Have you ever thrown anyone a surprise party? Have you let sentences slip about the big event and felt the heat set in your cheeks? Have you forgotten simple details or ruminated on how the process will work out?

I officially have. On Sunday my boyfriend turned 25. His mom and I had been collaborating on ideas for the day since January. Knowing he had always wanted a surprise party gave us an excitement to attempt the fun challenge.

And yes, it was a challenge.

The hardest part had to have been the white lies: hiding the fact that my family was in town, making up plans to coordinate around the actual party, standing in front of the pantry a couple nights before so that he wouldn’t open it and wonder why people who never eat chips have four bags worth.

And the slips. Mentioning that my sister was calling (to him, it was just a call; to me, it was her saying she was on her way to Chicago). Getting ready to watch a show on my computer and realizing everyone was texting RSVPs and that my notifications would come through messages (then making him play cards with me instead to avoid all technology).

Not to mention, we decided to change the party location three days before. It may have been a good thing because then it appeared that we had no specific plans for that day. However, moving it to his mom’s house (where her and I both live) meant keeping him far away for the day. It meant hiding the cars with South Dakota plates. It meant keeping all of the drinks outside until the last minute and finding a way for him to get there at the right time–not too early or too late.

So yes, it was a challenge. Surprise parties take a lot of thought.

But they are so worth it. 

Despite the lost sleep the night before due to dreams about blowing the surprise, everything worked out. A party with the people you love is a party…white lies or not.

He was surprised…very surprised, and his radiant smile made all of the minor anxieties leading up to the party disappear.


When I walked through the door with him at 7:00 p.m. and saw all of the silhouettes standing in the entry, I smiled too.

Parties give us an opportunity to show people how loved they are. They bring people from all segments of life into one room to celebrate one common thing. Parties ask for smiles and welcome honesty. And when the element of surprise is added? Well, all guests share another common bond–sharing a secret and awaiting an arrival.

I could give you a list of tips for throwing the best surprise party ever, but I would rather share the most simple tip: plan one! Yes, there will be chaos and white lies and slips, but there will also be love and bonding and some of the biggest smiles you have ever seen.

I am so grateful for the people who came, the help planning, and the fun memories that were created. Now…it’s your turn to surprise someone you love!