10 Tips for Hosting a Surprise! Party

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Planning a surprise party can be so much fun! There is something extra enjoyable about conspiring secretly with friends to celebrate someone special.

But even to the seasoned party planner, a surprise party can pose some challenges when it comes to the planning and logistics of actually pulling off the secrecy of it all!

But here at The Digi Dame Party Shoppe, we've got you covered. Here we share some top tips for planning and hosting the ultimate surprise party.

1. To Be Sure, To Be Sure

First things first - before you send out your secret squirrel invitations and book your covert caterer, be absolutely sure that your proposed guest of honour will be happy to receive a surprise party.

It may also be a good idea to prepare them for a similar outing, to ensure that they are appropriately dressed and ready to party in some way.

2. Early Bird Gets the Surprised Worm

Planning your party and choosing a date well ahead of time increases the chances of everyone being available. You'll need to ensure that you firstly choose a date that is free for your guest of honour!

You can easily reserve the guest of honour, by creating false plans for "dinner" or "drinks" that can successfully hide your real agenda.

Also, to increase your chances of keeping it all secret, choose a party date before the actual occasion i.e. before their birthday. Holding the party on the actual day can be too suspicious and the recipient may be expecting something! 

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3. Pick the Place

To avoid arousing suspicion, choose a party location that your guest of honour visits often. Opt for a venue that seems "normal," whether it's someone's house, a restaurant, local club etc.
Some venue ideas include:
  • your home
  • their favourite restaurant
  • their favourite pub or club
  • a friend's or family member's house

5. Lock the List

When preparing your party guest list for a surprise party, remember - do you want an intimate gathering of a few friends, or a massive event?

A smaller group is much easier to manage. But try to include everyone that you think your guest of honour will want there.

A large group is difficult to manage and coordinate, and the chances of the secret slipping out of the bag is increased. But it will have much more impact.

Make sure your invitations provide a clear keep-your-mouth-shut warning (e.g. “Mackenzie’s Surprise Party ... SHHH!”). Beware using social media - it might be best to go "old school" on this one!

Consider telling people individually, either by phone or via a personalised email (not a group email!). This way you can avoid a large group thing that everyone keeps blabbing about, ruining everything.

Play it safe and ask guests to arrive 45-60 mins before the guest of honour will be arriving. That way they’ll actually turn up in time to yell "surprise" and won't spoil the secret by turning up at the same time as the recipient.

Serve pre-party drinks and small eats to keep guests entertained until your special guest arrives.

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6. Store the Supplies

If you're hosting your party at someone's home, you'll need some supplies. Remember party decorations, food, drinks, a cake and party favors. You'll need to store it all somewhere that your guest of honour won't find it!

7. Confirm the Crowd

Connect with your guests the day before the party. If guests will be driving to the party, suggest that they park a little down the road so the guest of honour will not see their cars.

8. Do It on the Day

You can keep things easier on yourself by setting up for the party on the day. This reduces the chances of the party recipient popping in and discovering everything!
If any guests are bringing supplies, ask them to arrive a little earlier if possible, so you're not rushed.

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9. The Art of Ambush

If possible, give guests their confetti and noisemakers as they arrive. Designate a photographer to be ready at the right moment for that priceless shot!

Designate one person to enter with the guest of honour and another person with all the party guests.This makes secret correspondence in the lead up to the surprise much smoother.

Ensure that your designated helpers keep you posted on how things are going and how far away they are. This way when you get a text that says, "5 minutes!" you'll be fully prepared.

10. Reveal Run-Down

Make sure all the party guests know exactly what the big plan is. How will you run the big reveal?

You can go traditional with an old-fashioned lights-off-hide-behind-couch-surprise. You could all just stand in a group and pop streamers when your party recipient walks in. Or, you can just let the guest of honour walk in to an-already-raging party in their honour, and let them quietly mingle, as a gentler approach.

Whatever you choose to do, all of your guests need to be on the same page.
Take care of the little last-minute details. Ensure that your guest of honour can get inside - no locked doors! Make sure all guests are in the room and ready to go (clear the bathrooms!)

And best wishes for creating the best surprise ever for your party guest of honour! We hope these tips have helped you to plan your ultimate surprise party!

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Happy (Surprise) Partying!

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