By Ashely Davidson, The Legends Golf Club
If you’re trying to surprise someone with a party, there’s nothing worse than blowing the big reveal. When the guest of honor arrives early, or someone jumps out to greet them at the wrong moment, the surprise is ruined. So it’s important to get the details right – especially the location and timing. Here are some tips for pulling off a surprise party.
Tailor it to your guest of honor
Start with the special person in mind. Where’s their favorite place? What’s the occasion? A surprise party doesn’t have to be based around a birthday or anniversary.
Surprise executive retirement parties are a great way to celebrate a lifetime of professional achievement, and they can take place during the workday when the retiree-to-be is least expecting it. Arrange the surprise by booking a local restaurant they love or their favorite golf course clubhouse.
Surprise engagement parties are a perennial favorite. They’re sort of like reverse-surprise parties, because the surprise is on the guests as the hosts announce the engagement. Venues that handle weddings can be the perfect spot to host these parties, because the setting is beautiful and the staff is used to hosting wedding-related events.
Mother’s Day and Father’s Day can also be occasions for a surprise party. Maybe your father is turning 50 around Father’s Day, or all the kids are grown and want to celebrate their parents.
Choose a co-conspirator
Lifestyle guru Rachael Ray says the best surprise parties start with careful people-preparation. She advises selecting a co-conspirator to help you pull off the details – a friend, coworker, or event planner who’s great at planning and organizing.
Don’t pick a gossip! You need someone who will carefully remind everyone to keep the secret, and share details only as necessary. Your co-conspirator will help with invitations, music, decorations, food, and all the little issues that come up. On the day of the event, you’ll split up with your co-conspirator to handle the guest of honor separately from the rest of the surprise crew.
Create a cover story
You’ll need a way to get your guest of honor to the party without blowing the secret. It’s time for a cover story. Martha Stewart, who successfully threw a surprise party for her own mom, suggests a cover story that isn’t too far-fetched. If the person likes going to Olive Garden, say you’re taking them to Olive Garden. If they like golfing, tell them you’re headed to the golf course.
Another way of handling this is to make the person believe they’re helping you surprise someone else. So if you need to get them to an unusual location – perhaps a big venue they’ve never been to before – build a story that you’re celebrating someone’s anniversary, birthday, or retirement.
Don’t Miss the Details
Throwing a surprise party is like hosting any party: Success is in the details. Remember to arrange plenty of parking, easy bathroom access, ample food and drinks, trash cans, seating, and help with setup and cleanup. Set the mood with music or even a custom video presentation.
And remember – surprise parties are meant to surprise, but some people will be very shocked. Expect your special guest to be curious, baffled, or even momentarily irritated by the situation until they realize you have created a magic moment in their honor.
Ready to plan a surprise party? Reach out to The Legends Golf Club, a beautiful venue with years of special events experience.
Ashely Davidson is the Member, Event and Wedding Coordinator at The Legends in Franklin, IN. If you are planning an event, please feel free to contact her or call 317.736.8186.