Everyone has their different viewpoints about going away parties. Some people love them, some people hate them, the rest don't care on way or the other.
Another employee resigned a few weeks ago and for her going away party, she decided to go out to a restaurant with a select group of people. She invited about 80% of the people. Of that 80% several refused to go simply because of her selectiveness.
When I was asked what I wanted, I said simply "a potluck!" Everybody loves a potluck. So much food that you feel like you are going to explode! Everyone was invited; friend and foe. Most of the people, friend and foe, attended. We had a great time! We had a TON of excellent food.