How to Plan the Perfect Surprise Birthday Party

Celebrating a colleague's birthday in the office

What can you get someone who already has everything? A surprise birthday party! Not only is it, well, unexpected, but it also shows that you and the gang have taken the time and effort just to make the day extra special. While planning a surprise is far from easy, all it takes is careful planning and execution—and zip-mouthed friends!

Stealthily inquire of their schedule

There’s nothing worse than planning a party then finding out that the celebrant has booked a trip to Hawaii on the same day. So be sure that you know what the celebrant is planning on doing on that day. If they’re free for a simple dinner, that’s a good signal for proceeding with the plan.

Set your site

You don’t want something that’s too complicated. You can host the party at your or one of your friends’ house, a local restaurant, or a favourite hangout spot. You can even have it at the celebrant’s house if possible. This works if the celebrant is your spouse, a family member, or a really close friend whose key you have a copy of.

Finalize the guest list

Once the site is finalized, you can start inviting guests. This should be obvious, but make sure to invite only those the celebrant actually likes. Don’t invite everyone on their Facebook friends list. If your friend is introverted, it’s important to invite only those with whom he or she has a real connection with. Make sure that the guests know right away that this is a surprise party.

Another thing: make sure that the guests know that you’re expecting them to arrive 30 minutes earlier than the starting time of the party. Explain to them that arriving at the same time as the celebrant could ruin the moment. Also, inform them to park somewhere the celebrant won’t see. You also want to help find a suitable parking space beforehand.

Have the cake delivered (and possibly other treats as well)

Layer cake decorated with macaroons

When planning a surprise birthday party, much of the time will go to coordinating with everyone and decorating the place. To have enough time for the decorations and still have an amazing birthday cake, it’s a great idea to have it delivered instead. There are cake shops that let you design a cake online and have it delivered to your preferred location. You can also have cupcakes delivered to save more time. Just make sure to inform them to make the delivery hours before the party starts.

Have a photographer or videographer at the ready

After all that planning for a successful surprise birthday party, everyone would want photos or videos to see how it has gone down. Make sure to have an official photographer or videographer at the ready to capture the crucial moment of the reveal. It’s important to capture the reaction of the celebrant and how everyone has partied and celebrated afterwards. You can also encourage the guests to take photos by turning it into a contest of the “best reveal photo.” However, be sure to remind everyone to still be in the moment.

Everybody loves a surprise birthday party no matter how much they say they don’t. All it takes is perfect planning and knowing whom you’re planning for.

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