Throwing a surprise birthday party can be really fun, but it’s contingent on a lot of small things going your way, so pulling it off can actually be a little tricky. Logistics include deciding when and where the party will be, who to invite, how to keep the secret, and the best way to reveal your surprise. If you’re hosting a surprise party and aren’t quite sure where to start, read on for the best tips and tricks.
1. The surprise
A surprise birthday is best when it’s not expected. Check with the guest of honour’s partner or close friends to ensure their schedule meshes with the planned party time, and make sure everyone invited knows it’s a surprise party. If you can, find a chaperone to accompany the guest of the honour to the party location so you’ll know what time they’ll be arriving.
2. Guest list and invitations
When it comes to deciding who to invite, your guest of honour’s Facebook or Twitter contacts are a great place to start. Keep in mind that a smaller guest list will reduce the chance of the surprise being ruined, but a larger guest list will make the big reveal more dramatic. Make the start time at least 30 minutes before you expect your guest of honour to arrive so you can ensure everyone is in place before the surprise moment.
A fun or unique theme will help make your surprise party memorable. Choose a theme related to your guest of honour’s favourite hobby or tie the theme in with your venue (hold a football-themed party at a sports bar or a burlesque-themed party at a cabaret club).
Choosing a bar or restaurant your guest of honour loves is always a smart option for a surprise birthday, and it makes it easier to keep the secret under wraps. If you’re kicking the party off with a cocktail or drinks reception, pre-arranging a bar tab ensures ordering drinks is quick and easy.
5. Food and drink
Canapés, party boards and share plates are an ideal choice for surprise parties. For bonus points, serve your guest of honour’s favourite foods or cocktails.
6. Final tips and tricks
To avoid singling out your guest of honour, figure out what they’ll most likely be wearing at the time of the surprise, and advise your other guests to dress accordingly. Carefully consider the big reveal ahead of time as there’s nothing worse that a guest being caught in plain sight or prematurely shouting ‘surprise!’ Remember to film or photograph the big reveal, and don’t sweat it if the surprise is given away – in the end, it’s really the thought that counts.