Throwing a successful surprise party takes a lot of work, but if you manage to pull it off, the birthday boy or girl will likely remember the experience for the rest of their lives. To help party organizers find the right location and keep everything a secret, the event planners at Olivia Restaurant offer the following tips for throwing a fantastic surprise party.
Finding the Right Location
Like any good party, the location of your surprise birthday party should reflect the personality of the person you are celebrating. Consider the birthday boy or girl’s hobbies, where they typically hang out, and what they like to do for fun. For gregarious individuals, an upscale banquet hall, exciting bar, or sporting event might be the best venue for a surprise party, while more reserved individuals may prefer a quiet, outdoor location or even their own home. Just remember: some venues or activities must be booked weeks or months in advance, so don’t wait until the last minute to reserve your space!
Getting The Timing Down
Making sure all the party-goers are present and ready BEFORE the guest of honor shows up is one of the hardest things about planning a surprise party. Tell your guests to arrive too early and they’ll feel bored and inconvenienced; tell them to arrive too late, and they might risk spoiling the big “SURPRISE!” moment or missing is altogether. As a general rule, we recommend telling party guests to arrive one hour before the birthday girl or boy is scheduled to show up, and clearly explain that, because it is a surprise party, punctuality is vital to the party’s success.
Covering Your Tracks
A surprise party loses its luster if the guest of honor isn’t surprised, so to ensure that they’re truly floored, every precaution must be taken to cover your tracks. Some of the best ways to make sure the party stays a secret include:
- Be vigilant about cleaning up “clues” you might have left behind, such as emails, cake receipts, and text messages.
- Don’t tell people who aren’t good at keeping secrets, especially children, about the surprise party until only a few days or hours before the party is scheduled to occur.
- Make fake birthday plans so the birthday boy or girl doesn’t think you have completely forgotten about their special day.
- If possible, tell guests to park their cars out of sight so the guest of honor won’t be able to identify the vehicles of friends or family members.
Capturing the “Surprise!” Moment
Trust us, you’re going to want to capture the expression of the birthday boy or girl when all of their friends yell “SURPRISE!” and the confetti flies. Designate at least one person as the party’s videographer, and make sure they keep the camera trained on the guest of honor’s face for the first two or three minutes after they enter the venue.