Surprise Party Planning
The last couple of weeks have been stressful (understatement). I decided at the beginning of the year that I was going to throw my boyfriend a surprise 25th birthday party. I organise events on a regularly basis on my work so I thought it would be a fairly easy task, right?
Organising a party is incredibly stressful. Team it with the fact I’m not the best at keeping my mouth shut when I’m excited about something means that I’ve struggled. For example, the party was last Friday (20th), to ensure that I didn’t give anything away I had to actively try to not speak to my boyfriend. Yup. I’m a bad person but it was all for the good of the surprise. This was purely because, a couple of years ago, I organised a meal for him to go to, told him it was just me and him and then invited all his friends and what happened? I TOLD HIM ON. THE. DAY. I cannot be trusted I swear.
Anyway, the party was on Friday and it was a really great success. Everyone who meant something to the beard was there and he had no idea, which I think was actually my favourite bit! Saturday was a total write-off (for me especially, no tequila, no jager, no prosecco, no Malibu, no vodka EVER AGAIN) so we just chilled out watching the football and the boxing (and The Lion King – men’s choice), followed by a trip to Thorpe Park on the Sunday. It’s safe to say, I didn’t wake up for the gym on Monday morning.
I thought I’d put together some tips on throwing a surprise party and share it with you guys in case you decide to do the same.
You need to think about the venue in advance. How many people do you want? Do you need a bar? Do you need them to cater food? I started looking in January and three of the five places I looked at were already booked. As a reminder, people plan parties in advance. Don’t leave your venue to the last minute.
Again, DJs book up very quickly, and can be very costly. Do your research, ask around the local area or see if a mate can do it. When I was researching I had some DJs quote me £400 for five hours work – hell no. For five hours you should look to pay anything from £175+.
As soon as the venue was booked, I spoke to a couple of the beards friends/ families to give them a heads up as a save the date. Yes, it was five months away, but when it gets closer to summer people plan holidays etc and I just wanted people to be aware of the date as early as possible.
- Room Decorations
This is an important one. You need to speak to the venue to find out if clean up is included in the booking fee, or if you’ll have to do it yourselves. If that is the case, make sure you decorate the room in an easy and quick to clean way. For example, confetti? No way. Big banners that you can just pulled down at the end of the night? Hell yeah. Table decorations can often be swept into a bin bag or picked up, just don’t go for smaller decorations.
- Ordering Decorations
Another point for this one, work out what decorations you need early. I know I needed plates and cutlery for food, and that I would need table decorations and wall decorations as it was quite a bare space. I also knew that I wanted to get some big blow up balloons, and when I went into my local party store they told me these would have to be ordered, and required two weeks! Make sure to check in advance what you need. If you’re doing an evening party (which I did), places like Poundland and Asda are great for getting paper plates and table covers.
As the venue didn’t cater, and the event time was straight after work, I decided that food would be a good shout. Empty stomachs + alcohol = messy. We got all our food from Asda, Iceland and Costco and just bulk bought oven-cookable food. The only thing that took a bit of effort was making sandwiches which need to be made fresh on the day. The oven-cooked food can usually be cooked the night before to save time.
Again, I wanted the cake to be personalised, so I bought the beards from Costco and had to order it three days in advance. It was so worth it though. I actually think this is quite a short space of time, as I know most cake-makers require anything from a couple of weeks to a couple of months to bake a bespoke cake.
I had booked the Friday off work, which turned out to be a God-send as there was so much to do. Thankfully, we had access to the venue early, so we got all the food and decorations up by half one. I then bombed it back home, got showered, did my makeup and hair and then had to be back out the house by 5pm thanks to traffic. I got into Luton for 6(ish), finally managed to have a celebratory drink and then went to the venue at 7pm to see if there were any arrivals, and, funnily enough, I wasn’t the first one there! During this time, two of the beards friends were keeping him out the house and busy so he wouldn’t suspect anything. It’s a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, so prepare yourself to be busy!
I think that’s actually everything! It’s a lot of stress, and requires a lot of organising, but I can’t actually stress how good it was to see the beard’s face on the night. He had no idea, and was so happy that people were coming together just for him. It’s well worth all the struggles, but would I do it again anytime soon? Not even if you paid me.
Thanks for reading,