Everyone loves a good surprise. And with careful planning, you never have to worry about a forgotten birthday.
Good Planning Equals a Great Party
We all have that one friend that’s impossible to shop for. Whether she seems to have it all or has unique tastes, it’s time to rally all of your friends together to pull off the ultimate scheme of all schemes: the infamous surprise birthday party. Before you even consider throwing a surprise birthday party for your best friend or loved one, it is especially important to make sure that she is the type of person who appreciates surprises. The last thing you want is for the guest of honor to turn right back around and run out the door. Read on for a guide on throwing a surprise birthday party she will never forget!
Get a Feel For What She Wants
Now that you have a tentative plan, it’s a good idea to have a casual conversation with your friend. Stealthily get into her head and get a feel for what she wants. If she says “ I don’t feel like celebrating this year” then you will know to steer clear of this kind of party. Just ask her what her ideal day looks like. Is she going to be busy with family most of the time? Try to plan for that and check in with them prior to see if they can work with you on the big plan. Including her siblings can make it all the more special.
You’ll need to base the size of the party off of her personality. If she is the quiet type, plan a small group of only your closest girlfriends. Maybe gather at your apartment for a movie night. If she is outgoing and adventurous, your party can extend to a larger, co-ed gathering at a local park or favorite restaurant.
Pick the Perfect The Party Site
Now it is officially time to begin phase one of the surprise birthday party countdown: picking your party site. The key thing is to focus on making the event memorable. So pick an easy, comfortable spot that is familiar to her. Picking a place she has never been to or heard of can pose a few problems. What if she gets lost? What if a guest gets lost? This also ensures there are no hiccups in coordinating around large crowds in areas like a shopping district or multilevel food courts and venues.
If you must host your party in public, your best bet is a place like your gang’s local cafe or dinner hang out where the staff probably knows all of the guests already. Your local spot may be more willing to close the place down for your private event as well. Choosing a largely public place like a bowling alley or bar requires navigating around times of high traffic whereas a smaller place offers more intimacy and less room for unplanned surprises. If you choose to do the party in her home or yours, make sure everyone is well informed and aware of the event, so someone like their mom or dad don’t accidentally ruin it!
Lock in the Ultimate Guest List
By this point, you have confirmed the venue and ensured it will be available. All that is missing is a bunch of her friends and loved ones to shout “surprise!” when she walks in the door. It is key to make sure you have a large turnout to ensure this is the most epic surprise ever. Nothing is more awkward than the big moment losing momentum because only three people could make it.
If you make a group page on Facebook, double-check those privacy settings, so your special guest doesn’t accidentally catch wind of what’s up. Stay in touch every single day leading up to the event to make sure everyone is on board. Life happens, and things can and will come up in their busy lives. You want to ensure you have an accurate headcount at all times. When choosing your guests, make sure you choose those who know how to keep a secret! This means keeping that friend who can’t keep a secret to save her life out of the loop until the very last second. Of course, you don’t want to forget reserving the guest of honor herself! Make plans to go out to a movie with her, and blend your evening plans seamlessly into arriving at the party destination right after.
It’s All About the Theme
The theme of the party sets the entire vibe. If you opt for a cafe, check beforehand on what you’re allowed to hang up and arrange a time to come set up the decorations. Flowers are perfect for any birthday decor, and The Bouqs Co. offers a wide selection of birthday bouquets. Beautiful pink roses make the perfect centerpieces. Nothing says glam like a party that sparkles, so don’t forget the gold glitter! We think this backdrop will go perfectly with the pink roses. Bonus, you can grab some regular gold glitter at your craft store to throw in the air over your guest of honor to make her feel fabulous!
For that friend who is more sporty than posh, you could try draping a lovely sunflower Bouq around a backyard party set up. Add some games like volleyball and grill up some food and you’ll have the makings for the perfect gathering.
No matter what type of party girl she is, you will need a photographer to capture all of the memories. We suggest selecting a friend prior to her arrival and setting her up with a disposable Polaroid camera to grab some #nofilter candids when she arrives. You will want to tell your guests no flash photography or cell phones with flash as these will blind your poor friend and result in some really strange photos. Don’t forget to grab a Polaroid camera for each table. Put in place a challenge to grab the most candid photos you can; these photos make great party favors for everyone!
Some Simple Etiquette to Follow
- The number one rule of throwing a surprise birthday party is to not talk about the surprise birthday party. Like, at all. Especially to anyone not involved. You want to limit the risk of spilling the beans!
- You need an accomplice. Having a partner in crime to share some of the planning stress is essential. You can split the trips to the party store and have some help tracking the RSVPs. Check out COM for a free tracker to help you out!
- Keep the guest list private. Create an email account especially for the event and direct your RSVPs there.
- Have a dress code. You will want everyone on the same page as her, so if she is showing up in a dress and heels, so should everyone else.
- Ask for help. Everyone involved needs to help. This goes for the venue host all the way down to the very last guest planning to arrive. Work together, and this will be a cinch.
Dictate the Party Team Roles
Who will be in charge of invites? Speaking of invites, how are you sending them? We recommend keeping as small of a paper trail as possible. So stick to email and avoid texts that could possibly be intercepted. Who is going to show up early to the venue and decorate? Lock in a solid team of co-conspirators to order the flowers (choose our next day delivery for the quickest, no hassle option.)
All of this needs to be decided no more than five days ahead of time. Don’t forget who is going to be in charge of the cake! We suggest keeping it simple and mess-free with some cupcakes. We really love this beautiful yet simple recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. When assigning roles make sure everyone is on the same page and can commit one hundred percent. Make sure every guest is ready to lie, just a little bit.
Everyone invited will need a solid cover story as to why they “can’t make it” to see her on her birthday. Keep it simple like “my grandma needs me to house sit” –nothing too complex that could sound suspicious and make her wonder. Side note: keep your stories straight! Everyone needs their own different excuse, so it is believable.
She Never Saw it Coming
The day of the party has arrived! Everyone is bursting with secrets and excitement. To pull this off, you need to have luck on your side and loads of stealth! Go ahead and ensure there are no stragglers. Have everyone arrive at least fifteen minutes prior to avoid last minute arrivals behind you and the guest of honor. Your friend will know what everyone drives, so rig the parking to be offsite and have everyone walk over to the venue. Then check in one last time with everyone get them in their places ready to go.
To ensure nothing is dropped before she walks in you will want everyone’s hands free except your pre-set photo girl, so have everyone set their gifts down at one designated spot before they get ready to hide. Avoid noisemakers as these can be startling and can detract from the surprise, as there is no way to guarantee everyone will set them off at the same time. Silly string is a great wallet-friendly alternative.
Hang on to Those Memories
You did it! You pulled off the near-impossible and surprised your best friend. You will want to hang on to those smiles. Remember those Polaroids everyone was taking? What better way to document than a birthday scrapbook. You can designate the first few pages as a guest book sign-in, and have everyone write their best memory they have of your friend. Our Bouqs are perfect for scrapbooking, so grab a few petals from those centerpieces and press them into the pages for some beautiful memories.
We wish you the best of luck in throwing a surprise birthday party! No matter what happens, remember to have fun! If you’re all stressed and frantic, it will show on your faces at the final reveal. So remember to breathe and stay focused on the one important thing: your best friend. It is her special day, after all!Shop All