10 Steps to a Surprise Party

Monday, March 18, 2013

Yesterday, I successfully pulled off my very first surprise party! You may recall that my fabulous husband threw one for me last year, so I felt it was necessary to return the favor. (Plus, 25 is kind of a big year!)

Not that I am a pro at this or anything, but here's my quick rundown on how I successfully pulled it off.

1. Create an "Invite Only" Facebook event. Include all of the information people need: who, what, when, where, why, how - cover all your bases.Turns out they don't have a "Private" option anymore (which is kind of nerve wrecking), but "Invite Only" is the same thing. And yes, I did some intense research to make sure that is the case.

2. Hey, Elizabeth - not everyone is a Facebook freak. Turns  out not everyone checks Facebook every 37 seconds like I do. Make sure to send out a Save the Date text/phone call, too. Also, Adam is a baseball coach and I conveniently don't have all of the other coaches' numbers. I was able to track two wives down on Facebook and chatted with another at one of the games, but this was tricky. I guess you can search through their phone for numbers, but I didn't get around to that.

3. Figure out how to get the surprisee out of the house for hours, without being totally conspicuous.  This was a toughy, and I was kind of starting to freak out until our friend Doug offered to invite him to golf that morning - hallelujah! If you're throwing this party for a guy - golf is the way to go. He was out of the house for close to 6 hours which gave me time to get everything done (but boy did I cut it close...).

4. Plan out your day (see #3 and #4). Adam left to go golfing around 8am and was due back at 2pm. PLENTY of time, or at least that's what I thought in my head. Be sure to plan out what you have to accomplish before the party starts and what you'd like to accomplish. Remember, utilize those awesome friends of yours (if possible) for anything last minute.
Must dos: 
Decorate (tossed this over to a few friends that arrived early)
Run last minute errands (they will pop up, so schedule time for them)
Pick up the keg
Shower (oh, yeah... that)

Like to dos (that didn't happen):
Curl my hair
Paint my nails
Meticulously hang every decoration

5. Keep a running list of things you'll need on your phone (I kept mine in the notes section). It's funny what different things will sneak up one you. Some of those items include: trash bags, disposable table cloths/plates/forks/cups/napkins (unless you're into doing a lot of dishes), something to hold the keg in (that was a fun 11th hour trip to Wal Mart), ICE, candles, non-alcoholic drinks, etc.

6. When people offer to help - take it! Let's practice...
Generous guest: "What can I bring?"
Overwhelmed host's wrong answer: "Oh, nothing! I've got it!"
Overwhelmed host's meh answer: "I don't know... chips?"
Overwhelmed host's correct answer: "That's so nice of you to offer! Would you mind bringing insert need here?" (including, but not limited to: chairs, card tables, sides, desserts, etc.)

7. People will get hungry - make sure you feed them. Do something easy... I chose burgers and hot dogs, and thanks to all of our awesome friends - the sides and desserts were covered! Don't forget what goes with hamburgers and hot dogs, though: buns, condiments, pickles, tomatoes, onions, etc.

8. BYOB is not tacky. I had a keg and one of our fabulous friends made a vodka punch and another set up an Irish Car Bomb station. I let the masses know, and if they wanted anything else they had to BYOB. Nothing cheap about that, my friends.

9. Wholesale is your friend, but not for everything. Definitely source your hamburgers, hot dogs, condiments and buns from Costco/Sam's/your wholesaler of choice, but it's not necessary to buy a pack of 37 tomatoes for hamburgers. (Unless you're having a party with hundreds of people - then it might be necessary.)

10. Don't forget your manners. You may feel like everyone owes you the world for pulling off such a kick ass party, but try to remember that everyone played a part in making the day so successful. Thank everyone for coming and make sure they know where the bathrooms are.

That's all I can think of right now, but I'm sure I did some other brilliant things that I can't think of right now. Pshhhh, yeah right! Huge thank you to our incredible friends and family who helped pull off Adam's most amazing birthday party, ever! He was SO surprised!

Here's a video clip of him walking in (kudos to mom for taking it!).

And now, for some pictures to commemorate the amazing day. We love you, Adam!


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