How to Throw a Surprise Birthday Party

Last weekend, S's romantic interest was visiting from Chicago for a casual, calm, regular weekend.  Or so he thought...

Even though his birthday was in October, he was never given the great celebratory bash that a golden birthday deserves! Obviously this needed to be remedied.  Now, this surprise party was quite the challenge as he was staying in the apartment at which the party was to be held.  With a little planning and a lot of help from fellow party-goers, it went off without a hitch! Here's how...

Step 1: Clean like a mad woman before the visitor arrives earlier in the week.  I made sure the apartment was party-ready before he got into town.

Step 2: Buy what you need beforehand.  I did some shopping runs to purchase materials prior to his arrival.  I went to Good Will- the best place for glassware! I was able to find about 12 champagne flutes for less than $8.  They are a bit mismatched, but all in good shape.  I loved that they weren't all exactly perfect- it gave the drinks a bit of character, and helped guests remember which was theirs! I also purchased a dozen mason jars.  Perfect for drinks at the party, easy to reuse for jams this summer.

Step 3: Prep what you can beforehand.  I was able to pull of a batch of ricotta (recipe to come!), fresh hummus to be put out with crudite, and some homemade bread before the big night.

Step 4: Find a good friend to get the surprisee out of the house for as long as possible! I was lucky to have an accomplice get the birthday boy out of the apartment for about 2 hours.  As soon as he was out of the door it was showtime! Bourbon punch was thrown together, crostini were toasted, glasses were washed, cheeses displayed, and apple-onion tart (again, recipe to come) was assembled.  The party playlist started, and I got dressed and ready to party.  I set the table with appetizers, cute napkins, and a bunch of tealight candles in small jam jars of different shapes and sizes.  They were just the right glow, but weren't overbearing.

Step 5: Make yourself a drink!

Step 6: Greet your friends, and enlist them in helping out any way you need.

Step 7: Welcome the birthday boy in the surprising method of your choice.  We chose to have him walk into the living room, where everyone was assembled against the back wall.  Jumping and shouting surprise was really, really rewarding :)

Step 8: Enjoy the party! Dancing is highly recommended.

Step 9: Make grilled cheese with tomato jam and prosciutto... which conveniently pairs quite nicely with bourbon punch.

Step 10: Caffeinate, preferably using your favorite espresso mugs.  Continue dancing.

Repeat steps 8-10 as needed.  Eventually pass out from happiness and exhaustion :)

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