How to Throw An Amazing Surprise Party

Author: Nikki Barnett   Date Posted:30 March 2021 

Ultimate Guide To Planning A Successful Surprise Birthday Party

If someone you know and love has a big party-worthy event coming up, then there’s no better way to celebrate than with a surprise party! While a surprise party requires some extra planning to make sure it all comes together on the day, it’s always worth it for the extra special memories you’ll help create for the guest of honour.


If you’ve never planned a surprise party before, it might seem a little daunting. Get inspiration for your party planning with these awesome surprise party tips that would work for a range of occasions. From surprise housewarming party ideas for a couple moving into their own home, a surprise graduation party to congratulate a recent uni graduate, a surprise milestone wedding anniversary party for parents or grandparents, or the ultimate surprise birthday for adults.


Whatever event you are celebrating, make it a great night and be sure you don’t forget a thing with our guide to organising the best surprise party ever!


Essential tips for how to organise a surprise birthday party.

There are some birthday occasions that are just perfectly suited to a surprise event. While everyone expects a party for their 18th, and will probably make their own special plans for their 50th birthday, all the milestones in between are great opportunities for the best surprise party ever. 


The Party Planning Phase

Tip 1 – Deciding on a surprise party

Not everyone enjoys a surprise party. Some people don’t like to be caught off-guard or feel unprepared on the night. And others will hate feeling neglected or forgotten in the lead-up to their big day. If your guest of honour is a bit of an introvert, or would be uncomfortable walking into a completely unexpected surprise party, then give them a little warning. Mention that you’ll take them out for dinner, or that you have made plans to meet a couple of friends so that they are at least dressed appropriately and are in the mood.


On the other hand, if you know your guest of honour can’t wait to celebrate and you know they’ll be phoning around to make their own party plans, then you’ll need to get in early. Either plan their big surprise party in advance of their actual birthday, or mix it up with totally original surprise party ideas to really wow them. For surprise 40th birthday party ideas for a wife or husband, you can’t go past organising a reunion with old work and school friends they may have lost touch with.


Tip 2 – Start planning early

How far in advance you should start to plan a surprise party depends on how elaborate the event will be and how difficult it will be to co-ordinate the schedules of travelling guests. You need to start planning a surprise party a couple of months before the big event. Not only do you need time to pick the perfect date and ensure all the important guests are available, you’ll also need plenty of private time to make arrangements.


Your opportunities to make plans might be slim and far between, especially if you’re planning a surprise party for your husband or wife and don’t get a lot of free time for phone calls and organising. You’ll need an easy way to stay on top of bookings and the guest list without making an obvious paper-trail, and the more time you give yourself to prepare catering, venue, and entertainment, the easier it will be. 


Tip 3 – Inviting Guests

The best surprise birthday party ideas for a husband or wife are those that bring all their friends together in one place. Tracking down old school friends and work mates can take some investigative work, so leave yourself plenty of time to make contact, make phone calls, and get out your invitations. Ensure everyone knows not to RSVP or discuss arrangements via email if there’s a chance they’ll be seen by the guest of honour.


To help keep the party hush hush, it’s safer to invite people individually and in person wherever possible. Face to face invitations means there’s less of a chance of plans being intercepted. Individual phone calls give guests a chance to ask whatever questions they have, and you can emphasise the need to keep it a secret.


Tip 4 – Delegate!

Keep in mind that planning a surprise party takes some special secret-keeping skills, especially if you are trying to surprise your wife, husband, or best friend. It’s far too easy for an overheard discussion or bank statement to give away the surprise. If you can spread the organisational tasks around between close friends there’s more chance you can do your surprise party planning when the guest of honour is not around. A shared surprise party planning checklist or a private social media chat group could be a good way to keep all your organising in the one place, so long as there’s no chance of poorly timed chat pop-up notifications giving away your secret plans!


Tip 5 – Choosing your location

When deciding on the best venue for your event, a close friend’s house or a favourite restaurant are two good places to throw a surprise party. The quickest way to spoil the surprise on the night is to hold the surprise party somewhere you would never normally go. Choose a venue that you might possibly go for a quiet dinner to celebrate together.


If a large number of friends are planning to travel and stay overnight, it’s a good idea to hold the surprise party within walking distance of accommodation. Seeing a line of familiar cars in the car park is another quick giveaway.


Planning a surprise party outdoors


Pulling Off The Surprise

Tip 6 – Organising the Guests

Make sure everyone knows to come on time. This is one event where it’s better to be early than late! If the surprise party is being held at someone’s house, arrange off-site parking. If there are a large number of guests, it may be worth organising a maxi-taxi to shuttle guests to the location in advance.


Designate more than one person to be the photographer responsible for capturing the big ‘surprise!’ reaction. If you can’t predict exactly where or on what angle the guest of honour will enter the room, be sure to have photos taken from every angle.


Tip 7 – How to get someone to a surprise party

There’s a trick to knowing how to get the guest of honour to come to their surprise party without making it obvious. If you want the surprise to go well, you need a good cover story. If you’re planning a surprise party for an important milestone birthday like a surprise 40th birthday party or that all-important big 60th surprise party then be warned that the birthday boy or girl will already be suspicious of any secret planning or invitations on the day.


A good cover story for a surprise party is something that ties in with their usual routine. It might be a semi-regular BBQ night or Friday drinks after work. A great idea for concealing a surprise party is to link it with a different occasion that falls around the same date, like a friends’ anniversary or fundraiser.


Don’t let the guest of honour walk in alone. If your cover story doesn't involve having someone pick them up and escorting them into the event, at least make sure there is a friendly elbow to grab when everyone yells ‘surprise'!


Gourmet Champagne Party Hampers


Gourmet Hampers For Your Surprise Party

At The Hamper Emporium, we love being a part of your special moments. Make it an event to cherish with champagne to celebrate and a gorgeous gift hamper for the guest of honour. You can tick ‘gourmet nibbles’ off your surprise party planning checklist by ordering a selection of gorgeously decadent food and wine hampers for your party. Go big with our Classic Celebration Hamper—truly deluxe hamper to be enjoyed by a crowd! Or make an impression with our special The Emporium Hamper that includes a bottle of exquisite Dom Pérignon Brut Vintage 2010—the world's most famous champagne.


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