Tips for Successfully Throwing a Surprise Party

There are many different types of parties out there that you can organize for a friend, family member, or loved one. Among those, one of the most exciting is throwing a surprise party. It can be so much fun for the celebrant and the guest, and even for the person who planned the party. Pulling off a real surprise is among the best gifts to give. If you know the star of the party would like a surprise get-together on his or her special day, then a surprise party is the best option. 

It is fun to think about organizing and throwing a surprise party. However, it can also be challenging as you need to keep it a secret from the celebrant while working on the details of the party. If you are thinking of throwing a surprise party soon, but you don’t have much idea on how to do it, you’re in the right place. In this post, we are giving you some of the best tips for successfully throwing a surprise party.

1. Decide if a surprise party is a good choice or not.

woman being surprised by balloons and confetti

Before we go to the details of throwing a surprise party, one important decision to make is whether or not a surprise party is a good choice. Keep in mind that surprise parties are diverging. Those who love surprises really love them, while those who don’t really hate them. But there are ways to tell if a surprise party is a good choice.

First, you can ask someone who would know best. Maybe the partner or close friends and family members of the celebrant can tell if a surprise party would work. You can also think about how the celebrant reacted to surprises in the past. Of course, you also need to consider their personality. 

This might be weird, but you should actually consider throwing a surprise party for someone who says they don’t want one. It’s because, based on a survey, 43.5% of people who say they do not like surprise parties actually do want that very same party. Well, unless they have strong reasons as to why they would not enjoy it. 

2. Go detective on the celebrant.

If you are organizing a surprise festivity for somebody, we would assume that you know them well. But it is still important to discover what they would like without giving hints about the surprise. You can get them to talk about other parties they have attended. You can also look at magazines together or browse online and comment on celebrity events as they usually mention the food and decorations. This will make it easy to ask questions about their thoughts without being too obvious. 

3. Imagine yourself as the celebrant.

women in a party

One of the best ways to make sure that the party will go well is to close your eyes and picture yourself as the celebrant. Imagine what the first thing you would see, hear, and smell is. Think about who would let you in and when you would be served your first drink. Doing this will provide you some ideas about the things that you need for the party. This way, you can start making a list and have an idea of how things will flow as the party happens.

4. Create a surprise party team.

It is possible to organize and throw a surprise party all by yourself. However, if you have some family and friends who are willing to help, then that is better. You can create a team and provide roles for each of them. Here’s an example of some tasks that might come in handy for the surprise party:

  • Team Leader: Responsible for communicating with every team member. Also, the one who makes and oversees the workflow of the planning.
  • Designer: The one who chooses the decorations, theme, and motif of the party.
  • Sponsor: The one who funds or defines the budget for the party.
  • Runner: The one who runs errands and keeps track of the expenses.
  • Food and Beverage Manager: The one who cooks or coordinates all the food and drinks for the party.
  • Guest Manager: Responsible for creating a guest list, sending invitations, confirming RSVPs, and arranging transportation.
  • Celebrant point person: Responsible for creating or implementing the decoy strategy to get the celebrant to the venue without revealing the surprise. 

5. Choose a good theme for the party.

When choosing a surprise party theme, it is best to base it on the interests of the celebrant, such as his or her hobbies, sports, and fandoms. This also includes the type of surprise party you are throwing and the color scheme that you wish to use. In this part, you also need to choose the party’s level of formality. For a surprise, casual parties are perfect as it is easier to hide your preparation. But you can also pull off a formal surprise party with some creativity. 

6. Set a budget.

The budget for the surprise party depends on different factors, such as location, level of formality, guest count, and more. But you can trim the costs a bit by limiting your refreshments to bring your own bottle or BYOB, serving light snacks instead of meals, and using one main decoration focal point instead of decorating the whole area where the party will be held.

Compared to other regular parties, surprise parties do not have a lot of additional costs. Most of them need to maintain the important element of surprise. That is why simple locations are usually used, such as backyards and public parks. 

7. Set a date and time.

You can follow the traditional dates and time of day used for the surprise party you are going to throw. For instance, a wedding party takes place mostly in the afternoon. Therefore, a surprise wedding party should also have the same time. If you are picking a date for a surprise birthday party, you might want to go with an option that occurs before their actual birthday to ensure that they will really be surprised. 

8. Choose a location for the party.

The best place for a surprise party is somewhere the celebrant will not accidentally go to while you are setting up. It can also be near a location they frequent, like a restaurant or friend’s house. This way, you don’t have to tip them off by breaking their routine. Also, pick a place where it is easy to sneak people into with different parking options, entrances, and exits. 

9. Plan the activities.

It is also important to plan some activities for the surprise party to make it more fun. This can include games, special performances, and more. Make sure that the activities are also aligned with the interests of the celebrant. 

10. Send invitations.

For a surprise party, digital invitations are perfect as they are discreet and easy to hide. You can send the invites a month or two weeks before the event and collect RSVPs a week before the special day. You need to make sure that you inform the guests that it is a surprise party. You can also include in the invitation some instructions on where to park and how to enter the venue. 

11. Prepare foods and drinks.

If you choose to have the party catered, all you need to do is share the floor plan of the venue with the caterer. If you choose to bring your own drinks, you can buy shelf or fridge stable items around 5 days in advance. For baked goods, you can order them on the day before or the morning of the event. 

12. Create a decoy plan.

To be able to surprise the celebrant on the day of the party, you need to have a decoy plan. This is what the celebrant would think they are on their way to. It should require them to dress in a way that will be appropriate for the surprise party. The point person needs to be with the celebrant to arrange transportation and time everything out. 

13. Create an outline for the reveal.

To plan the big reveal, you need to choose whether everyone will wait while standing in the dark then open the lights on, or the attendees will pop up or out from behind furniture. Also, getting a professional photographer to capture the moment is also a great idea. You can also add some party props such as streamer headbands and glow-in-the-dark accessories. 


Throwing a surprise party is indeed a very enjoyable moment, not just for the celebrant but as well as for everyone involved in organizing it. It is one of the best parties out there because you know that your loved ones spent some time and effort preparing the party to make you happy on your special day. We hope this post helped you learn more about how to successfully throw a surprise party.