The Art of Surprise

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Planning a party can be stressful at the best of times, but even the most complex regular party planning will seem like a vacation when compared to how difficult throwing a surprise party can be. Thankfully, if you follow this checklist, you can be sure to cover all your bases without too much extra trouble.

* Pick a date. You need to know for sure that the guest of honor will be available that day. Remember that changing the date of a surprise party is much more difficult than changing the date of a regular party, so ensure you get this important first step correct.

* Decide on a budget. How much will you spend on this party? This strongly affects most other decisions you’ll make in the planning stages.

* Pick a theme. Surprise parties are always better with a theme. Pick something that the guest of honor will appreciate.

* Choose the venue. Not only must the location be good for your party, but it needs to be plausible as a location the guest of honor can be taken to without realizing it is a surprise party. Usually, the best location for a surprise party is the guest’s home.

* Create a guest list. Your list should include the name of each guest, address, phone number, e-mail address, and three empty fields. Check the first field as you send out each invitation, use “Y/N” in the second field as you receive RSVP confirmations, and record how many guests they intend to bring in the third field.

* Choose surprise birthday invitations that fit your theme well. Be sure the invitation clearly indicates it’s for a surprise party. You don’t want an invited guest to get confused and ruin the surprise!

* Invitations must include an RSVP by date, a reminder to park away from the venue, and the cover story for keeping the party secret. To cut costs, consider using potluck assignments.

* Enlist an assistant that can keep the guest of honor occupied during the setup of the party. Best friends usually work out best.

* Be sure you have enough flatware, groceries, ice, and thematic touches like balloons, streamers, or a banner. Have a playlist ready for background music and cameras ready to record the occasion.

* On the day of the party, let neighbors know what’s going on and tell them when you expect guests to leave. Have guests arrive a half hour before the guest of honor. Turn off the lights, hide, and wait.

* Finally, enjoy yourself! The best part of any surprise party is the party itself. Once the party starts, be sure to take the time to have fun. Everyone else will.

Material consideration was given for reviewing and editing this post.

3 thoughts on “The Art of Surprise

  1. I threw a great surprise party for my husband's 30th. He was VERY surprised. He's tried to surprise me from time to time, but he can never pull it off… He starts acting suspicious and I suspect something is up.

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