Pulling off a surprise birthday party is no easy task, and with so many facets to consider when trying to plan your celebration, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. If you’re looking to pull off the surprise of the century, follow these tips and ensure your loved one receives the wonderful shock of a lifetime.
Invite Guests Early
One of the easiest ways to invite guests is through email. This is an easy way to keep guests informed of any last-minute changes, and gives you plenty of opportunity to explain the importance of keeping these plans a secret. If the party recipient lives in your home and uses your computer regularly, you may want to create a separate email for planning purposes so they don’t stumble across any telling emails, whether sent or received. When you do write your invites, make sure you explicitly state that the event is a secret, and repeat this fact several times. It may seem like overkill, but it’s better than letting all your hard work to create a wonderful surprise birthday party go to waste. When it comes to the guest list, try and pare it down to the people you know the surprisee would love to see there, don’t just invite for numbers.
Give Yourself Time
The best thing you can do to make sure your planning goes off without a hitch is to start early. This will give you the time you need to talk to guests and handle the venue, food, and other party particulars. Giving yourself ample time is important in every facet of the party planning; make sure guests are told to arrive at least a half hour before the party person of honor is due to arrive. This will give you a time cushion during which any latecomers can still make it inside without ruining the surprise at the last second.
Decide on a Dress Code
Your first priority should be in making sure the guest of honor is comfortable, so you’ll need to follow a dress code to make sure they don’t feel out of place at their own party. If they’ll be coming from a fancy dinner, have the guests dress more formally. If they’ll be heading home after a casual day outdoors, have everyone dress in their most comfy clothes. You can also follow a theme and have themed clothes on hand for the surprisee, like Hawaiian shirts or neon colors that they can slip on when they enter. If you do decide on a theme, make sure you let your guests know on your invite so they have time to find the right threads.
Hire a Caterer For Food
The easiest way to plan for food during a surprise party is to get it catered. That way, all the food preparation and transportation is out of your hands, and there’s less chance your surprisee will discover your efforts. Whether you go with their favorite chain joint (hint, hint, Chipotle does catering) or choose to order from a delicious local restaurant, pick foods that you know they’re going to enjoy. This is also why it’s essential to get your invites out early, so you can have the right number and make sure there’s enough food to go around at the party. Don’t forget about delicious libations! If the birthday guy or gal is a wino, grab personalized bottles of their favorite cab or pinot noir from a company like Etching Expressions. If you get their picture emblazoned on the bottle, it can also serve as fun décor for the party.
Remember to Document the Surprise
You’re going to want to capture the guest of honor’s surprise, so make sure you have guests prepared with phones and video cameras to get the moment of reveal. These gifts will serve as a wonderful memento for the surprisee for years to come and remind them how much they’re loved. Ask around to see if anyone has a Polaroid camera, and make sure you take pictures, hanging them up of the partygoers during the festivities.
If you’re looking to plan a surprise birthday party for your loved one, keep these tips and tricks in mind to make sure the shindig is a massive success.