There’s a big day on the horizon. Everybody assumes that a big surprise family party is the ideal way to celebrate it—and everybody assumes that you are the ideal person to organize it. Don’t panic; with a bit of careful planning and some canny choices, you can make it an occasion to remember.
Surprise or Shock?
Before you organize a surprise, are you sure that the guest of honor would actually welcome it? Most people love them, but there are some for whom the very idea is one of their worst nightmares. Some couples have a pact, sealed in blood, that they will never be involved in a surprise party for each other, so always consult the other half and close friends.
Choose the Venue :
Assuming the surprise is a good idea, decide on the best place to go. It should be either somewhere the guest of honor loves going to, or somewhere they have always wanted to go to.
If it is a familiar venue, it is probably somewhere close to hand, but a bucket list venue may take more organizing. Suppose your guest has always talked about going to Baltimore, and you decide on the Marriott Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace hotel as a good base for visiting the city and a convenient place for you all to stay. In this case, you might need to leave a lot to the hotel to arrange for you. They have plenty of experience in that kind of thing. Just get there the day before the party for the finishing touches.
Choose the Surprise
There are plenty of different ways to surprise your guest of honor.
- Take him to a restaurant for a quiet meal for two. The restaurant, which you have booked in entirety, is empty but gradually fills up with the rest of the family until the penny drops.
- The guest of honor (on the way to somewhere else) is “kidnapped” by a bus containing the rest of the family and taken to the destination.
- A low key celebration takes place earlier in the week so that the birthday girl thinks it is all over, and then she arrives home from a routine event to the surprise.
Choose the Subterfuge :
The heart of a surprise party is to keep it a surprise! If it is a family event, you may not be bothering with invitations, but making the arrangements by text, email, and phone. It is easy to slip up and copy the wrong people in, so set up a group on WhatsApp, for instance, and restrict all communication to that one channel.
Have a well-briefed accomplice, usually the partner of the guest of honor, to provide the necessary diversions and to act as the minder. Get everyone else to the venue early, remembering that most people get to parties late.
Relax and Enjoy :
Family get-togethers are always fun, but the added pizzazz of a surprise party can really make an event memorable. Plan sensitively and thoroughly, and your guest of honor will have precious memories to savor.