How to Throw a Surprise Party

Surprise Party

We’ve all got one friend who has subtly (or not-so-subtly!) hinted at his or her desire to have a surprise party thrown for him or her for years. Maybe you’ve considered it but haven’t felt like tackling the herculean challenge of hosting a party for someone with such high expectations. Well, the time has come for you to throw that fantastic party, and with these tips, it’ll be easy as cake.

Timing Is Everything
While your instincts may tell you to wait until after the birthday has passed, it might be best to host a party beforehand. The guest of honor will likely be more surprised this way, and an advanced celebration can greatly lessen their suspicion.

A note of caution: it’s probably not best, however, to throw the party more than a few weeks ahead of time. To far in advance and your surprise extravaganza will feel less like a birthday party and more like a what-exactly-are-we-celebrating party.

Securing a Location
As for where you’ll be hosting this party, that’s your call. We suggest keeping the venue low-key and somewhere that the birthday boy or girl often frequents. But, if you think the “surprise” part of the party doesn’t have to include friends popping out from behind assorted furniture, the party’s location can be as lavish and special as you’d like. The simple process of the “untying of the blindfold” can serve as the “surprise” itself.

Loose Lips Sink Surprise Parties
Notifying the invitees is the next step after you’ve set a date and found a place. The invites should be sent out with plenty of time to respond—but not enough time to forget!—and should include just the basic facts. Make sure, though, to include in this information that it is a surprise party, and thus shouldn’t be brought up around the guest of honor.

Divide and Conquer
Yes, some serious planning does go into a surprise party (just as it does with any party), but it can be made much easier with the help of a few trusted friends. Each person gets to feel like he or she is contributing (and can take credit for it), and you get to have extra help (win-win!). Here are a few duties you can designate to your surprise party co-conspirators:

  • The Distractor: manages the birthday boy or girl and clears his or her mind of all party-related suspicion
  • The Communicator: handles RSVPs, answers guests’ questions, and makes sure that all participants are ready for the moment of “surprise” at least 15 minutes before that surprise takes place
  • The Shopper: he or she is in charge of getting supplies prepped and ready for the surprise party

Confirm the Basics, Then It’s Time to Party!
Before you even begin planning, you must answer a very important question: does the person you’re trying to surprise even like surprises? If the answer isn’t a definite yes, then we suggest waiting until you’re certain you’re talking about a person who will enjoy a surprise party, and then throw one. The theme, location, music, food and guests should follow the same rule: would the guest of honor actually want this? Of course, if you’ve already thought about this, and answered with a resounding “yes,” then it is time to relax and enjoy the party!

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