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Old 07-21-2002, 07:22 AM
shelly89's Avatar
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Question Throwing a surprise party

Hi everyone. Im new to this whole message board thing so Im hoping this all comes out ok. Next month I am planning to throw my husband a surprise birthday party. This will be my first real "adult" party I have ever planned. Adult meaning I have thrown kids birthday parties but thats all. Im looking for ideas on how to plan it, food ideas, drink ideas, how to keep him away ideas. How do I plan for people to RSVP without him knowing? Or anything else y'all can think of that will help make this surprise party a success.

Thanks so much

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Old 07-22-2002, 04:35 AM
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Below I have listed some fun ideas for Surprise parties but before I get to them, here are some other tips:

1. If possible invite people via mouth or phone. You'd be surprised how many Guest of Honors (GOH) stumble across the invite. But if you do send them out....Make sure you put on the invitation that it is a SURPRISE party. If at all possible have people RSVP via email, or phone. But also place on the invite the hours in which they should call (when the GOH is not home). This way you still get your RSVP's and the GOH is non the wiser.

2. Make certain the GOH is away while guests arrive. For example, invite him or her out to dinner with a "conspirator" and have guests arrive during the GOH absence.

3. Give the guests an exact time to arrive prior to the appearance of the GOH—at least 10 minutes (i'd say 15 to be safer) before the GOH is scheduled to appear. If they are late, ask them to please remain out of sight until after the surprise occurs.

4. Make certain that the vehicles of guest are not visible as the GOH approaches. Have them park around the corner or far enough up the block. This is especially important for guest with unique license plates and well known vehicles.

5. If possible, have the party at a location the GOH wouldn’t consider suspicious - a relative’s house for dinner, restaurant, favorite bar, etc.

6. Have the party either a few weeks before or after the date of the event. This is a great help throwing the GOH off.

7. Instead of the traditional "jump out and yell surprise", have the guests walk in on the birthday person, as if nothing out of the ordinary is going on.


The first thing you'll need is someone to help you pull this off. Enlist a trusted friend or family member to help you carry out your plans. One of you needs to get the guest of honour to the party and the other will need to keep guests in order until you arrive. Keeping the secret is of paramount importance, so you'll need to let the guests know about the surprise in advance. A simple 'It's a surprise so please be discreet!' on the invitations should do it.

If you'd like to visit a restaurant, club or pub, you'll need to reserve in advance and let the staff know it's a surprise party. Unfortunately, lots of surprises have been ruined by uninformed servers, so let them know ahead of time that you and the guest of honour will be arriving later than the rest of the guests.

Planning a surprise isn't at all different from planning a regular party, but here are a few ideas that might help…

• Arrange to pick your guest of honour up and surprise them with a limo-full of friends, ready for a night on the town!

• Book a table for two at a restaurant with a private room where all the guests will be secretly waiting.

• Invite them around for dinner where you're all waiting to get the party started. Even better, make it fancy dress and have a costume ready and waiting for them. A 70s disco theme, complete with roller skates and an afro wig are always great fun (and hugely embarrassing in the photos later on).

• Kidnap the guest of honour! Co-conspire with their partner to show up at their home un-announced, blindfold them and take them to a surprise location. This is a great way to 'warm them up' to the idea of a party rather than springing it on them.

• Hold your own 'This Is Your Life'. Make a memory book of favourite stories and friends in their life. As you read it aloud, have individual friends enter the room as you tell of their association with the guest of honour.

• It's great fun to bellow 'Surprise!', but even better when it comes with a shower of confetti and noisemakers. Make sure you've got all you need to create a party atmosphere!

• If you opt to go the traditional 'everybody jumps out and yells…' route, make sure you've got someone lined up to deal with the stereo right away. Otherwise you risk your guest of honour facing a deer-in-the-headlights heart attack.

Face it - some of us don't deal with surprises very well. Is your guest of honour more inclined to grab a ****tail and hit the dance floor or never forgive you for placing them at the centre of such a concentrated burst of attention. If it's the latter, it doesn't mean you can't throw a surprise party, you'll just have to adjust your thinking.

• Ease them into the surprise by arriving early and allowing them to greet guests as they arrive. The guest list will still be a surprise!

• Hold the party in the daytime, where it won't seem like such a big 'event'.

If they are painfully shy, let them in on the secret beforehand, but swear them to secrecy.

• Then they'll feel like the surprise is on the guests and everyone will be happy.

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Old 07-22-2002, 04:44 AM
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As for Food and Drinks for an adult surprise party, there are so many alternatives. Are you having it catered? If not, make finger foods or have trays of food made. It all depends on what you want. But keep them simple instead of ornate. People can be picky with foods. Good selections are baked ziti or stuffed shells, salads, chicken, deli trays, cheese and crackers, hourdourves type finger foods. Make sure to have water, diet and regular soda, beer and wine if applicable. I would stay away from hard liquor... this can be a problem for guests that are driving.

Decorations... this can be fun... blow up a picture of the GOH and hang it somewhere for all to see. Have pictures of the GOH all around on display from the time they were born to recent shots.

Have a roast or This is your life theme ... have the GOH's friends, family and co-workers talk about different things that happened from the time they were kids until recent past. Share those fun and embaressing stories.

Have a few SURPRISE guests.... maybe an old friend the GOH has not seen in a long time. Have them stay in another room and at the appropriate time, have them talk from the other room and let the GOH guess who it is. Have the surprise guest give clues as to who they are.

I hope this helps, let me know if you need more

Good Luck!
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Old 08-30-2002, 07:22 AM
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Hope your party went well. Just wanted to add an idea in case somebody else is thinking of throwing a party any time soon.

My DH has surprised me two years in a row (which is quite an accomplishment in our house - I'm so nosy). He asks me where I want to go for dinner for my bday and SURPRISE! my family and friends are there waiting to greet me. The amazing part is that he doesn't ask me until that evening. There is no way he could store the food or drinks in our house without my noticing. Everybody pays for their own meals so it's not expensive.

How does he do it? It's a calculated risk. I almost always pick the same place for dinner. Backup plan? Call my sister (at the restaurant on her cell phone) and change the location, stalling our getting there by needing to stop for gas or batteries or something. Or talk me into the same restaurant.

Don't think it will work for a third year though!
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:35 PM
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Very useful ideas and information on this post . Thanks for the share .
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Old 04-22-2010, 03:46 PM
jaynes's Avatar
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all your ideas are great!

It is really hard to throw a surprise party,but with your ideas.. I think it will be easier and fun too!

Thanks for sharing!
Birthday Party Supplies
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