Tag Archives: decorating ideas

Planning a Surprise Party

surprise party invitationsAny party can be a surprise, from birthday or anniversary, to a new baby… from a small reception or dinner to a big bash with a band.

If you want to throw a party for someone who likes surprises, but won’t miss the prep and planning for a big party, a surprise is the way to go! They are fun to plan, and create absolutely no work for the guest of honor (until party clean-up!) Surprise parties also work well for someone who would say no to any party for himself… if they knew about it in advance.

So how do you make your surprise a success? Communication and planning.

1. Be sure that everyone invited is very clear that this is a surprise party. They need to understand when to arrive, and when the “surprise” will happen, so they don’t ruin it. Be sure to give a cushion of time between when the guests arrive and when the honoree arrives. Choosing a party date before or after the actual event, such as two weeks before the birthday, makes it easier to conceal the surprise.

2. Use a routine event or a poker-faced friend to get the honoree to the planned location. For example, if you hold it where he goes every Friday, you won’t need to drag him there blindfolded. Or, have a close friend “invent” an event to attend with him, like another friend’s party. If this “cover event” is set-up in advance, he can’t drop out or plan something else. Plan to have the honoree wearing something he will feel comfortable wearing at the party. If he shows up in workout clothes, and everyone else is in semi-formal wear, he is going to feel out of place.

photo centerpiece3. If you want to play up the drama, start with a bang!

  • Use huge party poppers to shoot confetti 15 feet.
  • Fill the room with helium balloons with colorful strings hanging down
  • Use music and lights for dramatic effects
  • Decorate with bold colors. Disco ball? Strobes!
  • Perhaps when he pulls open the door to the party, a wall of balloons falls onto him.
  • Have him greeted at the surprise party with a crowd of people holding up masks or his face. Or all wearing his favorite team colors.
  • Before he arrives, hand out “Jake’s Fan Club” badges for everyone to wear.
  • Create a memory wall or have framed pictures from throughout the years scattered around the room. Photo centerpieces are great conversation starters.

4. Incorporate his favorites! Favorite dinner, dessert, colors, music, friends and family.

5. Go with the flow, and have fun. If the surprise is given away before he arrives, he can still have fun at the party. The important part is that your guest-of-honor sees all his favorite people gathered to celebrate with him, and knows you cared enough to create this wonderful event!

If you also need gift ideas for a special birthday, check out this article on 70th birthday gift ideas for inspiration.