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Thursday, September 08, 2011

Do or don't: Surprise parties

My darlings, I have a question: Have you ever had (or thrown) a surprise party? My mom's 60th birthday is next year, and I'm trying to figure out whether we should throw a surprise party or tell her the fun plans ahead of time. Personally, I wonder if surprises are overrated; I like having months of giddy anticipation before an event, and I think walking into an unexpected party might feel surreal. But am I nuts? Would it be totally amazing? I would LOVE to hear your thoughts!
P.S. My mom is on vacation right now so she won't read this post! :)
(Top photo by Sharon Montrose; bottom photo unknown)

226 comments:

1 – 200 of 226   Newer›   Newest»
Kate said...

I am a HUGE fan of surprise parties! Every surprise party I have been involved in (a party for me or one I've thrown) I always end up crying tears of joy! It's such an incredible feeling knowing that so many people you love went to the trouble to keep a huge secret from you for so long. My mother's 50th birthday surprise party was a huge hit! I would throw surprise parties every year if I could.

Kersey Campbell said...

This is a debate in my family. I have thrown and love throwing surprise parties but have never had a surprise party myself. I used to think I would love it, but I think the anticipation might be more enjoyable :) If your mom is anything like my mom, then she would prefer to know some of the fabulous details to get giddy over.

theolivetree said...

Everyone should have at least 1 surprise party in their life time! If she has never had one, why not?

Holly said...

I would give her a few details but keep some bits secret. Surprise guests from far away would be a super secret, but I would tell her when/where the event is, that its a big party for her birthday... anticipation is exciting!

Sarah is here for the sandwiches said...

If you throw a surprise party, always give the guest of honor a heads up that you have a special night planned for them! That way they can get all dolled up and not have to fret over their grubby jeans and messy hair when all of their friends pop out. Good luck!

Kirby Amour said...

My hubby just tossed me a surprise half bday party, best day of my life! It made me feel so loved so much planning went into something so personal.

Paislea Elyse said...

i have to admit that i have never thrown a surprise party for anyone or had a surprise party thrown for myself.

i always think that it would be really fun to put one together as well as to have one done for me.

i do not know from experience so i wont be much help but i personally love the idea!!! i would do it!!

allister bee blog

victoria / cats dreaming in keylime said...

My birthday is coming up so ... yes, i would fancy a surprise party.

Jenna said...

I think for the right person they are perfect - especially for a 60th! We threw a 60th suprise party for my boyfriend's mom and it was a dinner/cooking class with her family and a few of her close friends. It was perfect because the focus was on her for a little, then on to the chef teaching us and cooking us a awesome meal!

Laurel Hammond said...

ahh I tried to throw a surprise party for my husband and getting guys to RSVP is like pulling teeth.
Surprise parties---- for girls only! lol
http://beyond-function.blogspot.com/

Carolyn said...

My friends threw me a surprise party for my 16th birthday. It was the BEST party ever. Granted, it was a while ago but I still remember how loved I felt when I walked into the room and everyone I knew was there. It was great. I say, go for it!

Lindy said...

I love surprise parties! But it's a tricky thing. I think its terrible when people try to make you think they forgot your birthday, act like jerks, and then yell "SURPISE" to make it better.

But, my Dad and I conspired to throw my mom a surprise party for her 50th birthday last May, and it was so wonderful. We told her we were going to make a special family dinner for her to come home too, but when she got there we had around 40 of her best friends together. The look of wonder and happiness on her face made all the planning and secrecy sooo worth it.

Kristina Gulino said...

It depends on how you think she would reall enjoy her celebration. My mom is super fun, but pretty shy when it comes to getting attention and I know she likes intimate events. Whereas my good friend in LA is the "life of the party" and would LOVE a fun surprise get-together at the end of a long week. Overall, you won't do anything wrong with whatever you decide :) Your mom will love it no matter what!

Alessia said...

60 years old is certainly something to celebrate, and a suprise party isn't a bad idea, if your mom has never had a suprise party, if she's not shy, if she has a lot of friends that she may not have seen in a while, and if she doesn't expect it... We held a suprise party for my mom when she turned 60 and she was touched, because no one had ever planned anything like that for her. She was the one who had always done the planning. So I would say it depends.

Giulia Doyle said...

I love to plan surprise parties (I did it for my hubby's 35th birthday), but for myself I feel a little uncomfortable because of that initial attention you get and the lack of control(hair, clothing, mood, on time or not)...I like control ;)

Gaia said...

Hmm it totally depends on the person you're throwing it for. My parents threw me a surprise party when I was 21 and I was completely mortified-I had been tired and was looking forward to a night at home. I'd probably like it a bit more now, just because I wouldn't in charge of all the planning! They are a wonderful gift for the right kind of person.

isabug said...

My dad turns 60 next year! I love surprise parties, but my husband feels differently..

brianna said...

I think surprise parties are fun for teenagers and youngins, but after age 22, we ladies like to have time to "get ready." You know someone will take 100 photos of you looking all disheveled (and not in the good way) and post it all over the internet. Eeeps.

Becca said...

I think it's a definite do - I love birthdays! I have a friend who isn't a surprise party fan, so at her recent birthday we sent her on a birthday scavenger hunt. It started off that she came home to a piece of her favorite cake with a note that said "prepare for birthday fun tomorrow night." The next day when she got home from work, there was a string leading from the front door around her house, ending at a giant box we filled with balloons (an idea we got from Jordan Ferney on Oh Happy Day). The balloon we left weighted at the bottom had more instructions for her to follow. Ultimately she ended up at a local restaurant where there was a group of her closest friends waiting.

I think that surprise parties can totally work for everyone - the key in my eyes is some gentle build-up to the main event!

Becca

nicole said...

Eeek, I don't like surprise parties, personally; I've been to some not-so-successful ones. But she is VERY deserving of a party - I think you should let her know that something is in the works; you could always keep the details a surprise. xo.

Sage Crown Parker said...

what?! surprises are the best, i've always wanted someone to throw me a surprise party...one day.

do it!!!

becoming teacher misty said...

I remember my mom throwing my dad a surprise birthday party almost every few years of my life. So, when we finally surprised her one time for her own birthday, she was mortified (but played it cool). We thought since she was always surprising my dad, that she wanted to be surprised herself. Not true. I would suggest a head's up to your mom and have some aspect of the party be a total surprise. Or at least tell her you're going somewhere nice, so she will be looking her best. But I agree with the folks above, everyone needs at least one surprise party in their life!

Kelly said...

We just threw a surprise 60th for my Mom this summer. Based on her personality, we kept it to family-only; the people she would feel most comfortable turning into a blubbery mess in front of (she's a big cryer). In the end, she was so shocked she didn't even cry and kept asking people if they were really there "for her!" haha.

It was truly one of the most fun experiences I have had - planning with my aunt, the anticipating building, and then showering someone you important with attention and love. I would do it all over again tomorrow.

Judy said...

A surprise party would be great for a 60th birthday! I think many older people feel a bit odd or self-conscious throwing themselves a birthday party (inviting people to come celebrate you, reminding everyone of your age, (but there's nothing wrong with having a party!)), so it would probably be nice to just walk into one that's already planned for you! Of course, you know your mom best, so whatever you think would make her happiest :)

Sage Crown Parker said...

i have been a surprise for brides many times.
a lot of people come to my island to elope and don't have a photographer so sometimes a mom or even a husband will hire me as a wedding photographer and as a surprise wedding present.
it is the best feeling ever to show up and see some one burst into happy tears and then get really excited.
i love it!!

Sabra said...

I was always really afraid at the thought of someone giving me a surprise party. Then, on my birthday (just last Saturday), my wonderful boyfriend got my closest friends and family together for a surprise dinner at a restaurant that I love. I was overwhelmed at how much that meant to me. Knowing that someone loves you that much to plan a party for you, really means a lot. I say go the surprise party route! She will love it!!

Trina said...

I think it depends on whether your mom is a planner or more spontaneous, and whether she likes (or at least doesn't mind) being the center of attention. Personally I hate surprises; I much prefer the pleasure of anticipating something in advance, and I prefer to celebrate with a small group of friends or family.

accordingtoboyle said...

I have thrown 3 surprise parties over the past 2 years and each time, the person who it was thrown for was so grateful. Each of them came up to me numerous times throughout the evening to tell me what a fantastic time they were having and how happy they were to have had it done for them. :) I say go for it!

-Emily

Trina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bun said...

usually- I am not one for surprise parties...but my Mom threw one for my Grandmother on her 60th (it was a big outdoor dinner party)- and she LOVED IT. Got a lot of her friends she hadn't seen in a while...decorated with old photos all over the place...and it was a really special evening for her. I would say DO IT!!!

xoxox bun.
http://www.bybun.com/buns-blog

nickandnoragettingmarried said...

I think the decision is primarily about if the person would be the kind of person to enjoy a surprise party. When I was turning 16, my mom kept asking what I wanted to do for my birthday. At the time I didn't like planning parties (what if people didn't come or didn't have fun?!) so I kept saying I didn't know. My mom (who loves planning parties) threw me a surprise party which was great. But I wouldn't necessarily throw my mom a surprise party, because I know she'd want to be involved in the planning and look exactly right for the event.

gemma said...

not sure...my friends threw a surprise party for one of our male friends and he seemed excited, but he was sort of in shock the whole time. it might be nicer just to tel her what's going to happen!

EleseinaFleece said...

I personally don't enjoy surprise parties (I am a snoop and I always find out the details ahead of time) but we threw a wonderful one for my aunt's 60th. We flew my cousin in from Alaska without her knowing and after the surprise, we had her call from her cell phone from upstairs. As the conversation went on, she descended the stairs and surprised her once again. Needless to say, there were many tears at the party haha. As long as your mom doesn't get overwhelmed too easily I think it would be fun for her.

Claudia said...

I think you can do a bit of both- what I mean by that is you can say you're having a small celebration or dinner with just close family and then ta-da! she steps into a beautiful room that is also surrounded by you guys and her friends. That way she can still look forward to something but still has the element of surprise.

jamie said...

i've always hated being the center of attention and i had a surprise party thrown for me once. it was so incredibly sweet and i am still so grateful for how thoughtful it was. in all honesty though i felt so nervous and uncomfortable all the same time. if your mom might be the same way, it might be good to let her know you're planning something special and then keep the details a surprise (and add a cool twist to it all.) either way, i'm sure she'll feel so loved and special.

Agi said...

Dear Joanna, I can totally understand your doubts. As I love planning and "Vorfreude", I thought I hated surprise parties - until my boyfriend threw one for me for my 29th birthday last year. I came into the dark kitchen, and then everybody started singing. And you are right: It totally felt surreal - but in a good way. I loved that feeling - it was like dreaming and knowing that you dream (because surely alls these people CANNOT be standing in my kitchen right now?!) - but then you realize your are NOT dreaming and it's real. It was such a unique feeling that surprise parties are worth it just to experience that feeling. My next thought, though, was: O my God, what will I feed everyone?! But my boyfriend had known that, so he had big pizzas delivered and everyone was happy. I highly recommend surprise parties, although I thought I did not like them before. Agi

Fleur De Moi said...

I love planning surprise parties! The only hard part is keeping them a secret! The closer you are to the person you are planning it for the harder it is to keep the secret!

Lauren said...

love 'em! i threw a sp for my husband's 30th in june - at our own house with 50 people! i was so good at covering my tracks he never saw it coming! do it joanna!

katie [the bright life] said...

I'm totally on the fence about this one. I've never had a surprise party, and I think I would like one, but I know that others hate them. My mom doesn't like having things sprung on her without being able to mentally prepare. I threw a surprise birthday party for my sister's 30th last year, because I knew she wouldn't plan anything herself and 30 is a milestone year! She ended up having a fever and not feeling well, and almost didn't show up to her own party. I think she still had a great time, but if I were to do it again, I would have nixed the big to-do and just planned a small, sweet celebration with family and close friends. Best of luck as you plan! Xo, Katie

Sofia said...

We threw a semi-surprise 50th for my mom. Her birthday's in late April, and my father did all the leg work of finding a DJ, narrowing down catering options, calling all her friends to see if they were free etc. Then on Valentine's Day we gave her an invitation to her own party - it was 75% of the way done, but this way she got to pick the playlist, the food and the perfect outfit, as well as call all her friends and look forward to the whole thing!

I totally recommend the semi-surprise party. And the rainy night only made the party tent put over our back patio all the more sparkly and beautiful!

Annie said...

I agree with you! Surprises take away a lot of the fun of anticipation!

What about keeping some element of the event a surprise--maybe the theme, or the food, or a special guest?

Personally, I'd never want a surprise party. I would probably panic when I saw everyone!

kelly : pinetothepacific said...

for both of parents' 60th bdays, instead of doing a surprise party, my sister and i contacted all of our family, friends, and friends of theirs from childhood and asked them to write a letter to them on a special notecard we included in the mailing. we also encouraged submitting photos. we bound everything into gorgeous scrapbooks, and they both told us it was the most meaningful surprise they'd ever received! it was neat because it took away the stress of planning a surprise EVENT, but the lasting joy of those books is something they definitely cherish. :)

Lisa Marie said...

I think that one very important thing should be considered: what is your mom's personality?

Is she introverted, or extroverted? Basically, is she a social butterfly or a home-body...this should be factored in.

But...that isn't the only thing to consider. My grandmother is a total social butterly...but now that she's 80, it's only when SHE chooses to be. She likes to have things the way SHE likes, so when our family threw her a birthday party, we let her know and let her make decisions.

And personally, I don't like surprise parties because I don't like surprises, not knowing what is going on. Every surprise party I've ever gone to has turned out to be chaos, just awkward or even really badly.

Hope this helps a little!

kimberly said...

i threw a surprise party for my mom's 60th birthday last year and it was completely wonderful. we had all kinds of other goodies for her to look forward to though so the party was just an extra treat. i think a lot depends on the person/situation. i'm like you - i love the excitement beforehand :)

the sweet crusader said...

My husband and I threw a surprise 60th birthday party in July for his parents (they both turned 60 in the same month). I think everyone deserves 1 good surprise party in their life and it's awesome to see people genuinely awed and touched. However, I did have a lot of party guests before the surprise asking me if I thought it was wise to surprise people in their 60s and if they had any heart conditions! Seriously people asked me this! It then proceeded to terrify me! However all was well and no heart conditions other than a bursting of love were evident!

The Sweet Cupcaker said...

my friend's once surprised me for my birthday by kidnapping me for a birthday day with all of the girls. Although it's not exactly the same as a party, it was a great birthday and one that I always remember. I agree that half the fun is the excitement beforehand but surprises can make such a memory!

the lil bee said...

I love them. We threw one for my mom's 60th a couple years ago and she was blown away. We flew my aunt and cousins in and everything.

Stop making me blow off work, will you?

Luli said...

I think that whatever you and your family decide to do for your sweet mama, she will love it! (I guess I was no help in answering your question. haha) So when your mom is back from vacation is she going to read this or does she not scroll down to old posts? Have a wonderful day, sweet Joanna!

Jess said...

I planned my first surprise party recently for my guy. He works so hard and doesnt get to see the people he loves much. He is also the super humble type who would never plan anything for himself... he was SOOO surprised and SOOO appreciative of my hard work in organizing and getting all his best friends together in one place. We did a Sunday brunch and it all worked out perfectly. He literally gets teary when he tells people about it because it meant so much to him.

I say go for it!!! Its exciting and rewarding when it all comes together in the end :)

http://becauseimtwentysomething.blogspot.com

Jess said...

I would love to have a suprise party thrown for me! My Mom and I threw my Dad a huge suprise 40th Birthday Party and it was a huge hit.

Stephanie of Pretty {much} Art said...

My best friends threw me a surprise party for my 17th birthday.

I was feeling really down that day because a girl in my class (who shared the same birthday) was having a huge party that night, and I was just going to a friend's house for the evening. When I got to said friend's house I was blown away to see she had invited all of my closest friends over as well.

It wasn't as big of a party as the other girl's, but those friends are still my best friends. And it was a party I'll never forget.

~Stephanie

Anonymous said...

My friends threw me a surprise Sweet 16 party and I loved it. I knew about it but swore to secrecy. It was very touching, knowing all those friends not only took the time to show up for my birthday, but kept it a secret and wanted to see me surprised. It will always be a very fond memory. Definitely go for it! Just make sure that whatever fake plans you have for a cover, she is dressed up enough. Nobody wants to be caught in their pajamas or something . :-)!

El said...

I had a surprise party for my best friend in 9th grade of high school. She loved it in the end but of course she said silly things like "you should have told me to wear something nice!" because she ended up coming to my house in shorts and a t-shirt with unwashed hair. But, when she first arrived, she crouched down in a ball and cried! Her reaction was definitely to feel overwhelmed. But, I think people still appreciate that you put all that thought into it.

Coté Writes said...

My husband and friends threw a surprise birthday for me the weekend of our engagement. The whole time was such a surreal blur, so I have no recollection of the party. I'm like you and think the happy anticipation building up to a party is nice, and I also think keeping a party a surprise runs the risk of limiting the birthday girl's time with out-of-town guests (because she's not allowed to know they're in town until after the party). I think the only reason to keep the party a surprise would be if you thought your mom would stress out and do too much of the planning herself ahead of time. :)

Emily said...

It totally depends on if your mom enjoys a surprise or not. We threw a surprise party for my grandma last year for her 85th. This was not my idea, but my uncle (her son) insisted. She did enjoy it, but she's the type of person that likes to be in control, so I felt it was stressful for her at times. It was a great party though! Good luck!

Danielle said...

Oooh sounds fun!

Me and my sister threw a surprise 50th birthday party for my mum and she didn't know anything about it. It went really well but it did take my dad ages to drag her out of the house and drive her to the venue under the guise of visiting her sister (my aunt).

If your mum has mentioned in the past that she likes surprises then go for it, but if she hasn't really given a preference then maybe make up an event to take your mum to, so she dresses nice and looks forward to the date - then BAM! SURPRISE PARTY! :)

x

http://fandabbydozie.blogspot.com/

Ash said...

I'm not a big fan of surprises, mainly because I like to have control and know what to anticipate :) My dad's girlfriend threw him a surprise birthday last year on his 60th...total BUST. So i say, no to surprises...

Eliza Jane said...

I have always, ALWAYS wanted someone to throw me a surprise party! I say go for it!!

HiLLjO said...

I love them. I have always wanted one even though I get really uncomfortable taking most attentions. It's like a secret want of mine, for someone to surprise me with a party I didn't get to plan anything for myself.

Susan said...

Twice people gave them for me & it was horrible. Just horrible. I wouldn't have predicted that either.

~ Faith said...

I think it's a DO! I had a surprise bridal shower and I was so completely unaware of it that when it happened i nearly had a heart-attack (the good kind). Everyone deserves at least ONE surprise party in their lifetime.

~F

Helen Ailsa said...

I surprised my Mum for her 60th birthday. I live in Vancouver, Canada and I flew to the UK and turned up on her doorstep. I loved and she loved it.
Her party was organized by her friends, she knew that they were doing something but not what which was perfect, she knew where to be and when and what to wear, but no more and she didn't have to do any of the organisation, which was a real treat for her. she wouldn't have liked something where people jumped out.

Joanna Goddard said...

these comments are making my heart burst! helen ailsa, how sweet to show up on your mom's doorstep, that makes me want to cry! :)

KellyMarie said...

Last year was my dad's 60th and I threw him a surprise party. He lives in Wisconsin and I in Portland, OR so he was completely surprised, especially since he's a pretty nosey guy. It was definitely worth it to see so many loved ones there for my dad and the look on his face when he figured out what was going on. My only misgiving is that now I will probably have to throw one for my mum in 3 years!

teeny84 said...

Maybe compromise? Tell her about the party but have some surprise guests (like family members she rarely gets to see or something)? I always feel like men are more likely to enjoy surprise parties b/c I don't think they get excited about events the way a lot of women do (total generalization, I realize that). But I personally LOVE having something to look forward to and picking out the outfit and shoes and getting all girly and fun and excited!

Joanna said...

We threw a mini surprise party for my mom's 60th birthday this year. I say "mini" because it was literally my father, five siblings, one brother-in-law, two 5-year-old twin nieces, and myself. We all live in different cities - LA, SF, and NY, but we all came together at this fabulous restaurant in West Hollywood - Cecconi's - and surprised her for dinner. She was floored, but also super elated and pleased. Knowing her personality, I think she would have been embarrassed had it been a larger group of people. But with just her close family there, she was a very happy birthday girl. So I'd say you should consider your mom's personality, whether she likes the attention or is more shy, and go from there.

Jessie said...

Do! My dad just turned 60 this year and he had quietly mentioned the year before he wouldn't mind a big celebration. My mom gathered up all of his friends at our neighbor's house and gave them each a balloon and called my dad over to the window because "there was something funny happening on their street. And by the time my dad walked to the window there was a huge train of people with balloons. They had the party catered from their favorite TexMex restaurant and my brother picked up a keg of beer. He loved it. :)

El said...

I do think that it's worth throwing a surprise party, at least once! I have thrown one and had one thrown for me, and the consistent feeling is amazement at all of the people who gathered in your honor, the efforts they went through, and the fact that they want to make you feel so special!! It would be nice to perhaps suggest that you will be doing something with her but don't tell her what, so that she can be prepared but still giddy and anxious!! Try to get some totally unexpected guests like from further away or friends that she hasn't seen in a while!! She'll love it.

hms said...

I really don't like surprise parties. I always feel like I've been tricked, even if it's well intentioned. Plus, when you walk into the room surprised and everyone starts taking pictures, you usually have a goofy face on.

Morgane said...

I threw a surprise party for my boyfriend's birthday this year and he loved it! Surprise parties are a lot of fun to walk into. I would however, tell your mom that you have a dinner planned with just close family and that you can pick her up at XX time. That way she has dressed up for a party so she won't look out of place.

Jenna S said...

I threw a 30 Anniversary surprise party for my parents in June!
It was a lot of work, and got pretty stressful trying to keep it a secret ( the party was held in their back yard!) but it was totally worth it!
My parents were so surprised and grateful. My mama cried, which was so sweet.
They had an amazing time!
Also I think surprise parties are fun for the guests too!!

So fun.
Do it!!
-J

KerryB. said...

I personally love throwing parties that the person knows of, but tossing in really big surprises that they would never suspect... Having their best friend from out of state show up, after already sending them a birthday card. Or having everyone meet at the already mentioned destination, only to carpool to the surprise location -- a bistro I had managed to rent out, a stage performance of their favorite book in the nearest city (which involved taking a train) or a night on the town.

I find that letting the person know that SOMETHING is going on on a certain time/day allows then to not get overly suspicious and nosy. They just tend to get excited about seeing their family and friends, allowing you to plan really big and awesome things.

Lia said...

My friend had a surprise party for her father's 70th birthday. Because he loves pies, she asked all the guests to bring a pie, trying to add up to 70 pies!! Of course there were not 70 pies, but there were so many yummy pies to choose for! She planned months ahead and he never guessed! He had tears in his eyes when he saw all the guests at this picnic area in a State Park!

jen fuller said...

If you know the person well enough to know what they would want (even what they'd want to be dressed like, etc), then I think it's great! But some people are picky...so maybe not for them :)
Smoking Crayolas Blogspot

Glenda said...

I've had a few surprise birthday's. At 13 it was so much fun.

As an adult... I like more intimate gatherings... dinner with family... not the whole hoopla-attention-on-me-type-of-day. (but that's just me)

Liv said...

We threw a surprise for my mum in that my father took her on holiday (so that was the birthday treat she knew about and was comfortable with) and then me and my sisters flew out to join them for a dinner one night. So half and half! She did enjoy it BUT being a mother, spent the first hour asking how we'd arranged it/paid for it/where were we staying/was everything ok at home. So you can't win sometimes!

Araceli said...

My brother's and I threw a surprise party for my parents for their 30th wedding anniversary. We ended up letting my dad in on the surprise so he could help us get our family from Mexico here in time. My mother had no idea! We had all of her family and my dad's family there. It was a truly amazing night, with an amazing ending (my niece was born)

KellyGreen said...

Last year was by far the worst I have had...then my brother threw me a surprise party. I felt so loved. The most amazing evening. The best birthday ever. I say do it!

Heather @ It's So Suburban said...

We threw a surprise party for my mother-in-law's 60th birthday. We were worried she would be upset because she is always thinking of others and would never plan an event for herself like that. She thought she was going out to dinner with her siblings and father, but then the car pulled into the clubhouse and at that point she knew. She was nervous to come inside, but once she did, she really enjoyed it and kept thanking us for weeks. We also had everyone write down their memories of her to put in a jar for her to read later, and had guests bring toys to donate to the 'birthday closet' at a local childrens center.

Anonymous said...

I just turned 16 this summer and for my birthday, my mom threw me a surprise party. I spent the whole day with one of my best friends, who knew the whole time, and had no idea at all. Everyone was there (grandparents, friends, etc.) and it was one of the best and most fun parties I have every been to. I still talk about it, just because of the fact that I had no idea. When I walked in the front door I just burst into tears when I saw everybody. It re-affirmed how many people love me enough to celebrate my life.

Nataša said...

I organized a surprise party for my mom last year when she turned 60. The key to success was that it was completely to her taste - there was just our family and her best friend, no crowds. We grilled meat, baked a cake. My dad took mom on a daily trip so that we could prepare everything at home. And I compiled a short movie filled with mom's photos, recordings, pictures & stuff from birth till last year ... and projected the movie from a latop onto a big screen. It was great, she was moved to tears. So it was a really cosy, small, intimate surprise party and she loved it!

Lindsey said...

Definitely a do!

My husband turned 30 a couple of years ago and I worked for MONTHS to plan his party. We live in Louisiana and all of his buddies are in New Jersey. Despite trying to get a big group to come down, only 4 of them flew in, but it was perfect.

Ironically (and it broke my heart not to tell him), he had a meltdown about how much he missed his best friends the day they were flying in. I had told him he was picking up one of my girlfriends at the airport (it was a very detailed-oriented plan :)) and really he picked up one of the guys (the other two got in later).

He thought we were having a dinner party at a local bar/restaurant but little did he know that there were 30 people there. He was so surprised and had so much fun. It was a lot of planning and I always get too excited about surprises taht I end up telling him. But this time, I kept my mouth shut and it was well worth it!

diana banana said...

no no no!! the only surprise thing i ever had was when i went across the street to my friends' apartment, there were 4 of us total and they baked me a cake. i was so surprised that i spent way too much time absorbing what had just happened (even though it was a tiny get together) that i didn't enjoy myself as much as i wanted to.

my mom get overwhelmed by surprises. a close friend of mine figured out she was having a surprise party and was happy that she didn't have to deal with the shock.

i personally like the anticipation of an upcoming event, even if it's just knowing that it'll happen without any inkling of the details.

Lauren Kent said...

I've never had a surprise party, but I have attended quite a few. The look on people's face is definitely worth all of the aggravation of keeping it a secret, especially if there are people in attendance who they haven't seen for a while.
Whilst I don't know your mother, and if she'd enjoy such a party, I definitely think you should consider it for her.
XX

Tricia said...

My family just threw me the most wonderful, creative and beautiful surprise bridal shower. My dad built and mowed and cared for some major home improvement, my mom made an amazing farmers market lunch, cakes, pies, breads, you name it she made it, and my sister literally made a farmers market stand with crates of fruits and veggies, homemade jam by my mom, honey by my aunt and rosemary sea salt by my sister. It was the most fun favor I've ever seen! Seeing our family and friends fill bags with produce was amazing! It went by way too fast and I was literally sad when it was over. Long story, long...it was the best surprise I've ever gotten and probably will ever get!

Joanna Goddard said...

i love the idea of telling her something is happening, and having a bunch of things be surprises -- like a surprise guest (or two), surprise present, surprise games, etc....

Erika @ ~TiptoeButterfly~ said...

i SERIOUSLY need to find HOW i can be a blogger like u - all ur posts and SO many comments - *jealous* - i think i need the kick ass job u got, boo on that for me!

anyway my Mom throws me a surprise party for "special" events in my life - and i ALWAYS forget she does that - i LOVE it -- it's a special feeling when someone goes ALL out for you!

*kiss kiss*
Erika~Tiptoe Butterfly~

lanban said...

I think surprise parties are a GREAT idea! My mom turned 60 this year, too, but we threw her a surprise party LAST year, and she loved it! It was so nice for her not to have to worry about planning anything, or who to ask over, or what to eat. She was also overwhelmed by the fact that people actually came, and that she was totally surprised! And we took her out for dinner beforehand, so she was already dressed up. We had an empty book in which people could write a little note to her, and we made sure to have a nice picture of everyone with my mom to put on the page next to their message. She loved it!

Lisa said...

I think surprises are a terrible idea, at least for introverts -- what I mean to say is, only go with this if your mom is comfortable with / likes being center of attention!


I was once part of a surprise bridal shower for an introvert bride. I'll never forget the way her face crumbled in shock and embarrassment when she came home to find 15 ladies there yelling, "surprise!" She actually had to walk outside and try not to cry for 5 minutes before she could join the party. Awkward ...and I felt terrible about it.

I think there are better, more creative ways to *surprise* someone on their birthday - in fact, I'd love to hear some ideas to that effect!

ZombieHilary said...

I have thrown several surprise parties and I think they are super fun! For women I think it can be a little harder because they usually want to dress up and look nice for a party and if it's a surprise then unless you consider that they wont be dressed up. What I have done in the past is have someone or myself say to the birthday person, "hey let's just go to dinner you and me and let's dress up for fun" then take them to the party after or instead of. That way they she will be looking her best and ready to party!

Brigette Olmos-Arreola said...

i love the anticipation of looking forward to an event! i've had a few surprise parties thrown for me, one a month before my birthday. they were so much fun, but i think i like to be a part of the planning.

Julia said...

My dad and I actually just threw my mom's 60th birthday party. Because almost all of her family (children, sisters) live far away, she knew there would be a party but she didn't know details or about some guests. We also surprised her with a photo guestbook and some posters of pictures of her life. It was a huge success, and since she knew everyone was in town, the whole weekend turned into a celebration!

But, if you and most guests live nearby, then I'd definitely try to do a surprise party - as long as she wouldn't be overwhelmed!

kristin said...

I looove surprises, so my vote is YES. However, my husband likes to anticipate, so when I wanted to surprise him with a weekend trip for his 30th birthday, I planned it all, called his boss to get vacation squared away, and then told him about a week ahead of time so he had time to get excited without the stress of planning. Someday, though, I want him to say to me "Pack your bags, we're leaving for Hawaii tomorrow!" That would be my dream. So I think it depends on the person.

kristin said...

PS - I just remembered we threw my folks a 30th anniversary surprise party with the old "it'll just be a family dinner" ruse, then when they got there it was a houseful of extended family, plus lots of their friends. They loved it. I think that's a great compromise. :)

Shanti Knight said...

I love throwing surprise parties! I've never had one thrown for me, but I've thrown a few— for my aunt, for my grandma, for my dad. The one of which I am most proud is the one I threw for my parents' 25th wedding anniversary. It was a huge deal. I had carrot cupcakes, since they had carrot cake at their wedding, and I invited more than 50 of their friends from throughout their life together. Also, this was when I was in college and living 3 hours from home, so when they saw me there I was a surprise, too! They still talk about it. They loved it and were really touched. I totally recommend it.

addie anne said...

I agree with some other commenters that surprise parties are great if the person they are for at least knows that they're going out to do something fun with a small group/family dinner etc. That way they are ready for a night out and they have done their makeup. :) I've thrown two such events, both were fab.

kristen said...

We did a fantastic surprise party for my best friends mom when she turned 60 at a pole dancing place!! she was cracking up!! we called it her sexy 60! it was all her best girlfriends and she loved it. (we also did that for our best friend too and she loved it too. We used different color scheme though and different party favors and stuff.) I also did one for my husband that was 20's themed (because he was leaving his 20's behind and rolling into his 30s!) and that one was super great too. I also did one for one of my best friends that had the ROYGBIV theme because she has always wanted to start store with all the colors of candy separated and call it ROYGBIV. I think noticing dreams, passions, quirks and love that people have and using them in the party is just so thoughtful and they are always so thankful to have been payed attention to, you know what I mean? I think its a for sure!! its just so fun to have the anticipation and they are so excited when they realize all the time you have put into it!

sexy 60-http://lullabylubbock.blogspot.com/2011/09/are-yall-ready-for-this.html

20's party-http://lullabylubbock.blogspot.com/2010/10/leaving-his-roaring-20s-behind-and.html

Sorry this is excessive!! I just meant to say that I think you should go for it!!

Nicole* said...

personally i LOVE surprises! Even things that aren't parties! My bachelorette weekend was a surprise and our honeymoon location is a surprise to me! I say do it - she will feel so loved!

Tragic Sandwich said...

I think it depends on:

1) The birthday girl/guy's general attitude toward surprises.
2) The birthday girl/guy's general attitude toward birthdays.
3) The birthday girl/guy's attitude toward this particular birthday.

I've only been to one surprise party, and it was a hit. The surprise recipient was turning 30 and feeling down (but not completely depressed) about it, so having a bunch of her friends unexpectedly celebrate her was something she really enjoyed. But not everyone would react the same way, so I think it's important to keep the specific person and their overall preferences in mind.

Holly Dart said...

I think it depends on the personality of the person you are giving the party for. Do they like to be in control and plan for things ahead of time? I threw an intimate surprise party for my husband when he turned 30 and invited some of his old college buddies to come to town and stay overnight. In hindsight I shouldn't have surprised my husband and I should have ordered pizza instead of cooking a fancy meal for the guys!

ps my mom threw me a surprise party when I turned 16. I would have rather known and helped plan.

sarahgilmour said...

I got a surprise 21st birthday party from my college friends, and I loved it. I was SO totally surprised...had no idea it was coming!

My family threw a surprise birthday party for my Gram's 80th birthday. We didn't go nuts or anything because we didn't want to give my old grandma a heart attack, but she was delightfully surprised. (We were a little worried she wouldn't like the attention, but she was so happy that day and really enjoyed seeing all of the friends and family who came to wish her well!)

Meg said...

We threw a surprise weekend for my mom's 60th and it went over really well. My father gave my mom a weekend bag on friday morning with a list of what to pack. On friday night the immediate family all got together for dinner (2nd surprise were the kids and grandkids). Then saturday we spent the day together. Saturday her closest friends joined us for dinner (surprise 3). I would highly recommend it it. We are lucky that there are great weekend getaways within driving distance. I would 100% do it again. She loved the whole weekend.

Anonymous said...

Surprise all the way!

Amanda said...

I don't know if I agree with this but my mom always quotes Mr. Knightley in Emma when he's talking about surprises, "The pleasure is never enhanced and the inconvenience is considerable."

AMS said...

My mom's 60th birthday is on the 29th and I am planning it right now... My problem is that my mom doesn't have many friends. She devoted her life to her kids and husband, so my close friends are all a bit her kids as well... i'm planning an afternoon into night party if the weather permits it, we'll be mostly outdoors. So she may know who's coming but she doesn't know what's gonna happen. I want may picnic tables with white linnens, many bottles of red wine, baguette, cheeze and many delicious dishes. White lites in the trees and good music. ... Is this ok for a 60th? This makes me wonder...

Care said...

We threw my mom a 60th 60's themed party and she absolutely loved it! She is a "planner" kind of person and knowing this we were pretty nervous. However, the key was to bring her plenty of options for clothes to change into if she doesn't like the outfit she was in before she knew she was going to her party. Bring her makeup too! and since it was themed we had lots of fun stuff for her to put on. It was awesome!

scsd said...

love the anticipation of a big event... surprises are def overrated!

blair @ scsd

Ally Pelle said...

my sister and i threw my parents a surprise party for their 25th anniversary a couple of summers ago and it was one of the BEST things i've ever done. it was a lot of work and very stressful, but worth every minute of it. my mom still says it was one of her favorite days of her life and it brought my dad to tears. the pictures of their faces when they realized are incredible - you can't fake that! I hope you decide to do it.

Flannery W. said...

A couple of years ago in my senior year of high school, we all threw surprise parties for everyone's birthdays. It's kind of silly that we all didn't see it coming to us, but each one of us was truly surprised and happy for the party. I know it'd work with my friends, but with my parents or boyfriend- the kind of people who hate surprises, I think it's just best to let them know you're throwing a party for them whether they like it or not. If you mom enjoys parties, I think it'd be a lovely idea. Just from personal experience, don't put too much emphasis on their age. I think my mom almost killed me when we present her with a cake full of 50 candles. Just something to watch out for. (:

my little apartment said...

YES!! SURPRISES ARE THE BEST THING EVER!!!

I always want to be surprised, whether it's a party, surprise guests coming to town, not knowing what I'm getting for Christmas, and I especially want to be surprised when I get engaged and whenever I have a kiddo. I love throwing surprise parties and going to them. DO IT!

Inbal said...

I personally love surprises - good ones that is (but I don't get many I must say!).
My family has organised a surprise party for my grandparents and my parents on various round occasions and they always loved it.
Its all about the preparations for it and activities you arrange for it, for example my sister made the guests at my mom's surprise 60th party write little notes and my mom had to guess who they were from :)

Mollie D said...

If you asked me in person, I would say no, but secretly, I would love it! Who wouldn't like feeling so loved!

TERI REES WANG said...

For Chinese... "60" is a very lucky birthday, and much celebrated.

I think the entire 'surprise' thing is over-rated, but the whole deciding to celebrate her big day, and having all the planning to be taken out of her hands... this is the bigger gift.

I say to give her the respectable 'heads-up', so she can gleefully show up to her own party without suspicions, or questions, but rather just for the fun of family and friends.

Cheers!

Oblio and Arrow said...

I agree with alot of what's been said. One, make sure the guest of honor (your mom) knows you remembered her and are planning something special ahead of time so there is no hurt feelings and she still has SOMETHING to look forward to--this also allows her to look "ready" if she cares about that sort of thing, and isn't in sweatpants for the surprise *unless she is cool with that, in which case cool!

alice lee photography said...

I say go for the surprise party. I threw my first-ever surprise engagement party for a good friend and she was totally surprised and really seemed to enjoy it. I did make it seem like I was throwing her one sometime in September (party was in August) so she felt like I was doing something special but it turned out even better as a surprise.

If you'd like, here's a little post I wrote about it and pictures as well. There's a good one of her surprised face :)

http://aliceleephotography.blogspot.com/2011/08/alisons-surprise-bridal-shower.html

Sasha said...

I am not the biggest fan of surprise parties, but I do like surprises. I think that it is best to let her know that you are planning something, but to keep certain details a surprise (location, certain guests et cetera). I think it can be tricky if you pretend to not be doing anything big and then the person decides to initiate something on their own.

Shia said...

Do you throw her a party every year? If so, then she thinks there's no party she might worry that you forgot. If not, then I say surprise 60th bday! =)

worldaccordingtoshia.blogspot.com

♥ Shia

Erica C. said...

My family threw a surprise party for my mom when she turned 40 and she LOVED it! It was the first time I had ever seen her cry (though they were tears of joy, of course). I've never been the recipient of a surprise party, but I'd love it if someone threw me one! I think it all depends on how much your mom likes being in the spotlight. If you think she'd enjoy everyone making a fuss over her and would rather not stress over making her own party plans, I say do it. But if you think she'd rather be in on the plans and then just sit back and enjoy the party in a casual way, then include her and let her get excited!

Randi Hensley said...

We threw a surprise party for my mom's 50th. She is ALWAYS the one planning nice things for other people, so it was really great to see her surrounded by people who love her and who had put effort into making her feel adored.

She lives in Texas and I live in Chicago, so I waited until after the initial surprise to reveal that I had flown in. Double surprise! The photo of her face when she saw me is one of my favorite pictures of her EVER. We both got a little weepy when we were reunited.

http://teamhensley.blogspot.com/2011_02_01_archive.html

So, I'm for surprise parties! I think everyone should get one at least once. But, I do agree with others, that it should be planned to fit your mom's personality.

Siobhan said...

My mum is a total martyr so a surprise party for her 60th was the only way to go. We tracked down old neighbours we'd lost touch with and invited her cousins she hadn't seen in decades. All of her five kids gave a speech. plus her mother and husband. She was in a dreamland of love for months afterwards.

Ashleigh said...

I think it would be amazing!! I've thrown them for family & friends and have always gotten a great reaction :)

Molliee said...

I LOVE surprise parties!! a DO in my book!

jena said...

do it! I threw a surprise party for my parent's 30th anniversary this past spring. I knew they wouldn't do anything special for it, and I wanted them to know I loved them both and wanted to celebrate their marriage.

I told them I was going out of town, and even had some of my friends tell them they were going with me. I also had to blatantly make up lies the night before when my mom called to ask me how the lake water level was.

My uncle called and invited them to a fancy dinner, saying he had gift certificates to a really nice restaurant that they had to use that night or they would expire. So, they came to his house all dressed up and had absolutely no idea. My mom immediately burst into tears when she came in the room and saw all of her friends and family. She asked me, "you drove all the way back for this?!" and it took her several minutes before she understood that I had never even left town.

In the end, I think they loved it, and I think their friends and family really enjoyed celebrating with them - they all asked if I would throw a surprise anniversary party for them.

http://wheremyfeetshavebeen.blogspot.com/2011/05/anniversary-party.html

Nicole said...

I LOVE surprise parties! Both throwing them and receiving them. I got one this year for my birthday and couldn't have been happier! Though I do have to say, the whole week before I was a little sad and convinced no one would remember my birthday...

Debbie said...

My husband threw me a surprise party a couple years ago. I actually don't prefer surprise parties. I felt really sad leading up to my birthday because my husband sort of pretended that we were not doing anything special. On the night of my birthday we went to dinner and came home to a dark home... full of people. I was TERRIFIED when I walked through our door and people were yelling "surprise!"
So basically, I much prefer having stuff to look forward to rather than a surprise.

la petite coquine said...

My sweetheart's birthday is on Cinco de Mayo, so tacos and margaritas are sort of built-in. For his 21st birthday, I took him to a divine French bistro in Baltimore, then completely surprised him with a giant Mexican fiesta. It was a ton of work, but seeing his face fill with genuine surprise was so worth it.

Fashion Flirt said...

For my mom's 60th she wanted to have a big party, but she wanted it to be just the way SHE wanted it. I guess it depends upon the person. I think I'd love a surprise story, as I've never had one before, but my mom would hate it. She likes the anticipation, just like you.

So... I guess that it depends - do you think it would be something your mom would enjoy? If so, then why the heck not? If not, then pass.

Alexa @ A Life in Drive said...

I love throwing surprise parties! I've never had one thrown for me, though. Maybe this year for my 30th birthday :-)

Jessica P. said...

I threw a surprise party for my husband last year. It was very big and very epic! He had a good time, but it was hard for him to adjust to it. He had thought we were doing something else, and all of a sudden there were 30+ people screaming happy birthday at him! He said it took him about 2 hours until he'd calmed down and felt normal. He also struggled with having to greet and talk to so many guests right at the beginning at he party. He was used to greeting friends as they came in gradually. I'm still glad I threw it for him, but I think it was a once in a life time sort of thing :)

Christina said...

i think the idea of a surprise party is more fun than the actual surprise. this coming from a girl who despises surprises....

Diana said...

I used to think I wasn't that bothered about them. But for my eighteenth birthday my best friend in high school organized a surprise party complete with a cake centered about my favourite tv show. Knowing that she had gone to such trouble gathering our friends in order to surprise was (and still is) such an amazing gift. It really meant the world to me. Ten years later, we're still great friends. :)

Amanda Mae said...

Personally, I HATE surprises. Of any kind. I've been very vocal about not liking to be surprised, so I don't think anyone would attempt to throw me a surprise party, because I would probably find it more frustrating than enjoyable. However, if your mom enjoys little surprises, I think there's a big chance she would enjoy a surprise party.

scottybecca said...

I think it depends on the person. Does your mom organize surprise parties for other people? If she does than you should definitely organize one for her. My mom's 50th birthday party was a surprise and it was one of the best days of her life. People shared great stories about her and it was so fun.

My husband threw me a surprise 30th birthday party and it was fantastic. The best surprise ever and I hate being the center of attention. My parents and brother flew to Scotland (where I live) for the occasion and it was amazing!

Briel79 said...

I've always wanted a surprise party! The closest thing I've had was when I turned 30 my parents surprised me and met me, my sister, and my friend Valerie at Disneyland (they live in northern CA and I live in LA). Val was in on the whole thing but my sister didn't even know they were coming. I was so happy!

Channeling Contessa said...

I guess it largely depends on the person, but I threw a surprise party for my mom for her 50th and she HATED it. She hate is so much that the year leading up to her 60th she incessantly reminded us not to throw her a surprise party for her 60th. Seems to me people either love them or hate them!

Krystal said...

My husband just threw me a surprise party Saturday! The second in 3 years. Apparently I'm really gullible. I think the thought put into throwing a surprise party is so sweet and always appreciated.

v. said...

it depends on your mom really. would *she* like a surprise party???

you could always keep it half of a surprise.... you could tell her about a dinner, let her help plan the menu or location (so she can share in your giddy excitement) but then surprise her with a few special guests or a larger event than she is expecting. that way she will be thrown off by helping with the plans and REALLY be surprised.

good luck!

Style Souk said...

I've had one surprise birthday party, and - once the candles on my cake had been blown - made my fiance vow to never (ever, ever, ever!) do it again.

Though I was touched to have friends and family gathered together in one room - who are, otherwise, scattered around the globe - I largely felt (1) Shocked, (2) Shocked, (3) Shocked, and (4) Unable to relax.

It's almost as though there was a pressure to 'entertain' - as the centre of attention - for which I had not been able to mentally prepare.

And boy, do I wish I'd been given the chance to wear a prettier dress...

Sarah x

http://stylesouk.wordpress.com

Christy said...

I threw a surprise party for my husband and he hated it. He was so thrown off guard, he was uncomfortable the whole night. I think it was largely due to the size of the party - a smaller surprise with close friends and family would have gone over much better.

Kathy said...

I love surprise parties but HONESTLY, I would give her a surprise party because if you tell her that it is amazing; out of this world fun; etc. she might be expecting too much and it might not be what you described. But on the day of the surprise party...well, I'd just agree with Style Souk!

http://cupcakes-music-fashion.blogspot.com

Jill Graddy said...

A surprise party sounds like a wonderful idea, but you might pretend to invite her out to dinner and then surprise her with the party so she's dressed up. She may be unhappily surprised if she shows up less than presentable.

Stuart said...

Its her 60th do I say do it.... we did one on my Dads 60th, and he loved it! We did it in the style of 'this is your life' (A UK program where they surprise a celebrity who had a long and great career, and surprise by bringing out people they haven't seen for year). At the end of the show they present the person with a large red leather book with photos, comments from family and friends and their achievements. It always made me cry, hehehe :)
Stu
http://whatwilsonwants.blogspot.com/

bkm said...

I *just* had my first experience with a surprise party a couple of weeks ago, when my best friend and my future mother-in-law threw one for my 30th birthday. Thinking about surprise parties in the past, I never thought I'd be into having one thrown for me, but I can say that it was one of the best things I've ever experienced. It was SO MUCH FUN seeing all of my friends and family standing around waiting for me to arrive. I say do it!

Reese said...

I've thrown two surprise parties in my life, and I'll never do it again. Both were birthday parties. The first one was for a friend who was turning 25. I didn't realize he was upset about this birthday and thought it marked the beginning of his being "old". When he came through the door and we all shouted "Surprise!", he started to cry, and not in a good way. He spent most of the night sobbing for his "lost youth". I told him I was sorry he was so upset, but really didn't understand why he was convinced he was now old. His response was "Because you are 19! You are still young! I'm old and falling apart". Not a happy night for anyone.

The second surprise party was for a college friend; she was turning 20. She was about three hours late; she was coming by after having dinner out with her family (her younger sister kept calling us to keep us up to speed on what was going on, and approximately how long until the birthday girl would show up. A variety of events slowed her arrival down, and by the time she finally showed up we had finished all the champagne and were ready to start on the cake. She loved that we had a party for her, and everyone had a great time (easy, we were all drunk!).

Meghan said...

Eeeek! I'm not a fan of surprise parties......that is hard one because some people love them. I think EVERYONE loves a party that is planned :)

Jeanette Kayne said...

My birthday is TODAY! And I want more than anything to have a surprise party thrown for me. I do all of the planning for other friends birthdays and it would be nice to be treated for once ;)
I say throw a surprise party! I don't think you can make anyone feel more special!

B said...

I think suprises are awesome!! We just threw my father a 60th weekend bash. He thought he was coming to my sister's house to watch her kids, and all the kids (from all over) adn grandkids, where all there with customized tshirts, hats, we went all out!! it was great, my father was never this suprised in his life! he couldnt speak for liek a half a hour, his mouth was just hanging open! It was fantastic, all the hard work we put into it was sooo worth it!

Melinda said...

I loved all my surprise birthday parties! My sister threw them for me at 16, 21, and 25. I have always wanted to throw one for her, but haven't been able to yet!!! I vote YES for a surprise party, but maybe tell her you are doing a small party so she can be dressed correctly and also feels both feelings of anticipation and delight?

mtran said...

My bf is coming back from Australia in 2 weeks for only 4 days. His birthday is in October so he won't be in Houston to celebrate. I am planning a surprise birthday party with his best friend right now! Funny that your post is about surprise parties.

I do think surprise parties are fun. It's always great to see someone's pure reaction.

Liliana said...

I love surprise parties. I threw one for my husband and he loved it. He thought we were attending a neighbor's party and was so thrilled to see his friends and family waiting to greet him. Do, do, do!

petitor said...

I say "totally go for it". Surprises are totally unexpected which is why it's more special and memorable. I try planning surprises for my mom's birthday every year, but some how she's always a head of me. I think she just "knows" what's up. :)

kristin Connell said...

I LOVE surprises... but I must say, my husband tried to plan a surprise birthday party for me and I found out and was SO relieved I knew about the party in advance so I could buy a cute new outfit to wear and include a couple people he forgot to add to the list. The party turned out excellent, so basically what I'm trying to say is that you can't lose either way.

Consider the Lilies said...

I love, love, love surprises. The best was my 19th birthday. I knew there was a surprise party coming, I caught wind of it. Keeping the surprise is the hardes part on the planners. So anyway, I knew it was coming. I knew friends were coming home from college. My best friend came to pick me up with the ruse of going to the mall. I went along because I knew when he brought me home everyone would be wiating there to surprise me. Little did I now that when we entered the mall, they were all there coming out of various stores to surprise me. It was the best because I really was surprised. I am 56 now, but I still remember the joy and laughter that came with truly being surprised.

Claire said...

whatever you do, DON'T TEXT HER about her surprise party!!! I once texted my roommate asking if she was coming to her surprise party. hehe...

I had a surprise going away party thrown for me when I was leaving the country for college at the end of high school. I loved it!

wildchild said...

surprises are my absolute favorite. absolute. so maybe pretend to be throwing her a little thing or something later than the real party, so that she can still get excited, but then bam! huge party a week or two ahead of time. she'll love it :)

Maryam said...

Personally, I wouldn't want a surprise party. But that's just me and that's because I would like a bit more control over such an important day in my life. Also, I feel it is sweet when someone says they WANT to throw you a party. Best of luck with it and I hope she doesn't happen to see this post if you decide to go through with the surprise!

Lilli boo said...

I threw a 'Suprise Party' for my partner and it was a hoot. What I told him was we were going to dinner with 8 friends, so that's what he was anticipating, however I booked a room above the restuarant and when we walked in, 30 friends & family yelled "Suprise!!" he couldn't believe it and danced a jig - was very funny and it set the mood for what was a rolicking night..they are loads of fun with the right mix....

shiramisu said...

i say do it! i threw a surprise 150th party last year (my parents both turned 60 and my brother turned 30) and invited everyone's nearest and dearest. they had no idea and were so shocked that everyone came (including out of towners). granted you could gather everyone without the surprise, but it's not as fun...

Mrs. Towers said...

Tell her. I hate surprises, but I love parties. I am with you, the anticipation and planning is part of the fun. By the way, I love the cow picture. My sister painted huge paintings of goat heads, and it reminds me of those.

Anonymous said...

I would HATE having somebody throw me a surprise party. All of the fun of a big event is looking forward to it...

Plus, it's important to know what kind of evening you're going to have so you can prepare mentally. What if your mom just wanted a quiet dinner party with the family, but ended up having to chat and entertain tons of friends?

Wendy said...

I love surprise parties. I was thrown one my freshman year of college, and since I'm the kind of person who likes to bake my own birthday cake, I felt so flattered and loved that my friends would go to so much trouble.

I threw one for my boyfriend (now husband) a few years later, since he had taken part in so many surprise parties but had never had one for himself. He is so so difficult to surprise (he always guesses his presents!), but he was completely blown away, especially since he hadn't planned on doing anything at all for his birthday. I had convinced him I was too busy to have a party and that we would do something just the two of us in a week or so when my schedule calmed down, so he was feeling a little blue and lonely on his birthday. The surprise party came at a perfect time for him.

I think part of the fun of a surprise party is not expecting any form of party at all. If you typically have a party for your mom, she will probably expect some form of celebration, and therefore the surprise party might lose some merit. I think the surreal, "this-is-really-happening" quality is most of the fun for the recipient.

kelly@tearinguphouses said...

i looove surprise parties. threw one for an ex boyfriend and it was a blast. did a band, an open bar, the whole bit. he was completely caught off guard. pretty sure he loved it.

Kathleen said...

We planned surprise parties for each of my parents on their 60th birthdays, and both of them were at the house. Mom's a year older than dad, so he should have seen it coming but we totally got him. (The party was a day or two before so he wouldn't suspect anything.) Go for it!

Anna said...

Oh I have ALWAYS wanted a surprise party!

Make!Do! said...

We did a surprise party for my Mom's 60th = rented a hall, made it into a special pub (she loves beer so we had people bring different six-packs instead of presents and created custom coasters, wine labels, pub signs) and had family fly in from out of town. But honestly, if we had had some cash at the time I would rather have flown her to some warm spot for a lovely holiday. Maybe her 65th...

Lyla said...

When they hit just right, they're great! Last winter i threw my husband a surprise 40th at a funky gallery in the Tenderloin in SF, featuring a photography show by an old school skate photographer, Glen Friedman, and some art by Shepard Ferry. I had a taco truck pull up in the alley behind the gallery and punk loud on the ipod. A keg of PBR, and friends from all over, including his best friend from back home. He was totally surprised and LOVED it! It wouldn't have been so fun if it hadn't been for the perfect setting and friends.

CarotteB said...

Hi! I've thrown a surprise party last week end for the 25th birtday of my cousin. We invited family and friends, and he was sooo astonished to see everybody. His look when he discovered all of us in the room (75 people) was amazing. He said it was the best birthday he ever had, so I think it's the best thing you can do you someone (that is not against surprises usually).

Corrie Anne said...

Ayiyiiyiiyiyiiii! I hate surprise parties. I gave one away to the recipient once. NOBODY TOLD ME IT WAS A SURPRISE. Woops.

Megs Hummingbird said...

It is my Dad's 75th bday this year and my sister and I wanted to throw him a surprise party. he lives in NY and she lives in FL and I live in CA so it was going to be a big deal, plus we both just had babies recently. Anyways, it turns out that after we set the date and started inviting people we were told that he already had tickets purchased for a trip with his girlfriend. So the surprise got ruined and we had the party 3 months ahead of his birthday instead. I'd say surprises are good when your young and it is someone like your husband or best friend but for your parents, they might have different plans or ideas about their birthdays so just ask them what they want.

Court said...

I had one thrown for me and it made me feel so special that my friends went to so much work to gather my friends for me on my birthday when I didn't expect anything!

Anonymous said...

When my mum was 70 she said very clearly that she wanted a surprise party - in other words, organise it all but don't tell me anything except when to be ready. It was great! She didn't have to do any fretting and neither did we since we knew she would turn up and not have a heart attack due to the shock. Why not ask her what she'd like?

Lindsey said...

I'm not a fan of surprises! However, my to my surprise, I didn't want to find out the gender of our baby and it will be a big surprise in a few weeks!! So...why not? I think that usually when surprise parties go wrong it's because the person being celebrated doesn't want a celebration at all and then they're forced into it, or the celebrated one is dressed inappropriately due to not knowing. As long as your mom likes parties and celebrations in her honor and you can make sure she's dressed to celebrate, I think it will be amazing! <3

me said...

Personally I'm not really a fan of big surprises. I like to know in advance what I am in for, be it a party, a trip, or even a wedding proposal (ah ah!), and sometimes the surprise ends up not being a good one! However they are nice when it comes to little things such as a little pressie or nice dinner waiting for you at home.

Jennifer said...

depends on your mother of course! some people hate being surprised, others love it. it's more fun for you (i would think) to plan it and then see her face than for your mom but it also alleviates the stress of from her if she did or didn't want to celebrate the day in style.

thanks for having such an awesome blog - i love the variety of your posts!

shine little light* said...

I just threw my first one last saturday!! For my hubby, he did find it surreal but he was completely overwhlmed by the love and effort put in. I had a great time planning it too! *s*

Loris S. said...

Do it! I threw one for my mom's 40th a few years ago & we gave my dad a surprise party for his 50th just this past Sunday! They're incredible; it was just a laid-back lunch with close family & friends. Everyone gets so excited & hey, if they're around good company, they'll always have a good time!

filoderba said...
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Sascha said...

I've thrown lots of surprise parties, but never had one thrown for me! Must be because I'm such an amazing party planner :-)

Anonymous said...

I had a surprise birthday party on my 9th and 19th birthday and LOVED them!! it was fantastic to see all my friends in one place, some i hadnt seen in aaages.... but then again im a very lazy person so if someone doesnt organise the birthday for me, i would never bother celebrating it.... :)
I say DO IT! i know my mum would have loved it! (infact, i wish i had thought of it for her 60th last year.... whoops....)

helen said...

We held a surprise party for my mama's 50th. I knew she'd hate it (no-one listened to my warnings) and she did. We didn't hear the end of it for over a year! Bad times.
My hubby recently told me that when he was planning on proposing, he'd thought about inviting all our friends and having them all shout "Marry him?" when I walked in. But he decided against it because he wasn't sure it was romantic. I had thought that would've been super fun, but actually I think I would've been annoyed that I hadn't had time to gear myself up for it and make myself look nice and everyone would be dressed up except me! This was one of the issues with my mum's party-we couldn't tell her to dress up as it would've made her suspicious so she probably felt a bit out of place (plus, she hates attention on her). Having said all this, I would LOVE a surprise party for my 30th or 40th and I think if your ma doesn't mind all attention on her and won't feel that she's been ganged up on(!) you should go for it, I think it really shows how much you appreciate someone if you go to all that effort for them. Hx
www.helenlimbrick.com

Kate said...

I'm with the idea of hinting your mom about a surprise that's coming her way ! Let her anticipate and get puzzled ! I'm sure once she has walked in the party she'll be overwhelmed and will enjoy real time!
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studiocitro said...

I had a surprise baby shower and LOVED it!!!!! And I threw my husband a mexican-themed birthday party mexican is his favorite food) and he loved it. I think they are a great idea and they show that someone has gone the extra mile to think it and organise it :)

Zoe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zoe said...

you are such an inspiration!

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hello, Friday said...

I love all kinds of parties, but surprise party is not on my list. Well, wait! I'd approve it if it's done correctly. Have fun planning it. xoxo

http://hellofridaybypaik.blogspot.com/

Cristina said...

I organized a big surpise party for my fiancé (now husband) for his 26 birthday. Oh what memories! It was so much fun organizing it and keeping it all secret.
Some days before I was in a shop buying some torchlights and other stuff for the party and I remember him calling me on the phone asking where I was (we lived together) and me answering "I'm in a shoe shop" (first place that came into my mind.. interesting.. ;-) and a lady in the shop heared me lieing and looked at me very badly. Another time he called as I was driving with a friend a little truck (transportin bar counter and lots of bottles) and I had to lie again..
I rented an old farm house, I gathered there lots of people (friends + relatives), I took him to a nice restaurant, after dinner I told him I heared about a party in a certain place (in summer teher are often parties around here..) so I drove him there. When we arrived in the parking he recognized some cars so he told me happily: "Uau! lots of our friends are here!" then we reached the house and everybody was inside very silently. He saw the candles lights through the windows but it was all so silent (even if there were so many cars parked) so he said : "what a strange party, are they celebrating a mass?!?!" at that point people opened the door and came out!
I will remember the face of my husband for ages!! :-D
The party lasted all night long (till 5 in the morning!) and everybody is still remembering and talking about it nowadays!

Sara said...

With my parents Golden Wedding Anniversary my bro and I did all the organizing and then sat down a few days before with our parents with a bottle of champagne, a cake and told them of the celebrations. So, it was still a surprise but with time for them to get their outfits sorted and have some'looking forward' time.

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Love the black and white photo!

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Michelle Lee said...

I am definitely for th surprise party hope it will be fun for your family :)

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Chelsea Earnhardt Plax said...

do it! IMHO there are few real surprises in life. not knowing the sex of your baby until birth is one of them and walking into a surprise party thrown in your honor is another. who doesn't like to feel special and important? good luck!

mkendall said...

I think surprise parties only work if everyone can keep the secret. I've been to a few where the person found out the day of and it wasn't that exciting.

My dad threw my mom a huge one though for their 25th anniversary/her 50th birthday. (the two were just three days apart). He got all of her friends, including old college roommate and her family came in from KY. She was totally surprised and everybody had a wonderful time.

It's amazing to me that I was able to keep the secret for so long considering I was only 11 and I hate keeping happy secrets from people.

Daniela said...

I have never had a surprise party thrown for me EVER and I think that's why I would like one. I just think the hard part - if you decide to be committed to throwing a surprise party for someone you love - is how do you fool them? There is the classic OH Everyone forgot OOOPS! But that's kinda obvious when it's a big occasion like your mom's. And you are right it is nice to have something to look forward to - in the case if you told her ahead of time - and so I can't decide... lol

Anonymous said...

I'm your Mom's age and I's suggest forgoing the surprise portion of the party. Consider including her in the planning of her event, she may have some interesting ideas, and want to include some people you wouldn't think of. I set up my own 60th and invited friends from all over the country to celebrate their support and love over the years. It was wonderful.

Caroline said...

I like having the months of anticipation! Surprise parties aren't a big thing in my family, which I'm happy about. However, my brother, sister and I gave my parents a surprise party for their 30 anniversary, 4 months after their actual anniversary and I think it was one of the best gifts we've ever given them. They were so overcome with happiness and joy of everything we did for them that day. It was awesome to see how much it meant to them to have all their family and friends with them to celebrate.

Avie said...

We threw a surprise party for my dad's 70th this year. We had about 60 guests, all his family, cousins, old work buddies, school friends, a couple that he& my mam met on their honeymoon 44 years earlier... he was completely shocked, shed a tear & had a great night, and kept talking about it for weeks & weeks afterwards. We knew he'd appreciate the surprise, but it all depends on the person. I'd say a surprise party is a great idea if you can get lots of surprise guests there, that's the main thing. Good luck if you decide to do it!

Erica @ Acire Adventures said...

Myself and a friend threw a surprise party for one of our best girl friends a few years ago. It was actually a huge success and I would totally do it again. My sister and I are planning on throwing my mom a surprise 50th party this November too. :)

Tina/ Morning Person Tina said...

I say go for it! I have never had a surprise birthday before and have (secretly) been jealous of people who have! Your mom deserves it :)

Mighty Burns said...

I myself have never had one. but I think it would be fun :) My mom just turned 60 in August and while her people were planning her party she started to plan her own thinking noone cared LOL OOPS! they ended up having to tell her about it

April said...

We just threw an intimate surprise party for my in-laws 30th wedding anniversary. They absolutely loved it. All of their children are scattered over the US and they were bumming that they wouldn't see everyone until Christmas again. It was perfect timing!

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