 50+ ideas for hosting your event. Our hope is that you can use these ideas to prepare for the big day and stop stressing about the details so you can cherish the departure or return of your loved one!

LDS Church Policies For Farewells and Homecomings

Before we jump into the various farewell and welcome home party ideas for your missionary here is a quick summary of Church policy, to the best of our knowledge, for these events. Needless to say we are neither experts in this area nor is this the focus of this post but some anecdotal observations and a brief overview should be helpful when planning your missionary event.

Meetings – It was not that long ago that church meetings consisted of an Elder or Sister giving a talk along with several family members. The focus it seemed was on the family as a whole. Current church policy has shifted away from this set up and now only has the departing Sister or Elder give a talk in the sacrament meeting.

Building Usage – Previously, whether permitted or not, it was not uncommon to see big gatherings of family and friends in various rooms of church buildings. Current church policy now dictates that buildings and facilities are not to be used for missionary farewells nor homecomings.

Both of these policies have been either put in place or re-emphasized so that while the departing missionary still can give a talk that the focus remains on church services as a whole and buildings are used for the core meetings and not personal social events.

Despite these policy changes there is no doubt that farewell and welcome home parties are still a staple in Mormon culture. As such, what follows below is your guide to stressing less and enjoying your party more.

Farewells, Homecomings & Welcome Home Parties

With young Elders, Sisters and even Senior Couples leaving and returning at record pace we’ve set out to outline not only everything you’ll need for your departing or returning missionary party but what hopefully turns out to be a comprehensive list of ideas for missionary farewells and homecoming parties. While we’ve written and compiled these ideas largely from a LDS missionary  perspective undoubtedly many of them can be used and applied in other settings in which family and friends are sending off or welcoming home missionaries from all religions. Areas covered below include invitations, signage, food, calendars, handouts and decor, and care packages.

Invitations

While social media and the digital age has taken away some of effort and delight in making and receiving printed hard copy invitations, believe it or not they do still exist beyond a Facebook Event page and mass emails. Here are a few fun ways to invite people to your missionary’s farewell or homecoming.

Missionary Announcement – Call & Farewell

Missionary Announcement Invitation

From: Laura Bunker

Sister Missionary Announcement

Sister Missionary Announcement

Source: CardsEtcetera Etsy Shop

Elder Announcement

Elder Announcement

Source: NikiNoelPrintables Etsy Shop

Elder Word Art Invitation

Elder Word Art Invitation

Source: CardVarkDesigns Etsy Shop

Signage

Anyone who has ever been through the Salt Lake City airport outside of the security gates knows that in addition to the normal travel scene there is almost always some kind of send off or welcome home group for missionaries. Similar to church meeting and building policies, the LDS Church has discouraged sending off missionaries from the airport after they’ve been in the MTC. Nonetheless, it still happens and often includes missionary signs. Even more common, and not discouraged to our knowledge, is the family and friends who await the arrival of their Elder or Sister with fun missionary signs and banners. Here are some examples – from the airport, house and more. There is also more on our Pinterest board for missionary signs.

Mission Accomplished Sign

mission accomplished missionary sign template

Source: Signs.com – Customize It

Welcome Elder Plaque Sign

welcome home elder plaque sign

Source: Signs.com – Customize It

Welcome Home Banner – Shirt & Tie

welcome home elder banner template

Source: Signs.com – Customize It

Welcome Home Banner For The Front Yard

missionary welcome home banner outside house

Source: Signs.com

Welcome Home Sign For Airport

mormon missionary banner at airport

Source: Signs.com

Welcome Home Elder – Tie & Plaque

welcome home elder vertical tie sign

Source: Signs.com – Customize It

Father’s Day DIY – Missionary Homecoming Tie Sign

Fathers Day Missionary Homecoming Banner

Source: The Foley Fam

Food

It wouldn’t be a Mormon event without free food. As alluded to above, while Church buildings aren’t to be used for missionary farewells or homecoming parties they still happen at the homes of the departing or returning missionary. While it’s great to see the missionary depart or return and the joy and happiness of his/her family, the food at these events is more than just an added bonus. Check out some of these awesome food and recipe ideas for missionary farewells or homecomings and try not to salivate on your keyboard!

 Senior Missionary Cake

senior missionaries cake

From: Let’s Get Caking

Sister Missionary Cake

sister missionary cake

From: Let’s Get Caking

Missionary Tie & Shirt Cookies

missionary tie and shirt cookies

Source: Munchkin Munchies

Missionary Welcome Home Cake

missionary welcome home cake

Source: Layers of Love

Missionary Cookies

missionary themed cookies

Exquisite Cookies

Missionary Tie & Plaque Cookies

missionary tie and plaque cookies

Source: The Good Apple

Costco Missionary Cake

costco missionary cake

White Missionary Shirt Cake

Missionary White Shirt Cake

Source: Cake Central

Pies & Ties

pies and ties event

Source: Elder Blake Farrow Blog

Missionary Suit Coat Cake

Missionary Suit Coat Cake 1

Missionary Suit Coat Cake 2

Source: Kiddles N’ Bits

Missionary Suitcase & Shirt Cake

Missionary Suitcase & Shirt Cake

Source: Delectable Cakes

Two Layer Missionary Cake

Two Layer Missionary Cake

Source: Unknown – Pin

Missionary Cupcakes With Ties

Missionary Cupcakes With Ties

Source: Indulge With Me

Assorted Missionary Cupcakes

Assorted Missionary Cupcakes

Source: The Sweet Tooth Fairy

Missionary Cake With Globe & Flag

Missionary Cake With Globe and Flag

Source: Kiddles N’ Bits

Missionary Cupcakes With Book of Mormon

Missionary Cupcakes With Book of Mormon

Source: Unknown – Pin

Assorted Missionary Cookies

Assorted Missionary Cookies

Source: Suz Daily

Calendars

While these aren’t technically part of the homecoming or return home party for the missionary, any missionary mom will tell you they are an ubiquitous part of daily life during the 18 or 24 month period when their child is on their mission. So whether you need one yourself or are gifting one to a friend, below are some of the best and most creative missionary countdown calendars we’ve found.

Temple Countdown Calendar

Temple Countdown Calendar

Source: The Idea Door Files

Wooden Blocks Countdown

Wooden Blocks Countdown

Source: Unknown – Pin

Missionary Countdown Calendar

Missionary Countdown Calendar

Source: Lisa Bearnson

Missionary Countdown Calendar Check Off

Missionary Countdown Calendar Check Off

Source: Unknown – Pin

Missionary Star Countdown Calendar

Missionary Star Countdown Calendar

Source: Making Precious Things Plain

Personalized Missionary Countdown Calendar

Personalized Missionary Countdown Calendar

Source: Missionary Posters

Cups Countdown

Missionary Cups Countdown

Source: Unknown – Pin

Missionary Monthly Countdown Calendar

Missionary Monthly Countdown Calendar

Source: Melon Heads LDS Illustrating

Handouts, Freebies, Reminders, Decor & More

Few things are better for a (homesick, discouraged) missionary then letters from home from family and friends. But any Elder or Sister can tell you that these seemingly never come. Help keep your missionary receiving letters throughout their mission by handing out these fun reminders of mission addresses, contact information and more at the missionary farewell. We’ve also included a few fun missionary themed home decor items to help you keep your missionary in mind or to decorate your home for your missionary party.

Missionary Write Me Card

Missionary Write Me Card

Source: Design Your Way

Missionary Bookmark With Contact Information

Missionary Bookmark With Contact Information

Source: Unknown – Pin

Missionary Subway Art & Food Table Decor

Missionary Subway Art

food table decor

Source: This and That

Missionary Tile

Missionary Tile

Source: Jensen Crafts

Missionary Customized Photo

Missionary Customized Photo

Source:  Family Tree and Me

Missionary Family Map

Missionary Family Map

Source: Grey Luster Girl

Water Bottle Labels

Missionary Water Bottle Labels

Source: Unknown – Pin

Missionary & Map

Missionary & Map

Source: Unknown – Pin

Missionary Tie Quilt

Missionary Tie Quilt

Source: Unknown – Pin

Missionary Shirt Handouts

Missionary Shirt Handouts

Source: Unknown – Pin

Homemade Welcome Home Tie Sign

Homemade Welcome Home Tie Sign

Source: Unknown

Missionary Goodie Wrappers

Missionary Goodie Wrappers

Source: My Computer Is My Canvas

Mission Area Print For The Home

Mission Area Print For Home

Source: Ever Love Design

Bonus Section – Care Packages

If it’s a homecoming party that you’re hosting then you’re already an expert on missionary care packages. If it’s a farewell party then we’ve included this bonus section on a ton of great ideas for care packages for your missionary.

I’m Nuts About You

I'm Nuts About You

Source: Unknown

You Mean The World To Me

You Mean The World To Me

Source: Unknown

Creative Package Ideas

Creative Care Package Ideas

Source: Hermana Jacobsen

Reese’s Pieces & Kit Kat Care Packages

Reese's Pieces Care Package

Kit Kat Care Package

Source: Parties and Patterns

Love You To Pieces

Love You To Pieces

Source: Creatively Christy 

Halloween Care Package Ideas

Halloween Care Package Ideas

Source: Sugar Doodle

Missionary Medicine

Missionary Medicine

Source: Unknown

Easter & Christmas Advent Care Packages

Easter Care Package

Christmas Advent Care Package

Source: Adam and Haley Kjar 

Missionary Christmas Stocking

Missionary Christmas Stocking

Source: Unknown

We hope this guide has been helpful and your missionary farewell and/or homecoming party is a huge hit. Let us know in the comments what ideas we’ve missed and we’ll continue to add them to the post!

Dustin Heap

Before Signs.com, Dustin had several jobs after graduating from Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada. These included positions in two different SEO agencies and Everyday Health, a leading online health brand. He’s worked with both big and small businesses and lived in New York City, Toronto, and Salt Lake City. He currently does the marketing for Signs.com and has experience in a variety of areas under the digital marketing umbrella. Outside of work he loves spending time with his family, sports, books, wood fired-pizza, grilling and smoking meat, and the geopolitics of the Middle East.