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How to Plan a Surprise

How to Successfully Pull Off a Surprise

With a few, very rare, exceptions, everyone loves surprises. Nothing makes you feel more special than realising someone in your life has gone to the effort of doing something just for you. Which is why there's often a lot of happy tears. But whether it's a party or proposal, nailing a surprise isn't easy — and as YouTube has shown us, not all surprises turn out as planned.

The goal is to make sure it's a happy surprise that stays top secret until the reveal. So rather than hoping for the best with your next surprise, we asked event stylist and creator of The Festive Co., Alexis Teasdale for her five top tips to successfully pull it off.

The Less People Who Know, the Better

"The more people that know, the harder it is to pull off," says Alexis. "If it's a surprise involving just the two of you, but you need help with the logistics, make sure you choose wisely. If her best mate can't keep a secret, forget it. Look to a family member — who's probably just as invested in making the surprise go smoothly — or hire a professional event planner." On the flip side, make sure you do tell the people who need to know. Ask for the help of their boss if you need them to get out of work. If it's a party, keep the guest list small and send invites with strict "don't ruin the surprise" instructions. If your worried about one blabbermouth friend, don't tell them the plans until the day before.

Don't Let Them See the Planning

If you live with the person you're planning to surprise, you can't be working on it while you're at home. Make the calls in your lunch hour or stay back after work. Keep planning talk out of text messages (which they're likely to see) and set-up a separate email address just for the organising. There's nothing worse then the surprise being ruined by plane tickets popping up on your shared computer.

Make Sure It's the Right Surprise

"If you think it would be awesome to propose on a hot air balloon, but your partner is both deathly afraid of heights and so not a morning person, then it's not the right plan," says Alexis. "It has to be something they will love, not just you." If they are shy, anything in public will scare them. If they will be upset that they aren't dressed for the occassion, make sure they think they are doing something equally fancy — coming home to a surprise party in sweaty gym gear might not have the desired affect. Alexis says, "remember that the person needs to feel really comfortable for a true surprise to work. Make sure you're tailoring the surprise to them specifically."

Details, Details, Details

"It's all in the details," says Alexis. "Surprises have to be seamless, so if you're sending something to their work, make sure you have the right address, level, contact number and name. You don't want 12 dozen roses going to the wrong Sarah Smith." Make sure you know the timings, have transport orgainsed, a wet weather back-up, areas booked and everything prepped. Leave nothing to chance. There's nothing more awkward than turning up to your surprise location only to find another couple enjoying the view.

Go Big

When in doubt, do more. You don't want your surprise to be underwhelming — we've seen those videos too. If you've planned a surprise you know they'll love, there's much less chance of it going wrong, but having a few winning props to highlight that this is a present for them can't hurt. "Flowers, balloons, baby animals, romantic dinners and picnic set-ups always get a good response," says Alexis. "Things that go 'bang' are touch-and-go, so be sure jumping out of a cake or a confetti canon is the right move for your love one, before you ask your friend to film it."

Image Source: Unsplash / Jelleke Vanooteghem
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