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Celebrate Good Times: 6 Ideas and Tips for Throwing a Surprise Birthday Party

Birthdays are times to celebrate life, love and friendship. Few ways to honor such an occasion quite measure up to gathering together someone’s friends and family in commemoration the special day. Of course, throwing a surprise party takes matters to an entirely new level.

With all the possibilities out there, planning a surprise birthday party can be fun and exciting. Having said that, actually making it all come together tends to generate a great deal of stress. Being prepared for what’s to come goes a long way toward ensuring success both before and during the event at hand.

1) Get an Early Start

Nothing spells disaster like trying to toss together an elaborate surprise party at the last minute. Remember Murphy’s Law: whatever can go wrong will. Start planning well in advance of the actual event to give yourself plenty of time to work around roadblocks and iron out all the wrinkles.

2) Remember the Five “W”s

Whether planning an event or weeding out suspects in a murder investigation, the five “w”s are critical to the end result: what, why, who, where and when. Obviously, the “what” is a surprise party and “why” would be because a friend or loved one has an upcoming birthday. “Who” revolves around the guest list, all of whom should be people the guest of honor gets along well with.

“Where” is the venue, which should be a reasonably convenient locale for all the guests. To keep your stress levels at a minimum and ensure everyone involved will be comfortable, one particular party-planning veteran’s website recommends choosing a somewhat simple venue. Your home, that of the guest of honor or a local casual dining restaurant are some common ideas. Public parks work well for summertime parties, but there’s always the chance of bad weather to contend with.

“When” covers the date and time. Check with potential guests before setting this aspect in stone to be sure as many people are able to attend as possible. If feasible, have guests provide a couple of different dates they’ll be free to guarantee the venue and as many attendees as possible are available when the time comes. Don’t hesitate to tell everyone to be there an hour before the event will actually start to cover the always-late members of the crowd.

In the midst of all this, be sure to keep a visual record of all the details in a single place for the sake of organization. Add any new developments or ideas to this memo as they arise so you won’t forget or overlook anything.

3) Fill in the Gaps

All those previously mentioned factors may seem overwhelming, but once you’ve nailed down the basics, the real fun can begin. This is where you get to decide all the finer details. Don’t forget to order a cake well ahead of time. If hosting the party in someone’s home, think about what types of foods will be served.

Finger foods are all-around simple alternatives, and they’re usually a huge hit. Elaborate meals complete with appetizers and desserts are nice, but they demand a great deal of time and energy. Keep in mind, potluck dinners are classic favourites and great ways to spread the workload more thinly.

Will there be a theme involved? Does the guest of honor have a favourite band or television show? If so, having guests dress up accordingly could be a lot of fun. Should you choose a formal setting, be sure everyone is aware of the dress code.

4) Spread the Word

After the basics and finer points come together, it’s time to contact everyone on the guest list to let them in on the details. Here’s where an online invitation maker might come in handy. It’ll allow you to use the reach of social media to your advantage.

Be completely clear about the “surprise” aspect of the party on these invitations. Also be sure to include the date, time, location and your contact information. Discuss additional details as well, like themes and whether or not guests need to bring food.

Don’t forget to follow up with guests and keep track of RSVPs so you won’t be underprepared in terms of food, seating and other party essentials.

5) Have an Accomplice (or Two)

Planning a party is a lot of work for one person. No matter how organized you are or how hard you try, you just can’t do everything. Accomplices are the ones who’ll pitch in and help get things done. Be sure to choose people who are trustworthy and reliable, so you can count on them to be there when needed. Having one accomplice run last-minute errands while the other keeps the guest of honor distracted and ensures he or she shows up to the party on time would certainly work in your favour.

6) Have a Checklist

These points are very general. No two people or parties are the same, so covering all the bases is virtually impossible. It’s also impossible to remember everything to be done before the event on your own. Consider finding a thorough party checklist and customizing it to suit the occasion at hand.

In a Nutshell

Above all else, keep the birthday guy or gal in mind during the planning process. If he or she gets nervous around large crowds, keep the guest list small. Should the guest of honor suffer from gluten sensitivity, be sure the cake accommodates his or her dietary needs. Keep these tips in mind, and the party is sure to be memorable.