The Art of a Great Surprise

1sur·prise  noun sə(r)-ˈprīz 

Merriam-Webster defines a surprise as an attack made without warning. An attack sounds so violent. I choose to see a surprise as an art form. Here’s how my masterful plan unfolded. 

My friend Kate got engaged on New Year’s Eve. She told me the story that evening and I could feel the excitement through the phone. Little does my newly engaged friend know, but the moment we got off the phone I booked a flight to Greenville, SC to see her. Two friends were already planning a visit to South Carolina this weekend and there was no way I’d be missing out on the celebration. 

I guess I could have told my three amigas what I had in store, but where’s the fun in that? If you have a surprise in mind follow this foolproof plan. 

Find an accomplice. Enter Kate’s fiancé John. He lives in Greenville and after pulling off the greatest surprise of his life (ahem, the engagement) he was all in on surprise #2 for our girl Kate. This stud even picked me up from the airport. (Best not to get lost en route to the actual surprising – no time for that!)

Do your research. I got John to tell me as much of the plans as he knew. The last thing I wanted was to show up and they were off exploring for the entire day. I bought my ticket for the Biltmore Estate tour – even used the same discount code as the girls (the accomplice strikes again!). I followed these girls on Facebook like crazy. Of course they barely talked about the trip. Didn’t they want to help a sista out?  

Tell no one. (Let’s be practical; tell minimal people.) At first I only told my family. Then I started getting really excited so I shared the story more. However, I prefaced it with “IT’S A SURPRISE.” One Facebook post or tweet from someone about my travels and I could have been ruined. 

Plan ahead. I’ll be the first to admit that money is tight for me. I was able to make this trip happen thanks to airline points, an airport shuttle and spending a little less during the week. If you don’t collect points with an airline start NOW! Taking the cheaper, albeit less convenient, route can make a big difference. 

Keep the charade going. My email to the girls the Monday before the trip was titled “Weekend Skype Sesh + Living Vicariously Through You.” We planned for a Skype chat and I even sent a video greeting that they could watch together. After I recorded it I realized there was a bit of foreshadowing: “I can’t wait to celebrate with you soon…” 

What’s the best surprise you’ve pulled off? Let me know in the comments. Good luck to all my sneaky pals out there! 

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4 thoughts on “The Art of a Great Surprise

  1. Flo, Great surprise and just love your blog! SO enjoyed seeing all of my fellow Mighty Mac gals get together and go and see my fav-Katie! I am sure it just was so fun! Love, Moira

  2. I am still in shock! What an amazing life I lead, surrounded by people who just want to make your day even better than you can fathom! I wish this for everyone– friends who take you by surprise in the best ways possible. Gosh, I’m lucky!

  3. I loved what you did for Katie….it was so fun to watch. I knew what was going to happen but I watched the video as if I didn’t know what the outcome would be. It brought smiles and laughter – two of the best things in life. I am so excited for Katie,especially,when she has such great friends to share this incredible time in her life.

  4. Thanks so much Moira and Sharon for chiming in and for checking out the blog! Kate is a definitely a friend that deserves this surprise. As for the video I am SO grateful that we captured it – I kept watching it throughout the weekend, made me fall asleep smiling. And we’ll all be celebrating together soon enough : )

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