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Planning a surprise birthday party is fun and exciting. There's a bit of planning needed to create the most memorable surprise birthday party ever. Much of the planning depends on the number of guests invited, the size of the venue and the birthday "celebrity."

The most important thing to do first is make certain the honored guest is open to surprises. There are many individuals who can ruin the best surprise party plans because the host forgot that the guest of honor loathes them. With this issue out of the way, it's time to plan how to organize the event.

Choose the Date, Time and Venue

It's always easier to organize a small, casual surprise party for a handful of close friends or family members. This type of event can be organized about three weeks ahead, including catering, ordering a birthday cake and choosing decorations.

How to Organize a Surprise Birthday Party

Adult Surprise Birthday Party Organization

Organizing a Surprise Birthday Party for an Adult

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For a larger surprise birthday party, the organizing begins at least two months in advance with creating a guest list, securing a party venue and choosing the birthday party theme.

Invitations can be sent out about three weeks in advance of the date of the surprise party. Be sure to emphasize the time of arrival of guests on invitations so that it's understood they'll arrive before the honored guest.

Also, this is a good time to decide whether guests should bring gifts. If no gifts are necessary, note this on the invitation.
It takes time to plan how to organize a surprise birthday party that is successful
If the party is to be held in a formal venue, this needs to be secured at least a few months in advance, depending on the schedule of the venue chosen.

When sending invitations to guests from out of state or country, make arrangements for their accommodations and keep track of their travel schedules.

Create the "To Do" List

A list of items that need to be organized before the day of the surprise party will include choosing a menu that suits the tastes of all guests and also the type of catering service, for example, buffet, family-style or formal. The menu items differ for each of these catering styles. Be sure to include a choice of beef, poultry, fish and vegetarian in the event there may be some dietary restrictions. Order the birthday cake two to three weeks ahead. Part of the "To Do" list should also include decorations. Decorations can also include the popular photo booths for guests to enjoy. If the surprise birthday party is to be a formal affair, the venue may supply decorations according to the theme selected for the party.

Organizing Entertainment

No surprise party is complete without some form of entertainment. If a band, DJ or vocalist is the choice for entertainment, this may need to be arranged up to several months ahead. Organize the entertainment so that it occurs in intervals throughout the day or evening. In addition to music, a comedian, magician or dancers can be an added attraction. Choose the type of entertainment the honored guest favors most and the invited guests will enjoy.

The Day of the Event

On the day of the event, a party organizer should confirm all the arrangements previously requested. Flowers, catering and the birthday cake can all be arranged for delivery. Contact each of these to ensure that delivery times meet with the original plans. Early in the day, check the venue to make sure the decorations meet with the theme of the party. One important part of organizing a surprise party is to make sure the entertainment will arrive at the appointed hour.

The Surprise Party Begins

With guests arriving, musicians ready to strike up the band and the vocalist ready to sing the "Happy Birthday" song, all that remains is the appearance of the honored guest. Don't forget to include a "good luck" champagne toast.

While the honored guest is enjoying their red carpet treatment, the host should check with the caterer on last minute details.

Be creative with birthday gifts. If the honored guest plans to open gifts at the party, make this a fanciful part of the evening by having guests place gifts on a special table near the guest's seating. If gifts will be opened at a later time, make proper arrangements for them to be transported from the venue to the home of the honored guest.

A well-organized surprise party is capped by having a professional photographer or videographer capture the special day. It will be a permanent reminder of the time and effort the party host put into the special day. Ask the photographer or videographer to create a special "memory lane" album for the event. This makes a great gift from the host to the birthday celebrant. The more organized you can make a surprise party for an adult, the more memorable and successful it will be.
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This page was last updated: June 25, 2016
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