NEWTS #6: Pulling Off A Successful Surprise Party

So the title is pretty self-explanatory. However, I think I should share the fact that I have attempted a surprise birthday party before. Those of you who are paying close attention to detail though have probably deduced that this first attempt was not successful. I mean, the party happened and all but it was a bit of a disaster. Half of the birthday boy’s friends couldn’t make it and those who could, arrived late. Surprise parties and students just do not mix. This time the surprise party is for my sister though, and she is turning 24 so I assume all of her friends have ‘adulted’ enough by now to be able to arrive on time. I hope.

Some of you may have also noticed that this party hasn’t been yet. It happens on Friday but as I am quite busy this week I thought I’d do my post now and then update it this weekend to let you know how it went. I’m sure you’re all on the edge of your seats: ‘Will Olive manage to pull this off? Or will she be shamed into never planning another party ever again?!’ It could go either way at this point, to be honest.

I was really hesitant about taking this on because I’m still a bit scarred by my first attempt. I can be a bit of a perfectionist and when things didn’t go to plan, it kinda stressed me out. This time I don’t feel as stressed because 1. I’ve graduated (so no more indirect uni stress) and 2. The venue is not my house – it’s at a bar, which really decreases my duty-related-stress as hostess. So here are the steps to pulling this off:

1. Market research. I started by asking friends’ and family’s opinions to see if they thought it was a good idea. Surprise parties aren’t for everyone and it’s easy to fall into the trap of organising something you would love, without realising that it’s not necessarily how they would want to be spending their special day ! Everyone loved the idea.

2. Guest list. This was a bit tricky but I managed to get in touch with a close friend of hers who helped me complete the list. This was good because she invited some people that I’ve never met !

3. Pick a venue. Having picked a date and time, and informing the guests to save the date, it was time to do some venue research. This was a bit daunting because my only criteria was: bar + London. Imagine how many results come up when you google that ! (It’s 308,000,000 – no need to imagine.) This took a few days to sift through reviews and summaries etc. Then came the inquiries regarding availability and cost etc. She better appreciate this. After much debating and conversing with friends, I decided on a fun bar that plays live music. I updated the guests on the location, and just awaited their RSVPs.

4. Concoct plan to get her there. This is the most tricky part to any surprise party. At my failed attempt last year, the birthday boy walked into the kitchen where a handful of us were just standing there panicking about how everyone was late. This was after stalling him at Sainsbury’s for at least 20 minutes – it makes me cringe to even think about it. This time, the plan is for her friend to drag her out to see people she doesn’t know very well and when she gets inside the bar, everyone she loves will be in one room (minus family – they live abroad).

Ta-dah. That should be it. Pray it works.

To be continued….

Update —————————————————

The party was a hit ! Everything happened exactly according to plan (bar me arriving a bit late) ! The birthday girl was so surprised and was so happy ! The venue was perfect – great staff, great music and fun atmosphere. I really recommend checking out The Piano Works in Farringdon if you ever get a chance. They have a band that plays any song you request. Literally, any song. The whole night. It’s so impressive. The whole bar is filled with merry people singing along and dancing their nights away.

I can now check ‘throwing a successful surprise party off my list’ 🙂



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