Don’t cc them on the invitation. (Or: How to plan the best surprise party ever, part I)

1 Dec


1. Everyone likes to be the center of attention. Except for the people that don’t. Make sure your guest of honor is in the former category before you even begin.

2. It’s more dramatic if someone close to the guest of honor flies in for the occasion. For my mother’s surprise 60th birthday party, my aunt and I both traveled to Seattle to celebrate. We got to see three looks of shocked recognition – first for the party itself, and then two more for the  family members she wasn’t expecting to see for months. And, really, surprise parties are all about the look of shock.

3. Don’t spend money on gifts. The party IS the gift. If guests want to spend money, ask them to pitch in to cover the costs of the food or venue, or to contribute towards travel costs for other guests.

4. Designate a photographer, or several. You’ll want to document this. Place the photographers strategically at key points during the party, most notably near the entrance for the arrival.

5. Create a believable cover story. If you were, say, Carol Seaver, it’s conceivable that everyone in your life would forget your birthday, which would make the surprise extra special since it would inevitably come after a period of depression and wondering who your real friends are. In real life, it’s unlikely you can get away with pretending you forgot your best friend’s birthday. The trick is creating a fake plan that sounds cool enough to satisfy them, yet pales in comparison to the actual party. When my friend Amber and I planned our best friend Lily’s 16th birthday party (this was a long time ago; I am not a teenager), we told her we were going to have dinner at the top of the Space Needle. That was fun/unusual enough to keep her from asking questions, but didn’t take away from her genuine excitement when we picked her up and took her on a 16-stop tour of her life, culminating in a surprise party with nearly everyone she knew.


One Response to “Don’t cc them on the invitation. (Or: How to plan the best surprise party ever, part I)”


  1. How did I do this without a cellphone? « Everybody’s Invited! - April 30, 2009

    […] her door with a blindfold and let the tour begin! (For more tips on planning a surprise party, see this and […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: