How to Throw a Surprise Party: A Helpful Guide

Whether it’s for a best friend who constantly refuses parties, a relative who just accomplished something big, or otherwise, a surprise party can go a long way in showing that person love and appreciation. 

That said, planning and preparation for a surprise party aren’t always straightforward or simple. If you’re looking to throw one of your own, you might need a little assistance. 

That’s where this guide comes in. Below, we’re going to tell you exactly how to throw a surprise party, helping you put on the best celebration possible. Let’s go! 

Find a Venue

First and foremost, you need to find a venue. Until that’s settled, there’s no reason to play any further. After all, no venue equals no place to have the party. 

Now, what’s a good venue for a surprise birthday party? Frankly, everything’s on the table. 

You could have the party at the honoree’s house. You could have it at a friend of the honoree’s house. You could even have it in a public space, such as at a bar or restaurant. 

As long as you can coax the honoree to go there without revealing the secret, it’s a solid option. Note, if you’re going to go with a public venue, you should call the venue up first to make sure they’re okay with you holding a surprise party. Not all venues will have the same feeling about this. 

Invite People Whom the Honoree Likes

Remember: this is a party for the honoree. As such, it should feature guests whom the honoree likes and enjoys being around. This doesn’t mean that everyone needs to be a friend or acquaintance of the honoree, but most of the guests should be. 

To invite guests to the party, there are a number of options. You can send hard copy invitations. However, it might be easier to just use something like Facebook. 

Facebook enables you to create private groups and will allow you to converse with every guest up until the day the party is scheduled for. You can use it to relay information in real-time and will therefore stand a much better chance of keeping the secret . . .  a secret. 

Regardless of what you use to invite guests, you need to be very explicit about this being a surprise party. At the top of the invitation, be sure to write “SURPRISE” in all caps. If even one person misses the idea that this is a surprise party, they could end up telling the honoree, thereby torpedoing the entire get-together. 

Make the Ruse Believable

In order to get someone to show up to their surprise party, you have to lure them in with a ruse of some kind. After all, you can’t just tell them to show up at 6 o’clock for their party. You have to guide them there through other means. 

This is where the next of our surprise party planning tips comes in: you have to make the ruse believable. It can’t be too over the top. At the same time, however, it has to be interesting enough to pique the honoree’s interest. 

A fairly safe bet is to ask the honoree if they want to go to, say, a bar with your typical friend group. If the event is at someone’s house, you might tell the honoree that you’re having a board game night or a sporting event watch party. 

In the end, the goal is to make it realistic. So, brainstorm with the honoree’s family and friends and pick a ruse that you know will draw them to the party. 

Plan Food and Drink Arrangements

What’s a party without food and beverages? Not much of a party at all. As such, you need to make sure that there will be food and drinks available at the party venue. 

There are a number of ways to go about doing this. One option is to ask everyone on the guest list to bring a dish or snack of some kind. Another option is to hire a caterer. 

If you have the party at a bar or a restaurant, you’ll have plenty of food and beverages available to you. If you have it at, say, a banquet hall, it will probably provide some sort of food service. 

You also need to consider whether there will be alcohol at the party. Consider the honoree’s drinking habits and make a final decision. 

Decorate the Venue

Now, you don’t necessarily need to make this party anything fancy. If the party honoree is a simple and straightforward type of person, they might actually prefer something with few frills. However, you should, at the very least, consider implementing a party theme and decorating the venue. 

There are all sorts of ways to decorate a surprise party. You could give it, say, a beach theme and display fake palm trees and the like. You could use traditional birthday party decor like confetti and hanging signs. You could even go with an Avante Garde look if the party honoree is into that sort of thing. 

There is an endless array of birthday party ideas out there, so brainstorm with the honoree’s family and friends and come up with something that fits their preferences and personality. With any luck, it will be a party to remember. 

Now That You Know How to Throw a Surprise Party . . . 

Now that you know how to throw a surprise party, you might be searching for a venue. If you’re in Chicago, San Francisco, or Oakland, you should try Emporium Arcade Bar. 

Our arcade bars offer great drinks, lively atmospheres, and tons of fun and are commonly used for booking parties for surprise purposes. Regardless of the cause for celebration, they have you covered. 

Interested in booking a party? Contact us now! 

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