Search Resources

How to Plan an Epic Surprise Party: A Step-By-Step Guide

Life is better when it’s full of parties, so don’t skimp on the details!

With Peerspace, you really can be the host with the most. Peerspace is in the business of making party dreams come true. With the tips on this blog, a variety of gorgeous venues, and awesome add-on options like drinks and catering, we’re here to help you take any party from basic to epic. Peerspace also happens to have the perfect space for whatever kind of event you’re planning, whether it’s a casual outdoor barbeque, an elegant engagement party, or a grand birthday bash.

Perhaps one of the trickiest parties to pull off is the surprise party. Every detail matters and not everyone may be up for the challenge, but when planned effectively, they can be one of the most memorable ways to celebrate any occasion. So if you’re looking for a way to spice up your next event, check out this step-by-step guide to planning an epic, stress-free surprise party.

1. Pick a personalized theme

Choose a theme based on the guest of honor’s favorite movies, books, or TV shows. A theme could even be as simple as a color scheme featuring a few of their favorite hues! This theme or color palette will help inform your choices for the venue, invitations, tableware, decorations, music, food, and activities.Do your research thoroughly, though, because you won’t get to ask the party honoree for input!

2. Book a surprising venue

Source: Peerspace

Since you’ll want the party to be a complete surprise, it’s best to choose a location that doesn’t necessarily scream “party.” Peerspace can help you find an unconventional venue like a store, home, gallery, warehouse, or even an outdoor garden. That way, when your unsuspecting guest arrives, they’ll be less likely to catch on to your scheming!

Explore Spaces

3. Send out sneaky invites

There’s nothing worse than a spoiled surprise, so keep your invites on the down-low! Disguise your true intentions with code words and make sure all of your co-conspirators know the secret lingo. You can design and order your own clever invitations from scratch all on Canva. If graphic design isn’t your forte, resources like Minted offer an array of customizable invitations to suit any style.

Or, if physical invitations are too risky, keep it digital with email e-vites or a cleverly-named private Facebook event. Include the time, date, venue, dress code, RSVP contact information, and any other relevant details. Lastly, remember to make it extra clear that it is a SURPRISE party so that no one accidentally lets the cat out of the bag!

4. Have a strong alibi

In order to keep your party secret safe throughout the planning process, you’ll need an excuse to mask what you’re REALLY working on. Your chosen venue can even become a part of your alibi. For example, if it is a theater or other artsy space, you can invent an exciting new fake project. You may also want to have a fake party plan that is totally different from your actual plan, especially if the surprise party is for a birthday. In general, the key to keeping the surprise party a secret is making sure everyone is on the same page. Consider hosting a meeting early on with everyone involved in the planning process and creating a secret group chat where you can discuss all of the logistics.

5. Add the sweet finishing touch

Source: Unsplash / Brooke Lark

No matter what you are celebrating, no party is complete without something sweet!  If you want to get extra fancy, you can set up a dessert station with a selection of different small bites such as colorful candies, custom cookies, macarons, cakesicles, cake-pops, whoopie pies, petit fours, and cupcakes. 

Display all your goodies with colorful jars, cake stands, platters, and trays, and top it off with a tablecloth, banners, and centerpieces that match your party theme. Pinterest is an endless source of inspiration for an aesthetically-pleasing dessert table. Donut walls are also a popular, fun alternative to cake! You can order a pre-made pegboard on Etsy, or do it yourself with some supplies from your local hardware and craft stores. 

6. Order catering for food and drinks

Let’s be honest, most parties revolve around the food. So put some thought into your sustenance! Order from their favorite restaurant, set up a taco bar, or select a Peerspace venue with catering options to simplify the planning process. You can also book a private bartending service for cocktails and/or mocktails, or set up a cooler with fun bottled drink options like sparkling water, margaritas, and old-fashioned sodas.

7. Turn up the music

Every party needs a soundtrack. Hire a DJ, book a band on Gigsalad or The Bash, or simply curate a killer playlist based on the guest of honor’s favorite songs. If you’re booking a Peerspace venue, you can find a place with all of the audio equipment you need.

Explore Spaces

Time your music so that a memorable song starts as soon as the guest of honor walks in, and put someone in charge of recording their surprised reaction! Their social media followers will surely appreciate the memento.

8. Time to decorate

Source: Peerspace

Remember the theme you chose in step one? Now it’s time to find the decorations to match! Get creative with tissue paper and confetti, rent thematic props, thrift for unique pieces, order flower walls and neon signs, or keep it simple with minimalistic balloons and centerpieces for every table. Many of the venues on Peerspace are already Instagram-worthy, so you may even be able to skip this step entirely!

9. Scope out hiding spots

Make sure the venue has plenty of places for guests to hide for the big reveal. Familiarize yourself with the furniture pieces in your venue before you book it, or rent some if necessary.

10. Hide your supplies

Ask a friend if you can store all of the food, decorations, and other party supplies at their home to prevent the guest of honor from getting suspicious. This is a simple but important step that can make or break your surprise.

Pulling off a surprise party is tricky, but 100% possible. If you follow these steps, your epic surprise celebration will go off without a hitch—the guest of honor will never see it coming!

Find the perfect party venues on Peerspace


Get together somewhere better

Book thousands of unique spaces directly from local hosts.

Explore Spaces

Share your space and start earning

Join thousands of hosts renting their space for meetings, events, and photo shoots.

List Your Space

Daily Inspiration