With the influx of birthdays that seem to happen in September, October and November (hello spring babies!), it is much more likely that some kind of party throwing responsibility could fall in your direction. Sometimes, a good old surprise party can not only make a memorable birthday, but also remind the subject of the celebration just how special they are to those around them. And this year – there aren’t too many of us who don’t need a little something to perk us back up! Here’s our guide to throwing a surprise party that your friends and family will be talking about for years to come.
Do not ‘pretend to forget’.
This is a rookie error. Consider this your warning. Yes, it does set the person up for a MASSIVE surprise, but it can also be hurtful and create unnecessary angst – especially if they take things into their own hands and start organising something that clashes with the party! Tell a little white lie that ensures the guest of honour knows to keep the night free and look forward to something, while still leaving room to blow the lid of their expectations. This will also ensure they are both dressed and mentally prepared for a night out – the last thing you want is a guest of honour feeling under dressed or uncomfortable at their own party!
Put yourself in their shoes.
Remember, this is not about you. Your idea of the perfect party doesn’t necessarily match the idea of the birthday girl/boy. Think about what they like, what fun looks like to them, how they spend their free time, etc.. and then make sure you…
There is so much generic party merchandise available out there, please please leave it on the shelf. Your friend or loved one deserves a party that is created with them in mind, so try to remember their favourite colour, favourite foods, the favourite holiday destination, etc.. anything that’s going to help you create something memorable and meaningful for the person you’re celebrating!
..But keep your circle small. It’s important not to take on every task yourself, or place yourself under too much stress. Not only does that create a bit of a nightmare in the lead up, it’s also a pretty easy way to ensure you don’t enjoy any of the party you’ve just created. Clearly, the person you’re throwing this for is pretty important to you, and visa versa – so it would be a gift to them for you to enjoy yourself too. Ensure that those you do ask for help from are great at keeping secrets and are just as excited about the project as you are – and keep the list of organisers short, for your own peace of mind.
Have a strong alibi
If you need to cover your tracks for time away organising, hiding phone calls and generally being secretive – think about this before hand, and plan your white lies well! There is nothing more obvious than when someone close to us is trying to lie or fob something off as no big deal. Don’t get caught!
Two options – your home (or someone elses) OR a paid venue. It really depends on the mood/style of the party and how much cleaning up you feel like doing! Another factor at the moment is COVID restrictions on group numbers – make sure you keep yourself aware of limitations in your state! Contact our events team at The Westport Club for some advice, any time!
It needs to be good. Don’t skimp on quality or quantity. No-one likes to be hungry and if you’re going to have a few drinks, you should ensure everyone is well fed! Also – don’t forget about cake! There are so many delicious and ridiculously amazing options out there for cakes nowadays! Be sure to pick something based on taste and aesthetics as your cake becomes an important part of styling your event.
Figure this out ahead of time and make sure it’s clear on the invitiation. Is it BYO or licenced? Do guests pay as they order or are you running a tab? Whatever you choose, be sure to cover the guest of honour for food & drinks – it may seem obvious but they are the only one there who is potentially unprepared for a big night out – don’t let it be awkward!
Social media invitations – private Facebook group!
This function of Facebook is such a gift and so handy in a surprise party situation! You can use it to invite people, keep track of who knows what and the information you’ve covered off, AND your RSVPs. You can also use Facebook messenger or WhatsApp to send out a reminder about the party the day before. Yes, people do forget to attend parties they have RSVP’d to!
Music – involve everyone.
Music is so emotive and can make or break any event. No matter what style you are going with, make sure you involve the guests in the set list – it will keep the party going long into the night!
Smell is attached to memory – don’t forget about it!
If you want to make the night truly memorable, consider a scented candle or some other scent related product for everyone to attach the memory to! If it suits the style, you could always use these as party favours too.
Photo credit: https://amzn.to/3l0ktCE
This is really a special gift for the birthday boy/girl. One of the worst things about coming down from an amazing party high is the lack of photos worth keeping. Planning a surprise party will keep you busy and once the night finally comes, you’ll be too busy enjoying the fruits of your labour to make sure that someone is taking photos. So, outsource it! You won’t regret it!