Don’t jump out from behind the furniture. (Or: How to plan the best surprise party ever, part II)

9 Dec
Anne loves mail!

Anne loves surprise mail!

1. Identify guests who are likely to spill the beans too soon. I’m not suggesting malicious intent, just overzealous enthusiasm.  Take special care to note that the party is a surprise, and that if the person hears about it in advance, they will likely be less surprised. Keep email subject lines innocuous in case your honoree is peering over a roommate or co-worker’s shoulder at an inopportune time.

2. Make it convenient for the guest of honor. Remember: they weren’t expecting this. (If they were, shame on you. Surprise FAIL). Don’t let them pay for anything. Arrange their ride home. Figure out a way for them to be dressed appropriately. Maybe even give them blank Thank You cards, if they’re the type of person who still sends them. If you do have people flying in for the event (see Part 1), find some other place to house them, so your honoree doesn’t have to play unexpected host.

3. People that can’t be at the event belong in a video. Have those friends and relatives who think they are too important to show up send you short video clips with their well wishes, so you can edit it together and show it at the party. If the party is for a mom, she will probably tear up. Bonus points.

4. Figuring out who to invite can be tough. Fortunately, in this day and age, we have a lot of tools at our fingertips. Depending on the circumstances, you can look through friend lists on Facebook, call the person’s place of work, or contact their family members.

5. Avoid surprise party cliches such as jumping out from behind the furniture. Remember the scene in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle where Annabella Sciorra flips out and accuses her husband of cheating on her with Julianne Moore and it turns out all of the guests are hiding in the other room and hear the whole thing? Soooo awkward.


One Response to “Don’t jump out from behind the furniture. (Or: How to plan the best surprise party ever, part II)”


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

    […] Step 5: Create a red herring, and then…surprise! Tell your friend you’ve planned something else to celebrate her birthday, so she doesn’t get suspicious. Then show up at her door with a blindfold and let the tour begin! (For more tips on planning a surprise party, see this and this.) […]

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