21 Surprise Birthday Party Ideas That Your Guest of Honour Will Love

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21 surprise party ideas - collage of surprised people.

Planning a surprise birthday party for your friend, loved one or colleague? Here’s how to really impress your guest of honour by planning the ultimate surprise party.

Surprise Party Venues

1. Go Wild at Your Local Zoo

An ever-popular option is to book the events space at your local zoo and theme your invitations, decorations, entertainment and refreshments to match the location. You can provide face painting at the venue and decorate everything to maximise that jungle feel! 

Cocktails and Bar Events provides a fully customisable birthday party bar package that can include up to five different cocktails of your choice, so how about having our expert mixologists whip up a deliciously creamy Funky Monkey or a refreshing Zebra Fizz for your honouree? We’ll deck out the front of your mobile bar with themed accessories and print custom bar menus with your chosen photos, wording and drinks to provide that extra thoughtful touch.

2. Sip Bubbly at Your Local Aquarium

Bubbly is even better when it’s served under the sea! Opt for an underwater theme and deck out the function room of your nearest aquarium with magical accessories fit for a mermaid. If it’s an adults-only affair, serve up a nautical cocktail or two and tickle your guests’ tastebuds with modern classics like the brilliant deep blue sea Maritime Martini with its irresistible blend of vodka, gin, blue curacao and vermouth — and not forgetting that essential little lime twist.

3. Thrill Your Guests with a Theme Park Party

Is your guest of honour a bit of a thrill-seeker? If the idea of fast-track access to their favourite rollercoasters is their idea of heaven, why not throw their special surprise party at a theme park? You can organise packages with the venue that include access to a function room, catering, fast pass ride access and the option for guests to pay for their own park entry — helping to keep the excitement up and the costs down.

4. Make Your Mark with the Perfect Marquee

There’s a reason why the marquee has been an ever-popular choice for parties over the past 50 years. You can hire your outdoor venue, have the marquee erected in the garden and get everything taken care of for you by caterers and party planners — taking a lot of the hassle out of planning your surprise bash. Cocktails and Bar Events offers a very affordable outdoor mobile bar hire service for garden parties; we’ll set up, serve and pack up — all you need to do is choose which drinks we fill your guests’ glasses with!

5. Get Playful at the Arcade

Many arcades offer function room hire or party packages that include catering, a private seated area and your choice of entertainment options for your guests. If your guest of honour is into their classic arcade games, bowling, karaoke or a bit of air hockey, it’s well worth seeing whether there’s an arcade near you that can offer an affordable package for your party.

cocktail making class birthday party, trained bartender showing someone how to make a cocktail.

Surprise Party Entertainment

6. Mix Things up with a Cocktail Making Class

Looking for the perfect surprise party entertainment? Book a cocktail making class and teach your guests how to make their favourite drinks — while giving them the chance to sample a few, of course! 

Cocktails and Bar Events offers a mobile cocktail making class that can be taught from anywhere; we come to you — so whether your chosen venue is the honouree’s living room or a local hall, we will set up the bar, prepare the menu with your chosen cocktails and be a part of your special someone’s big surprise. 

7. Get Sentimental Sharing Special Memories 

Okay, so it’s a bit cheesy, but hosting a “This Is Your Life” segment where you invite special guests to share their memories of the honouree is truly a loving and thoughtful way of putting them in the spotlight. Play the “This Is Your Life” intro theme and have the person sharing the memory hide behind a curtain, doorway or sheet while they are recounting the tale with some exciting music playing in the background. 

When they are done sharing the story, ask your honouree to guess who the speaker was, and then have the speaker reveal themselves while you project some candid photos or videos of the memory they’ve just described onto the wall of the venue for all the other guests to enjoy. Make sure to film the segment too so it’s something the honouree can take away and relive again and again.

8. Relive Magic Moments with Loved Ones

Have your guests fill up a memory card with special memories they have of the honouree. You can prompt them by writing leading statements on the cards, such as “my favourite moment with you was…” and “you made me laugh the most when…”. Present the honouree with the memory box during the celebrations for them to open and enjoy with their guests and then treasure forever.

9. Delight Big and Little Kids Alike with Giant Party Games

Giant Jenga is a birthday party staple that mum, dad and the kids alike can enjoy in between canapes and toasts. Add in a spot of Twister and some skittles for the kind of entertainment that keeps on being fun all party long.

10. Plan the Playlist Together

Your guests will have special shared memories that they’d love to honour on behalf of your GoH, so why not plan the party playlist together and have everyone contribute a song they know the GoH loves, has fond memories of or that is significant for them? Each time a new track plays, your guest of honour receives another mini surprise and is taken back to a special moment in time.

Surprise Party Catering

11. Say It with a Celebration Cake

If one of the guests makes a cake that your honouree particularly likes, ask them nicely if they’ll bring it and decorate it in honour of them.  A homemade cake is much more meaningful than a shop-bought one, but you can still make a shop-bought cake extra special by icing it with a touching message or decorating it with things that your GoH loves.

12. Shake Things up with a Custom Cocktail Menu

Go one step further and hire a mobile bar that provides custom drinks menus, then customise it with your guest of honour’s favourite cocktails, their photo and a few thoughtful words. The menu will be a great addition to the memory book that they’ll look back and smile on when the party is long over.

13. Theme Your Food and Drink

What are your GoH’s favourite things? Theme the party food and drink to match their interests! From unicorn cupcakes and rainbow-coloured milkshakes to sporty snacks and football-shaped celebration cakes, themed catering adds an extra special personalised touch to your surprise party that will delight your guest of honour.

14. Opt for Striking Table Settings

How the food at your surprise party is presented can have a big impact on how it is received, so theme your table settings to match your overall party theme and make them photo-worthy. Steal the show at a movie-themed party with chalk clapperboards for name place cards and popcorn favours, or opt for tiny tennis racket napkin holders if your GoH’s favourite serve is on the tennis court. It’s these little, thoughtful touches that can really count.

15. Treat Your Guests to Fabulous Favours

Parting is much sweeter sorrow when you’ve got a few tasty chocolates, a lolly or some popcorn to munch on! Give your guests a fab favour that perfectly complements the theme of your surprise party, whether that’s a mason jar cocktail, hot chocolate in a bag or a tasty trio of sweets favoured by your GoH.

crafting supplies for a surprise birthday party

Children’s Surprise Party Ideas

16. Get Crafty with Personalised Craft Activities

In need of party activities to keep the kids busy while the adults mingle? Why not have your mini guests make their own favours by setting up personalised craft activities? They can fill their goody bags with homemade toys, treats and sweets that they’ll love to craft together.

17. Dress It Up

A dressing-up box is the perfect children’s entertainment for a birthday party or surprise event — they’ll love digging through the clothes, accessories and hats, making up their own party outfits and playing together in character. 

18. Hunt for Treasure

Pepper your party venue with hidden treasures and send your little guests on a big adventure looking for clues to find the secrets strewn around them! A treasure hunt is a perfect way to fill up their party bags while filling their time with fun activities.

19. Set up a Book Corner

Borrow a selection of children’s books from your guests and set up a comfy book corner with cushions, blankets and colouring activities — your little guests can enjoy some quiet time here in between activities.

20. Make Healthy Treats Fun with a Fruity Pick-and-Mix Table

Have your little guests help themselves to a handful of tasty and healthy fruit by setting up a pick-and-mix table with self-serve bowls featuring grapes, watermelons, yoghurt-covered raisins and all the sweet and savoury healthy treats that kids love but that don’t contain an excess of artificial sugar. Fruit kebabs topped with a fun star or heart skewer are a great choice.

Finally… Don’t Forget the Finishing Touches!

21. Personalised Keepsakes and Menus

Nothing says “I know you well” more than personalised menus, favours and music playlists that hold special meaning for the guest of honour. Why not craft a custom menu for the buffet, sit-down meal or refreshment table with a photo of the honouree and a list of their favourite foods or snacks, along with some little thoughtful notes from guests who remember sharing the snacks with the honouree in times gone by?

For further advice on how to hire a bar for a surprise birthday party, give our friendly and knowledgeable bartenders a call. We’re always happy to provide potential clients with free no-obligation advice on planning bar services for their special occasions. 

Call us now on 07784482444 or email info@cocktailsandbarevents.co.uk.

Speak With a Mobile Bar and Cocktail Expert

Need to hire a professional bar for your upcoming event? Cocktails and Bar Events is the leading provider of bartending services in London and across the UK.

Whether you’re throwing a birthday bash, Christmas party, planning your wedding or organising a gorgeous garden party, we can offer the services you need to keep your guests’ drinks topped up and the smiles on their faces.

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