An Amazing 20’s Themed Surprise Birthday Party!

A UK Olympic Summer Month: Day 26
Tricked into making a tailored suit for my own surprise party and a secret kept for 6 months made for the most amazing surprise birthday party! Thanks everyone, you’re all the best!

My family is good at throwing surprise parties and they love doing it. I know because I was involved with my Dad’s big surprise 50th in Beijing where we flew family from all over the world and my brother’s 25th surprise party in NYC. When my birthday passed in February, I wasn’t planning to celebrate. Though my cousin Amy put together an excellent surprise paintball day! So I ended up having a great birthday, but did find it a bit strange that none of my immediate family really seemed to notice or care. And as days passed, so did the thoughts of my birthday.

Then there was talk about my aunt’s big birthday party in her new home and to top it off it would be a retro 1920’s dress party! So my sister eventually convinced me to get a tailored suit, which I designed after one of the suits that Leo wears in the Great Gatsby. I wasn’t involved much in the planning for my aunt’s party, but was excited to celebrate!

This was all part of the intricate planning for the biggest surprise in my life.

This is how the day went.

Firstly, the day of the party, we were arriving to London from Sardinia. We were already pretty tired, but knew we were helping to prepare my aunt’s birthday at her new home, a castle!

My uncle very generously made two trips to the airport in order to pick us up since we were too many for one car with luggage. When we arrived I had a snack before taking a quick power nap. I wasn’t the only one. We were all exhausted.

Eventually someone woke me up to get ready for the party. As everyone was prepping at the same time, the house was in chaos. I finally had a shower, but didn’t even get to finish dressing up before I was told to get some alcohol for the party, before the guests arrived. I figured it was wise to ask me to go 🙂

I went with my uncle to Tesco to pick up the ingredients for Manhattans and Pimms Cup. On the drive over I asked him who was coming to the party. He said he didn’t know. You don’t know who your wife is inviting to her birthday party?

In the store, we were really fast but then our speed was hampered by the call my uncle got with some strange requests from the family to pick up certain items. In order to save time, I asked him to wait in line as I ran off to collect the goods. I would come back with one item and be told to get another…

I believe the order was something like this:

  • AA Batteries
  • Another bag of ice (we already got two)
  • Tea
  • AAA Batteries (couldn’t tell me that when I was getting the AA batteries?)
  • Bowtie for my brother

This was all of course a ploy to delay us from getting back, but it actually didn’t delay us at all, because I was running around the store picking items up as my uncle waited in line. FAIL.

However when I heard the final request I was near the tipping point. A bow-tie? In a Tesco?… There was no way we were going to find a bow-tie at this point, but my uncle was persistent. After our extensive search around the store, we finally left and I rejected the idea of checking other store and called my brother to explain that the sun was setting and we were running out of time and that I wasn’t even dressed yet!

Then we stopped for gas. 😐

Finally, we made it back to the house and as we pulled up I saw everyone dressed up and standing in a line. They all yelled “Happy Birthday Dave!

My first reaction was very funny guys and proceeded to trunk of the car. As I walked over, bags of groceries in hand, everyone was singing happy birthday to me. At this point I was getting a bit annoyed thinking Guys, funny joke, but this is kind of disrespectful towards my aunt who we should actually be singing this song to. But then I realized a lot of friends that I didn’t know were coming, were also in the crowd singing. They came from all over Europe! And that’s also when I realized that none of my aunt’s friends there. I was so confused and that’s when it clicked.

This is an actual birthday party for me? Six months later?

I was dumbfounded and I felt very silly, as I wasn’t even properly dressed. So I greeted all my friends and ran inside to finish putting on my costume. It was still sinking it that this was happening as I was getting dressed.

We had an amazing party. My family organized a catered dinner of excellent food (unexpected for England I know), dancing, conversation, jokes, laughter and lots of stereotypical British accents.

The fam
They rented this car for some delightful photo opportunities. Cheers Family!
My costume for the evening...
My costume for the evening…
Dastardly Scoundrels
It wasn’t difficult to get into character. Here’s my brother and I as dastardly scoundrels…
Monopoly men
So I said “Let them eat cake! Hohohohoho!”

After dinner my sister had a special surprise for me, a video on the big screen in front of the whole party. Now, my first thought was that it would be a collection of embarrassing videos of myself, but it turned out to be something so much better. My sister had been filming for months to make a happy birthday video from all my friends. So in away they were all there to celebrate and be there on my birthday. It was also extremely funny and I haven’t had my stomach hurt from laughing in a long time. Thanks to the best sister ever!

Click to see the video on youtube.

You don't say...
You don’t say…
Oh hello! Didn’t notice you there!

We partied into the wee hours of the morning until all the guests left or retired for the night.

Great Party
I couldn’t have been happier.

I found out later how long that this was being planned and the reason for it being six months later was that it was the first time my family would be all-together in the same place.

I’m really grateful to my family and friends for making this amazing day happen. I’ll never forget it. Lots of love all around 🙂


About David

Founder and writer at, David is on a mission to travel to every country in the world and has less than 10 countries left! He loves new adventures, unique cultures, historic landmarks, and luxurious hotels. Follow along as David shares a journey of a lifetime!