Shhhhhh! - Planning A Surprise Event

That famous line that everyone cheers as an unassuming person walks into their party.  They never knew it was coming and either meet the experience with laughter, tears, or confusion as to how the group was able to keep this from them.  Either way, everyone deserves a fun surprise in life rather it be big or small.

Surprises are a great way to step up a celebration, weather the entire event is a surprise or elements of the event is a surprise.  I am super excited to share on planning a surprise event as I’m working on a surprise wedding for a fantastic couple.  I won’t say too much, but trust I’ll share those highlights once it’s all said and done.  Back to surprise events… Who doesn’t love a surprise?!  Okay, some may not, but I think it has more to do with their need to be in control or the fear that a detail could be missed.  I’ve pulled off a few great surprise events so I wanted to share the key elements that make them work.

1.       Informants and Under Cover Agents! A spy is a person employed to seek out top secret information from a source.  They are a huge asset in planning a surprise of any type.  They need to provide very specific details and pass them along discreetly.  A great example of this is a gentleman getting assistance from his girlfriend’s friends to find out the type of ring she would like for a proposal.  That is some pretty detailed intel and when done right can make for a truly special moment. 

2.       Know your audience.  A lot of assumptions and decisions will be made regarding what the honoree would enjoy and what the guests will enjoy.  The uniqueness of a surprise event is that both guests and honoree(s) have little to no knowledge of what to expect.  You as the planner or organizer have the responsibility of appealing to both.  Let’s start with who the surprise is for.  Do they like minimalist or extravagant things?  Intimate settings or larger crowds?  Loves adventure or is comfortable with the familiar?  Are the receptive to surprises at all?  All these elements should guide what is done and how it is done.  The guests that attend are the secondary audience to consider.  While the honoree(s) may drive the tone and style, the guests determine size and the logistical constraints of the event. 

3.       Budget wisely.  Surprises don’t have to be expensive.  They can be cost effective as a lot of the value is in the thoughtfulness of doing it in the first place.  With any event the cost and value of things need to be weighed carefully.  You need to be mindful of the honoree’s thoughts and values as it relates to spending.  Do they thing balloons are a waste of money or do they value a great meal?  If the individual’s finances are tied to the honoree being surprised, this can be tricky!  Responsible spending is that much more important in this scenario. 

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Here are my top 5 favorite surprises:

#5 “Just because” flowers delivered to home or work place.

#4 Nested Boxes that start off huge and end with a small thoughtful token.

#3 Surprise Birthday parties with guests from out of town.

#2 Gender Reveal using a Ferris wheel!

#1 Surprise Wedding!