June 29, 2012

Throwing A Surprise Party? I’ve got some tips…



For almost 4 years now, my husband has made it clear to me and everyone else that no one could ever pull a surprise party off for him. He’d say how he would know all the signs and if we were ever going anywhere beginning 2 weeks before his birthday, he’d know it would be a surprise. What a pain in the ass.

Back in November, I got a brilliant idea to throw him a surprise 30th party. That gave me a good 4 months to pull it together. I didn’t know what I was in store for. All the stress. Anxiety. Lies. Sneakiness. It was like I was leading a double life, and it was fucking annoying!

I honestly thought it wouldn’t be as stressful as it was to throw this party. Especially since my husband is at work all day and I could get everything done in those 8 hours he is not home. I conveniently forgot to factor in the 10 month old who’s beck and call I’m at. So for anyone out there that is planning on throwing a party, whether it be a surprise or not, I’ve got some helpful tips that might save your sanity and your wallet.

  1. BE ORGANIZED! I can not stress this enough. The more organized you are, the smoother things will run. I used a party planning program on my Mac that helped me calculate costs, organized the guest list with addresses, and even had a calendar so I would know when to complete things. It was awesome and totally came in handy. BUT I was paranoid that he would open the program on my account of the computer and see everything. So if you do use that kind of program, just label it something boring. If you don’t have a MAC or Excel, a good old legal pad and pen work just fine too! I had about a thousand lists written out along with my nifty spreadsheet.
  2. Zip Your Lips! As exciting as a surprise party is and fun telling everyone you know what you have planned, don’t! Keep the excitement going for your guests. Plus, the more people who know details the higher the risk of a slip up happening and the chances of the Surprisee finding out increase as well. It’s ok to have a confidant but keep it to the minimum!
  3. DIY Decorations. Thank god for blogs and Pinterest. I found so many DIY decoration inspirations that came out fantastic. My party was “Casino Night” and transformed the house into a casino. I know I wanted a dessert table so I hit up the Dollar Store for ribbon, decks of cards, fake money and tissue paper to spice it up a bit. I felt like McGyver making shit out of random things. I created a cute card garland out of cards, doilies out of the fake money, and tissue puffs that hung through out the house for splashes of color. No party is complete without some balloons, so I of course scattered bunches through out the house as well. It cost me less than $30 to decorate.
  4. Food & Alcohol-Have plenty of both! We have a wild bunch of family and friends, so the food and alcohol is always abundant. I stocked the bar with tons of libations, including my Jolly Rancher Infused Vodka. I thought about cooking for about a second, then reality kicked in. I would have zero time to make enough food for all these people, so the next best thing, hire a caterer. This is where majority of my budget went. If you have the time and man power to make food, do it! If you are like me, this was just easier. They cooked and cleaned up which was a major help at the end of the night! I picked a menu that was all for the birthday boy, from pigs in a blanket to mini sliders. Foods that can be eaten in a few bites are key!
  5. Entertainment. Since this was a Casino Night, I wanted to get some table games for everyone to enjoy. I found a fantastic casino company locally, A Casino Event. They were so accommodating and friendly-and really know how to help keep the fun going! I rented a roulette table, a black jack table and 2 slot machines for a party of 50. Everyone was gambling, having a great time. The dealers were awesome and helpful to anyone who didn’t know how to play the games. So depending on the theme, go outside the box and do something crazy! At the end of the night, everyone cashes in their chips for raffle tickets and I had a bunch of prizes for the big winners – Gift Cards and bottles of alcohol. Music is also a big part of a good party. If you have the budget-spring for a DJ! If not, make a great play list on your iPod or just stream a great station on Pandora. Entertainment + Food + Drinks = a great effing time!
  6. Designated Photographer. You are going to want great pictures to remember this party. As the host, you will not have a free second the day of and during the party to take pictures. I was running around like a chicken with out a head. Lucky enough I had plenty of people to choose from to take pictures of the before, surprise and all the fun after. Thank you pregnant sister. :) Make sure you get a shot of everyone who attended, the surprisee will feel like a whirlwind and want to know all the fun details you have been hiding the following day!

Successful surprise parties are no joke. You will feel beat up, chicken-with-no-head, frazzled mess, but it’s so worth it just to see the look on the Surprisee’s face! But after this one, I am not doing another surprise party for a lonnnnng time!

nothin’ like some gambling, dessert and prizes!




Good times.

Do you have any tips you’d like to add?

– Amanda


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