To Surprise or Not To Surprise? Pro and Con of Throwing a Surprise Party

Pro Surprise Party

One word: Surprise parties are fun. While everyone has a different definition of what is “fun”, surprise parties can be so much fun for the guest of honor, the attendees, and if done right, even for the person planning the party! My lifelong dream is to have a surprise party thrown for me or to throw a true surprise party for someone I know, so maybe I’m biased, but life could use a few more pleasant surprises.

This all relies on the assumption that you know your guest of honor. Whether that be your spouse or your mother-in-law or your best friend, if you know that they have a major aversion to being surprised, perhaps a different type of party might be more suitable. But for the rest of us, there’s something so deliciously sneaky about surprising someone for their birthday, especially if they think they are the type of person who can never be surprised. So many factors to consider: what’s the lie or alibi you create that covers up the true event? How can you pick a menu or specialty cocktail based on things you already know about the person? What’s the best way to communicate the party details to your guests so the honoree doesn’t find out? (This gets increasingly difficult if they are someone that has access to your emails or Facebook account!)

Even if you can’t pull off a full surprise party, maybe think about adding a surprise element to a party such as a relative from far away who ended up being “able to make the party last minute” or a secret performance by the honoree’s favorite local band. I’ve done a few surprise birthday parties at the Greyline venue and nothing is more exciting and satisfying to hear that when the guest of honor comes up to me and says “I can’t believe they all kept it a surprise! I had no idea it was coming!”.

Life has given all of us some unexpected and unpleasant surprises, so it’s time to plan a fun one!

CON Surprise Party

I would like to start by saying I am not a giant wet blanket who doesn’t like to have fun. I love to have fun but I really want to know I am going to have fun so I can properly prepare (maybe get my hair done or pick out a special outfit). I think there are lots of people out there that would embrace a surprise party and really enjoy having one thrown for them. I also think there are people, like me, who would not appreciate it as much as a party they knew about. I have been an event planner for many years and have seen them go either way.

The first pitfall the party planner might face is not having the right ruse. If the guest of honor isn’t compelled to be on time, dress up, not cancel at the last minute because they don’t feel like it or any number of other reasons, it can put you in a position where you have to let the cat out of the bag at the eleventh hour just to get them to show up.

The other thing not everyone considers is that the guest of honor really misses the first hour of the party because all the guests are gathering for the surprise! The cocktail hour is my favorite part of a party and I would not want to miss that.

I do agree with the writer of the PRO side about having a surprise element to a party – that is way more agreeable to me. Then, I could still have a say in the venue chosen, the menu and all the other event planning details I love to be a part of. I’m also not trying to dissuade anyone from throwing someone they care about a surprise party – just think through the details and make sure they are going to embrace it (and you at the end of it)!

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