10 Mistakes to Avoid When You Throw a Surprise Party: Part 1

by Rebecca Aftergood, CEO Surprise Me! Events


If you’ve ever thrown a surprise party for someone, you know how difficult it can be to keep the secret. It is especially hard to do when you live with the surprisee…any slip up can lead to disaster. Don’t by daunted! In my next two blog posts I will give you 10 key pieces of advice to ensure your surprise is as unexpected as it should be!


10. Using social networking to invite guests

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to invite your guests using a social networking platform, such as Facebook. Don’t forget that the surprisee is likely your “friend” on Facebook. It is too easy to accidentally add him or her to your “private” event, or say something to friends about the party that is publically visible. You might even leave your Facebook open at home, the messages and notifications easily visible on your computer screen. To be safe, use an online invitation service such as Evite to directly email invites to your would-be guests.


  1. Hinting

The fastest way to ruin your surprise is to give too many hints, winks, knowing nods, or any other unusual form of body language. I know it’s tempting to tell your loved one that their “birthday is going to be awesome!” or “you’ll see”. But any hint, no matter how vague, will get them thinking. And that’s the last thing you want.


  1. Planning the “day-of” fiction too far in advance

Unless your “day-of” fiction (the thing that gets the surprisee out of the house) is really complicated, don’t plan it with them too far in advance. If you are involving a friend there is no need for them to plan a post-work drink a month in advance. Likewise there is no need to plan a trip to the grocery store 2 weeks in advance. It is tempting to have all of your ducks in a row, but if you plan mundane activities with the surprisee weeks before the date they will realize something is off.


  1. Texting and calling at home

Curiosity will kill your surprise quickly. If you start making or receiving more phone calls or texts at home, your surprisee will wonder who you’re communicating with. You also run the risk of leaving your phone on the table and your loved one answering it. Try to communicate about party business only at work, or at least when the surprisee is not around.


  1. Emails entitled “surprise party” or “birthday”

Email subjects can give you away just as easily as phone calls. If you are like me, you leave your email open on your computer at home. If your partner also uses your computer there is a serious risk that they could innocently see your emails. Try to communicate with a subject that is work-related or unremarkable.


Well I think that is long enough for one blog post! Check back on Wednesday, August 6 for part 2 of the 10 mistakes to avoid when you throw a surprise party!


Do you have any other suggestions? Have you had a surprise go terribly wrong, or amazingly well? Please share your ideas and stories below! And as always, connect with me on social media with FacebookTwitter, Linked In, Google+ and Pinterest!

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