If you want to make a birthday extra special, why not throw a surprise birthday party? Just make sure they enjoy surprises before calling up all of their friends and relatives. Grab a notepad and put on your thinking cap to start planning their best birthday yet. Don’t know where to begin? Here are 6 tips to help you pull off a surprise birthday.

1. Plan Ahead

Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail. Although you don’t have to have every aspect of your surprise party fully thought out, it’s a good idea to finalize a few of the basics. It’s recommended you begin to organize yourself at least a month before the actual birthday to ensure everything goes according to plan. If you’re going to need a birthday delivery, now would be a good time to schedule it. As you’re mapping out the details, make sure to also include the guest list and theme of the event.

2. Find Help

Just because it’s your idea, doesn’t mean you have to do it on your own! Finding close friends that’ll help you without spilling the beans is crucial. The key to a successful surprise party is to divide and conquer. You could be in charge of planning and ordering items, while your helper distracts the birthday person and leads them off your trail.

3. Mark Your Calendar

The first thing on your list should be time, date, and location. This is the foundation for the grand event. You want your guest of honor and their closest friends to be in attendance. The worst thing that can happen is your birthday person not showing up to their own party! A day before the event, connect with your guests and let them know to arrive early. You don’t want them to arrive after the birthday person. If you know stragglers are bound to show up, let them know that they must stay in their car or wait (out of sight) outside the venue until after the birthday person makes their grand entrance. Assure them that you won’t forget and text them when it’s time to come inside. This is especially crucial if the birthday person believes it will only be you two.

Additionally, the location of the event should be somewhere they don’t expect. Otherwise, you run the risk of them finding out about your scheme. You also want to make sure the parking doesn’t ruin the surprise either. If you’re having the party at your place and the guest of honor sees all of her friends’ cars parked outside, they’ll begin to speculate.

4. Delicious Food and Drinks

What’s a good party without food and drinks? If you’re hosting, remember it’s your responsibility to provide food for your guests. You don’t want them to shout a mediocre surprise because they’re hungry. One way to get around this is to make the party a pot-luck. Guests can make their best dishes to share with everyone. Just remember to keep track of who’s bringing what. You don’t want a million bags of chips, but only one main dish. Also, don’t forget to purchase cutlery, plates, napkins, and cups. Your guests don’t want to be eating off their hands. Most importantly, don’t forget the cake! However, disregard this if your party is at a restaurant.

5. Spectacular Decorations

Decorating the event is where you can finally let your creative side shine. If you decide on a themed birthday, make sure you have the proper party decor. It would be weird showing up to a roaring 20s party and only see balloons in vibrant colors and patterns instead of gold.

But first, let me take a selfie. A fun photo booth or backdrop is the perfect way to always remember a great surprise party. Grab a basket and fill it with interesting props–glasses, tiaras, crowns, wigs, hats, and masks– to get guests excited.

6. Enjoy the Moment

It’s time to yell, “Surprise!”

Congratulations, the moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here, and you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. Remember to snap a lot of pictures because this is an event that you and your guest are never going to want to forget. A surprise birthday is special and we’re sure the guest of honor will love it no matter what.

With these tips in mind, you’re ready to throw your friend a memorable party—without all the unnecessary stress that can arise from last-minute party planning. Good luck and happy planning!

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