Sometimes unspoken to people around us, sometimes commonly known: many of us would love to receive a special birthday gift: surprise party. Although they are people who would not like to hear “Surpriseee!”, many of us would truly jump from the joy. Would you as well?
Surprise parties have one key element in common: top secret factor. So one who dreams about it, would not ask for one, hoping deeply someone could read “her/his” mind. On the other hand, even if not on our bucket list – would it be just nice to be surrounded by people who care for us and want to share a special day with us? These are moments that matter.
Before dreaming of receiving a surprise party, I would reverse a question: have you organized one for someone already? Usually that’s how things can return to us, by doing, by sharing and caring. And believe me, organizing a party like this is usually a lot of fun and excitement too. Making sure all is ready, making sure master plan is ready to be rolled out. And the best moment – it is the biggest joy for the organizer/s to see that unforgettable smile, long waited one, after days or weeks of preparations. Nothing more rewarding than smile & laughter.
A smile remains the most inexpensive gift I can bestow on anyone. – Og Mandino
I heard few times that organizing surprise parties might not be easy, it requires a lot of time for planning and energy to make all happen. Hmmm. Yes, it might. But just visualize the joy on the face of the person that is dear to you, and on your face too! That can’t be replaced with any gift. So let’s go ahead and create these moments that can last.
Based on my experience with creating surprise birthday parties, both in Poland and in India, I can share a bit not only to encourage you to try it too but also to tell you: it isn’t that difficult, it is fun!
Few steps to consider first:
- Decide. Full stop ? Party format: surprise party!
- Date: which day of the week would work the best, is any holiday, long weekend that could impact presence of people, give it a quick thought. Don’t spend too much time on this.
- Scale: close family? Friends? Home party? Party outside or maybe travel abroad? This item will depend on the overall preference and budget, also the occasion itself. Maybe if it is “round” birthday you might decide to make the celebration slightly bigger.
- Finalize: by now we already know the date, scale & potential general event place, it sounds we are half way done, isn’t it? Told you – organizing can be easy and joyful!
In fact, the best part is putting all into action. Planning is a necessary step to make all happen. And remember – your mantra is: TOP SECRET. You can run out of the budget, you can forget to invite two people, you can confuse preferred drinks selection, all of this can happen, what must happen: top secret stays top secret. From now on you hold top secret information that you need to protect, a bit of acting skills will help or might be needed too.
It is time to put things in action! Here some tips and ideas from my side:
Guests list: maybe recently there was some occasion and more easily you could replicate full or partial list of guests, be it office party, friends gathering, wedding etc. Take advantage of it to finalize guests list in a smart way. Otherwise, you can also cross check the list with someone trusted to see if anyone is missed.
Tip: When organizing surprise birthday party for my husband I referred to our marriage guest list, it helped me a lot.
The more, the better: don’t be afraid to invite more people, it is a common factor to consider a natural 10-20% drop off from the original list so having more friends around can be just a plus.
Contact numbers: this will be the most wanted list for you to contact guests, maybe you won’t have all the details in advance (just like me!) so plan well when and how to obtain them, if these needs to be phone numbers or maybe you could reach out to people using social media, anything works – important: top secret mode.
Tip: While organizing surprise birthday party for my husband, I managed to gather all his friends’ numbers from his phone during the night. I took pictures of them and rewrote in the morning on the piece of paper, feeling like a secret agent! 😉 Avoid storing numbers in your phone, the good old method is the best: pen & paper. Hide it well.
Party insider: you might need one person, before arrival to the surprise place, to make sure that all is set up well, that people will hide somewhere or simply shout “Surpriseee” at the right moment.
Important: there might be a person or two who might struggle to keep the surprise as top secret. Suggestion: invite them last moment or invite them without revealing any detail of the party.
Plan big, if you can: if possible, make few things that can make this party even more unforgettable, surprise parties can’t be forgotten so making it more special can give just more joy: it can be anything – extending invitation to outstation guests, ordering tailored cake or special decoration, make it unique and special – it is worth it.
Invitations: give people enough time to book the date, sending initial invitation as “save the date” only can work miracles here, it will also give you enough information on potential number of guests and party size; then follow with actual invitation and reminder.
Tip: invite people 15-30 minutes earlier if the surprise is done outside, avoiding potential delays; arranging a drink or snack for the waiting time is a good practice
The moment: the actual surprise moment, yes – it will be few seconds only – however this is the most important part of the entire surprise; plan for arrival and imagine – how would you like the surprise to be unrevealed: turn off the lights? play some music? make a lot of positive noise? Although seconds – dedicate to this part a bit more attention.
Tip: in your last reminder to your guests do highlight that they need to be on time and not meet the birthday girl or boy in the parking lot or elevator. 🙂 Coordinating well last moments can make a difference!
Excited & ready? Go for it! Make your special ones happy! No bad timing. Time is always good for it. And if you have any more tips to share, write down! You never know when one of us will decide to organize surprise party again! Need more detailed suggestions? You can always contact me offline.
Moments that matter, with people who matter.