A Surprise Party

Surprise parties are the best. Well, all parties have the potential to be the best. But surprise parties have the element of um, surprise so it’s like another level of excitement. Really, they can be easy to pull off too. In this case we are specifically referring to a birthday party, but the principles for all surprise parties remain the same. First you set the stage, or time and place, with an invitation to the guest of honor; at a restaurant or friend’s house, etc. so the one-to-be-surprised actually plans on being at the event. (*Because that person showing up is essential.) But be careful, you don’t want them to get suspicious.


Picking the venue can take some thought, it’s got to accommodate the amount of people coming. And you have to take into consideration a plan to hide cars if you’re having it at someone’s house or even a restaurant. In this case, we (aka my sister and brother-in-law) booked a presidential suite at a hotel. Let me tell you why I love this idea, because you can set up ahead of time without being suspect. It’s yours for the evening. And I always love when you don’t have to stress about keeping the house clean. Then friends, family members and loved ones are waiting with ease! (As long as everyone can stick to the schedule and you do not have stragglers. Which reminds me, here’s a tip: If you’re to-be-surprised-one thinks dinner is at 7 pm, make sure all guests have arrived by 6:30 pm. If guests cannot accommodate that time (which is often understandable with work schedules and such) give them a second time option. The invitation might ask that the guests are there by 6:30 pm or after 8:00 pm (in case you are running late). You get the gist, do not sacrifice the surprise. The guest of honor has to be none-the-wiser.


Ok, this is my favorite part, and is only available if time permits. Plan part of the day. If you know your to-be-surprised-one is going to have a fabulous shindig later in the day get them ready to be fabulous; that way they are comfortable at their own party!


Now, this might not always work, which is understandable. So, it might just mean letting guest of honor believe they are going to a nice dinner, so they can dress appropriately. Whatever the occasion think ahead. If your surprise includes jet skis, make sure to pack their swimsuit, and so on.


Next of course, food and drinks… think it through. In this scenario our important guests were mostly under the age of ten, hamburgers, french fries, cheese and crackers, mac n’ cheese bites and chicken fingers worked nicely. If you’re doing the cooking, you’re a champ. Just remember this; catering can be an affordable option- especially with a large crowd.






We love kid parties. The kids really give us so much joy… so when they’re happy- we are, like, beaming. Mostly the idea is to wow your guest of honor, right? If you are going through the fuss of the surprise, make it count! Surround them with the ones they love, and the ones that love them!




So more ideas:

  • Signage


  • Balloons


  • Cake


  • Confetti


  • Photo Ops (I <3 photo ops!!!)


  • Nail the surprise! Hide, hush, and “Happy Birthday!”


  • Wardrobe change (totally optional, but a lot of fun 😉 )


  • Just have fun! But not too much fun…




My husband turned 40 this week; which meant we could listen to Coach Mike Gundy’s sound bite incessantly, “I’m a Man! I’m 40!” (Are you familiar with the speech from a couple years ago? He was defending one of his young Oklahoma State players…) I think Owen even made it his ring tone for part of the day, because it was finally legitimate. It also meant that an event I had been planning for about a year was finally ready to come to fruition. I didn’t tell a soul until about 3 months ago, which was my mother, when I was confirming a babysitter. It seems like I plan a lot of events throughout the year, but this had to be special. I wanted it to be memorable (and something to commemorate his manhood, thank you Coach Gundy. -Honestly, I don’t think we could wear it out.) So when I was struck with the idea of a surprise private hot air balloon ride, I didn’t waiver!


The other details took a little thought. Owen’s favorite food is pizza. I needed a place that could hold a crowd and be conveniently located by our landing site. I also needed a cake place that could pull off my Pinterest find and wouldn’t be far from the restaurant, because I wouldn’t be able to store it. Thankfully my sister offered to pick it up before dinner. There was the small issue of having the kids ready for the party before we left… but all of that could be worked out, no problem.


So it was hard to believe that my parents were ill (exposed to Shingles/Chicken Pox), and couldn’t babysit. As well as my sister’s kids, so they couldn’t come and I would have to pick up the cake. The wind was too strong to go on the planned ride (a chance I knew I was taking). And the pizza place that we were supposed to meet everyone at afterwards had an oven fire and sprinkler situation. They called me the morning of to say they couldn’t serve us… What are the odds?


However, our very accommodating friends made the switch to a different location without issue. (And BTW a huge shout-out to the Moosejaw employee who will never read this and who was working at the store when I received the phone call about the restaurant mishap. You are dear to my heart for making phone calls and getting us relocated, while keeping our children entertained with the store video games none-the-less!!) I’d also like to thank my in-laws who offered to watch our children in place of my parents, and although our flight was cancelled allowed us to have a lunch date. And last but not least I’d like to publicly express my gratitude for “Money” and “Clutch” (aka Nanny Tara and Molly O) who once again came through like champions on a perfect windless night so we could balloon high in the sky and I could actually give my gift to my husband on his actual birthday! (Not a bad ending after all.)


Happy Birthday Owen, I love you!!