Archive for category Family

How to Throw Your Wife a Surprise Party

Think about the last time you threw your buddy a surprise party.

Never? That’s what I thought. When it comes to birthdays, men use it as an excuse to meet up for a few beers and maybe some food. We’re pretty casual.

Girls love celebrating birthdays.  In my experience, much more so than men. They also love throwing birthday parties, and are really good at it. Especially surprise parties.

There will likely come a time when you will need to throw your wife or girlfriend a surprise party. For example, my wife turned 30 earlier this year and I knew I should do something special for her.

Here are five tips that worked for me.  Hopefully they come in handy should you ever need to do the same.

1.  Enlist support

Following up my earlier point – get some help.  Preferably her best friend and/or co-worker. This way you have all your bases covered for the invite list. Her friends can also help with logistics (getting a cake), and other things you might miss.

2.  Don’t Commit to Minimums

Try reserving party space at a bar in NYC, and you’ll hear about drink minimums, price per person and other nonsense. Remember that you are filling a bar with 25-100 people who would not be attending this establishment otherwise.  Negotiate accordingly.  Give them a conservative estimate on how many people you expect to come and mention they’re heavy drinkers. Worst case, offer to buy $100-$200 worth of food.  If that doesn’t work, move on.

3. Don’t be obvious

I held the surprise party at one of my wife’s favorite bars/restaurants in our neighborhood. In fact, the owner shut the place down for us.  The key here is when I suggested we go there for date night, it was routine and familiar. If I said: “Honey, let’s go to the hottest club in Meatpacking Saturday night,” she would know right away something was up (I’m not much of a club guy).

4.  Give two weeks notice

Just like when leaving a job, I recommend sending the invite out no more than two weeks in advance. If you have friends that travel a lot and may need advance notice reach out to them individually and swear them secrecy.  Keep in mind every day that goes by is another day for someone to spill the beans. Two weeks is enough, and it stays fresh in everyone’s mind. More on this in #5.

5.  Be Paranoid

Assume someone is going to blow it and plan accordingly. For example, I messaged two of my buddies who often check people in to places on Facebook and asked them to hold off until we arrived. Crazy? Maybe, but the last thing I needed was my wife flipping through Facebook 30 minutes before we left to see so and so checked into a bar he would never be at.

During this two-week period you are going to talk to people you haven’t spoken with in a while. The natural reaction was to come home and tell my wife:  “Guess who I talked to today.”  Do that enough, and red flags will start going off.

I was also aggressive about getting people to commit.  It amazes me how people receive an invite, read it and do not respond. I got on their asses about it. I don’t care if you’re not coming, but let me know.

Overall, the party was a success and my wife was completely surprised.

Good luck.



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On Whiskey and Grease

Bill Simmons, the Boston loving “Sports Guy” for ESPN, started a website called Grantland last month. It focuses on Sports and Pop culture. So far, so good.  Bill discusses how it came about here:  Welcome to Grantland

On Whiskey and Grease was posted yesterday. It’s a short read and talks about the important things:  bourbon, our paternal heroes and brotherhood. I hope you enjoy it.

Have  a great weekend.


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