If you’ve ever been the ‘victim’ of a surprise party, you’ll know how much the shocking thrill of it adds to the event. To throw one takes some serious creative trickery though, so you’ll need to put your super-secret spy hat on. But despite the extra organisation required, it’ll all be worth it when you see the look on your guest of honour’s face!

Choosing the date

Choosing a date for a party is usually easy, but not when it’s going to be a surprise. It’s crucial to find out if all guests are available before deciding on a date, rather than sending out invites and hoping for the best. After all, a surprise party isn’t so much fun if only one or two people are there to yell, “Surprise!”

Have two or three dates in mind, so you can run them by guests and find out which suits most people. The key is to call invitees, rather than email, to avoid possible confusion about the all-important secrecy factor. 

Deciding on a venue

To ensure secrecy right up until the last moment, choose a venue based on how easy it’ll be to take your guest to, under pretence. Private function rooms near popular restaurants or theatres work well, as you can arrange a seemingly normal night out for the celebration, and take them to the venue instead.

House parties are also perfect, especially if it’s a home the recipient visits on a regular basis, as you can always make up a story to get them there. Be wary of organising a party at home for someone you live with though. No matter how strict their routine is, you never know when things may change and they could walk in to see you knee deep in chaotic preparation!

Event catering in Sydney

You’ll have a lot to think about just to maintain the surprise factor, so keep the catering simple. Preferably, hire professionals to do it for you. A hot dog stand complete with delicious relishes is easy, mess-free and absolutely guaranteed to be a hit with guests of every age.

If you’re on a budget, ask each guest to contribute a bottle of alcohol and you’ll have enough to create a bar with a variety of options, for a fraction of the cost. Consider making a giant, non-alcoholic punch for non-drinkers. Organise a fancy cake, so the surprises keep coming throughout the night.

Getting your guest of honour to the party

Now for the tricky part – getting the lucky guests of honour to the event. Think about the logistics well in advance, and whether you will meet them somewhere that fits with the cover story, pick them up yourself, or arrange a trusted friend to bring them. Decide on a cover story that will give them a few days’ notice of the event, whether it’s pretending to take them to a movie or restaurant, or making up an excuse to get them to your house. And be ready with a plan B if they call to cancel for any reason!

It also pays to call all guests on the day to confirm the time of the actual surprise, which should be at least an hour before the VIP is scheduled to come. This allows for people stuck in traffic or small incidents that might delay arrivals and spoil the big moment.

With everything in place, all you need to do then is take a deep breath and get ready for the big, “Surprise!”