Organising a surprise birthday party is a full-fledged event and requires much preparation beforehand. Managing the logistics and preparing a party while maintaining the wow factor requires considerable effort and consideration of many elements.
Whether it’s a surprise birthday party for your partner or a friend, here’s an overview of the steps you need to take to make your event a success:
1. Choose the date and time
The first step in organising a surprise birthday party is to set a date and time.
The availability of the honoree is, of course, the most important factor in choosing the right moment. Discreetly check their schedule and availability beforehand so that you can set a date with peace of mind. Also, ensure your friend or partner is busy and distracted in the hours leading up to the surprise so they don’t get suspicious!
2. Find the right venue
This is one of the most complicated tasks: choosing the right place without getting caught!
While the person’s home is often a good option, you can also book an entire bar or restaurant (or room) for your party, making them think you’re going there for dinner, just the two of you.
Think about the honoree’s favourite places to be consistent and discreet. Is their favourite restaurant open? Do you prefer indoors or outdoors? Do you have time to organise the surprise birthday party at your place or theirs? If you decide to rent a venue, you will obviously have less time to deal with the preparation of the birthday party itself (decoration, activities…).
Finally, ensure that your guests can arrive easily and discreetly and are there before the birthday boy or girl arrives to create a surprise effect.
3. Set a budget
To better plan the surprise birthday party, set a budget, especially if you want to book a restaurant or other venue. This will allow you to keep in mind what kind of venue you can afford, how much money you will have left for the gift, food and drink, etc.
4. Make a guest list
Selecting guests is no easy task when organising a surprise birthday party. Work colleagues? Close friends only? Family? You will also need to determine how many people will be invited: this will help you decide on the venue.
Once the list has been defined, the invitations should be sent discreetly! Create a group on a social network (ideally Whatsapp) without including the birthday person, and use this group to send all relevant information (date, time, possible location…). Don’t forget to ask for a quick response so you can organise yourself as well as possible.
5. Find a theme
For a more original party, choose a theme your friend or partner likes: sports, movies, colours, eras, etc. Plan the whole party around the chosen theme, from decorations to music and food. List possible costumes to wear and where to rent or buy them. You can even create a song, depending on the theme you choose.
6. Choose your gift
As the norm for birthdays is to give a gift, be creative when it comes to finding something worthy of a surprise birthday. Whether it is a gift per person or a group gift, establish in advance the budget and the type of gift you want to give.
Short of ideas? Here is a non-exhaustive list of perfect gifts for a surprise birthday:
- An original activity (parachute jumping, riding a vintage car, escape room with friends…).
- Money: Yes, giving money so the person can buy the gift they want is possible, but less personal.
- Furniture for their flat or house
- Cooking or oenology classes
- A trip for two
- Tickets for a specific event (concerts, football matches, other sporting events, fairs, etc.).
- A smartphone, PC, tablet or any other technological equipment
Be original and leave your mark with a gift they will love and remember! You can also create a scene at the moment of the gift-giving (preferably before the cake) by asking the restaurant to turn off the lights and play music specifically for this purpose.
7. Prepare the cake, food and drink.
A birthday without cake can’t be called a birthday!
Considering the guest of honour’s tastes, book a good cake at a local bakery. Plan the birthday meal as well. It can include a buffet or a catering service and alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks (cocktails, champagne, wine…).
Consider guests’ dietary restrictions and preferences, for example, by offering vegetarian or vegan options.
8. Create an online kitty
To be as discreet as possible, create an online kitty to cover all the expenses related to the surprise birthday party (venue, food…) and the gift. You can use online tools that are easy to share and use to make your work easier. Ideally, guests should be able to choose how much to put in the kitty, which can vary depending on their relationship with the birthday boy or girl.
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