I’m incredibly lucky to spend my days planning all kinds of events. I love working on a wide variety of celebrations, but there is something extra special about planning surprise parties and events with surprise elements. One of the greatest joys of my job is watching clients react to the magic we’ve created on their behalf. When that magic is a complete surprise, well, I think you can imagine how big the smiles are!
Planning a surprise party isn’t that different to planning any other party. You still need to choose a venue, create a guestlist and source suppliers. You’ll probably want good food, delicious drinks and some entertainment that gets people up and dancing. You’ll also want to make sure it feels personal and unique. However, the surprise element means there are a few extra tasks on your to-do list. Let’s run through them below…
It might sound obvious, but don’t forget to block out the date and time of your party and ensure your guest(s) of honour will be able to attend. It’s easy to overlook this crucial step when you’re determined to keep plans secret!
As well as ensuring their attendance, you’ll need to devise a solid decoy strategy. If necessary, how will you distract them while the party is being set-up? How will you get them to the venue without arousing their suspicions? What will you tell them you’ll be doing instead of attending their very own surprise party?!
A good decoy strategy tends to be simple and believable. For example, if you’re holding the event somewhere you could visit as a couple or in a small group, that’s all you need to tell them. If your cover story is too elaborate or farfetched, you risk slipping up. At the same time, don’t overlook the little details, especially if you’re trying to trick someone who’s naturally suspicious.
Again, it might seem obvious, but don’t forget to tell your guests they’re attending a surprise party. The best way to keep something secret is to ensure everyone knows it’s a secret!
When you’re letting guests in on the surprise, make sure they know how to RSVP and/or contact you without alerting suspicion. The same goes for any suppliers you’re working with. If there are steps people need to take to maintain the surprise (for example, using a different entrance or parking away from the venue), it’s vital you communicate these clearly. You might want to share your decoy strategy too. This will help people avoid saying the wrong thing or giving the game away in the run-up to the event.
If you know your guest(s) of honour would prefer to be dressed appropriately, make sure you factor this into your plans. Create a decoy strategy that allows them to get dressed up or bring everything they’ll need to the venue and give them time to change. Perhaps they’d want to discover the surprise before walking into a room full of people? You know them best, so plan the reveal you think they’d want.
I always encourage clients to book a photographer for their event, but especially when we’re planning a surprise party. Like I said, the smiles are definitely worth capturing! In the best possible way, surprises can also be a little bit overwhelming. When things go by in a blur, the ability to look back on events as they unfolded is even more special and important.
Need some professional help? At Benessamy, we’re passionate about planning joyful celebrations AND we’re excellent at keeping secrets! Discover our Party Planning Services or get in touch to arrange a consultation.
Photography by Daniel Hughes Photography
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