If you were to research “Surprise Parties,” you would find that virtually every article addresses how to throw one, but not whether or not you should. The advice given carefully lays out tips and suggestions on time frames, communication, parking, alibis, and even back-up plans, yet every article ignores the most important question: does the recipient want or even like surprise parties? Given my ten years of practical party planning, I strongly recommend considering this. A surprise party likely has four possible scenarios that will play out:
- The first: “Surprise!” – you pulled it off – he/she is genuinely astonished and happy about it.
- The second: “Surprise!” – you pulled it off, but the recipient is not happy.
- The third: “Surprise!” – no surprise – he/she was on to you and despite appreciating your time and effort, you’re frustrated and disappointed.
- And finally the fourth: “No Surprise!” – he/she knew in advance, isn’t happy and neither are you.
So what you’re left with is a 50/50 chance that all your hard work will be worth it in end. The fourth scenario is what played out when I tried to throw my husband a surprise 35th birthday party. We spent the better half of twenty minutes in the car arguing before putting him up to making a halfhearted appearance. Needless to say, it was the last time I did that. Reflecting back weeks later, I realized that the failed surprise party was my fault, not his. I like surprises; I love the attention and flattery that comes with it. That’s not him.
So the point is, before diving headfirst into planning this type of venue, find out whether or not this person likes surprises of any type, if he or she likes being the center of attention and if the guest of honor handles spontaneity well. If you’re uncertain, the odds are you may want to probe a little further or consider another type of party.
On a personal note, I still love surprising my husband, but now I do it with surprise trips, surprise themes (to a party he knows is going to take place) or simply surprising him by having doughnuts delivered.
For tips on how to pull off a surprise party–if you’re brave enough to go for it–watch for next month’s entry for my tips and advice on planning a surprise party.
As always, I would love to hear your stories or thoughts.