10 Details To Cover When Planning A Surprise Party

When planning a Surprise Party, your highest priority is to make sure that your Guest of Honor doesn’t find out about the party until they arrive. 

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating your invitations and planning your party. They’ll help you make sure that your guests don’t spill the beans before the big moment.


1. This is no time to be subtle with your guests.  We always advise customers who are throwing a Surprise Party to put the word “SURPRISE” in bold and in caps on their invitations, and to make the type for this word larger than the rest of the text.  Some of your guests may take a cursory glance at the invitation when they first receive it, and if the word “SURPRISE” doesn’t jump out at them and they’re not reading carefully, they may not realize that they’re being trusted to keep a secret.

2.  If the Guest of Honor lives with you, make absolutely sure that there is no chance that a stray invitation will be found laying around your house or at a good friend’s house.  If you are throwing a Surprise Party for a teacher, do not bring the Invitations anywhere near the school building. If the party is for a co-worker, distribute the Invitations somewhere away from the office.

3.  If the Guest of Honor lives with you, and you’ve ordered party items online, such as invitations, favors, etc., have all shipments delivered to a neighbor or a friend.  You don’t want to give the Guest of Honor any reason to be curious about the contents of a package that you just received. It’s much easier to avoid questions than to have to create alibis to cover up your plans.

4.  If the Guest of Honor lives with you, and if you are using Response Cards with your Invitations, have all envelopes addressed to a friend or neighbor.  If you’re concerned that your invited guests won’t recognize this return address and therefore may not open the invitation, you can still include your name or the name of the Guest of Honor.  For instance:

John Smith’s SURPRISE Birthday Party
c/o Mary Jones
111 First Street
Brooklyn, NY  11209

5.  Make sure that your Guest of Honor will be available on the date and time of the party. Get your alibi straight right from the beginning.  Tell them that they’ll be attending a party for someone else, or that they’ll be going out for a night at the theater, or to the game. Figure out what will appeal to the Guest of Honor.

6.  If your guests are going to be driving to the site of the party, ask them to please park their cars off-site. After you’ve concealed the secret of the party for months, the last thing you want is to have the secret given away moments before the Guest of Honor makes their grand entrance, when they recognize several friends’ cars in the parking lot.

7.  Make sure to tell your guests to arrive half an hour before the Guest of Honor.
Spell it out in the Invitation.  Party begins at 7:00 p.m. SHARP.  Guest of Honor arrives at 7:30 p.m.

8. Enlist your guests to cooperate in keeping the secret.
Spell it out in the Invitation. Loose lips sink ships. 

9. It’s always a nice touch to ask your guests to prepare a toast or a few remarks to pay tribute to the Guest of Honor. If you ask for this in the body of the Invitation, that leaves your guests plenty of time to prepare a few words. Some of them may freeze up if asked on the spot, but with a few weeks’ prep time they might find the perfect thing to say.

10. You can see a selection of Surprise Party Invitations on our website.  We also have some suggestions for wording for your Surprise Party Invitation. If you don’t see what you want or if you have any questions, feel free to contact Debbie toll-free at 888.286.0365 or info [at] ipvstudio.com. She’ll be glad to assist you.

Photo Credit: End of Party courtesy of Juliana Coutinho via Creative Commons

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