Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

April 6, 2015

My Big April Fools Prank & Surprise Planning Tips.

      Taking a break from the fashion posts today to share something else on the blog.

     Confession: I lied to you all in this blog post from last week when I said that I didn't have anything planned for April Fools this year... ha. ha. ha. ;-) In fact, I had what was without a doubt the biggest April Fools prank that I have ever pulled off planned! But before sharing that, I have to take things back a little bit....

      I think my obsession with planning surprises for other people started after my 8th grade graduation party. My parents planned me a surprise party for my 8th grade graduation (to date this is the only surprise that has ever been thrown for me). They rented out the gym space at our church at home in Maine, and invited all of my extended family (and friends at the time). The only problem was that my dad brought me to the party about an hour and a half early, while my mom and other family members were still setting up!! So everyone was surprised, haha. After that, it became one of my missions in life to plan well-executed (and on-time) surprises for the people that I love in my life. I planned my first surprise party for an old high school friend's Sweet 16 during my sophomore year of high school. (I even coordinated renting out the banquet room in our local town library to host the party in!)

     After planning a few more various types of surprises over the past few years, this past December, I had the chance to plan a really awesome surprise. Two of my best friends from home, Katie and Jules, are sisters in the same sorority! (What is weirder is that I knew them both separately- Katie was my best friend from childhood and then we lost touch for several years, and Jules was my best friend from high school. And then they both ended up being sisters!!) Their sorority formal was being held the night that I flew home to Maine for Christmas Break. If I was able to make the times work with my flights, Katie asked if I would be her date to Formal. It would be a tight squeeze, but I said absolutely! My only condition was that I didn't want to tell Jules. Both Jules and I had crazy work schedules for the next couple of weeks so I didn't think that I would get to see her until near the end of my time home, so I thought it would be so fun for me to show up at her sorority formal and surprise her!

     So eventually, the big night came. The time between my flight landing and the Formal was so close that I had to actually fly home in a semi-formal dress, with my hair in an updo and false lashes and make-up already on!! (Talk about making it hard to nap on the plane...) But somehow, both myself and my luggage made it right on time! Now all that was left to do was surprise Jules...

Katie and I right after I flew in for Christmas Break last semester!

....But Jules never came to Formal! She had decided to skip the dance to study for one of her difficult final exams (which she ended up getting an A on- YAY!!!). But this was horrible for our surprise! I had never taken into account that she might not show up! The joke was on me.

     Anyways, I still had a most wonderful time at the Alpha Xi Delta Formal with Katie and getting to meet all of her and Jules's sisters, but I still had an urge to plan and execute another successful surprise....

     So when I planned my quick trip home for Easter weekend, I decided to surprise my friend Katie! I told Jules about the trip, and she said that she wanted to pick me up from the bus station (I was flying into Boston and taking a bus to New Hampshire). She would bring Katie with her, come up with some plot for why she needed Katie to come with her on a random afternoon to the bus station, and then I would be there instead! It sounded far fetched, but I had faith that we could pull it off.

     As the weeks got closer and closer to my trip, I had such a hard time not spilling anything to Katie! But I was somehow able to keep it together. And Jules's "excuse" for needing Katie at the bus station that day? Her family had bought a new puppy online (from Delaware specifically) and it was getting bussed in from the Boston airport on the afternoon of April 2nd, and she wanted Katie to come with her to take pictures of the new puppy's arrival. When I heard that, all I said was "Jules, how is she ever going to believe that?!" but apparently she was very excited about it!

     Finally, the big day was here! I had actually been feeling under the weather all week, so it took all my strength to finish packing and get myself to the airport! I did make sure to have time though to make a sign with the song lyrics on it that I believe define all long distance friendships:

I just made sure to change the "walk" lyric to "fly" :-)

      My flight actually came in early, so I was able to get on an earlier bus to New Hampshire. I waited patiently at the bus station for Jules and Katie to arrive. I had about an hour to kill before they got there, and my anticipation and nerves were kicking it! What made matters worse is that Katie randomly kept texting me (even though she was with Jules!) to ask "how my homework was going" that afternoon. Clearly she had no idea that I was home, (and thought that I was having a mellow afternoon in Charlotte doing homework), but it still made me so nervous to be texting her.

      But finally, I saw my two friends walking into the bus station. I stood by the doors with my sign, and screamed "APRIL FOOLS!" when they came inside. Katie's face was priceless. I had pulled off my surprise! And Jules screamed "I'm not buying a dog from online! Annaliese is your surprise!"  Hahaha.

Jules and I with victory smiles after a well-executed surprise!

     It was so much fun getting to surprise my friend Katie with my trip home! And also so fun to have two of my best friends pick me up from the bus station. Right after they got me, we went to my favorite Mexican restaurant, and my other dear friend Shara (from Shara Lynn Photography) met us as well. This current semester has been one of the most stressful that I have ever had, so getting to have a little dinner date at home with my favorite Maine girls was much needed and such a treat!

     Lastly, I thought that I would leave y'all with a few of my best tips for pulling off surprises. I have figured out these tips between this recent trip home surprise, the surprise parties that I have planned in the past, and also the failed sorority Formal surprise in December!

  1. Start planning your surprise way in advance: Time doesn't truly fly until you're planning a surprise of some sort! Time is also your best friend in a surprise type situation, and it's always good to have extra time on your hands to allow for when things don't go as planned (as if the person or people that you're surprising change their plans way ahead of time, you want to try and work around that without blowing the surprise!). In the case of my recent trip home, it was also good for me to let Jules know when my bus and flight were arriving way in advance, so that she could talk to Katie and they could make sure their school schedules allowed time to pick me up (or pick "the new dog" up ;-) ). 
  2. Involve other TRUSTWORTHY people: It can be a lot to pull off planning a surprise all on your own! That's why it can be good to involve someone else, especially if you are planning a surprise party! That way you can split things like party duties, being responsible for who will bring the person being surprised to the location of the surprise, etc. But it's super important to make sure that the person you tell is trustworthy! Otherwise they could blow all of your hard work.
  3. Add some personal touches: It's not everyday that someone has a surprise planned for them! So don't be afraid to show this person how much you care about them and add some special personal touches to their surprise. For example, I made a little sign with the lyrics of "1000 Miles" by Vanessa Carlton for Katie's surprise (this is one of our special friendship songs that has meant something more to us after I moved far away for college!). And for both of the surprise birthday parties that I have planned, I have made sure to plan them at venues that I know the birthday girl would really enjoy and with food that includes their favorite foods! And to read about a personal surprise that I once planned, check out this blog post here. :-)

     Did any of you plan April Fools pranks or surprises this year? Or did someone surprise you?!

     Back to the fashion tomorrow here on the blog, so stay tuned!

     xoxo Miss ALK


  1. You are such a great friend!! No April Fool's this year (thank goodness) but next year I plan on taping photos on the bottom of everyone's computer mouse. I saw it online, but it was too late to execute it! Haha.

    XX, SS || A Little Seersucker Sass

  2. This was such a fun story to read! I love that you were able to pull it off. I think I would have been like Katie and had been super excited about the dog too haha. I've had two surprise parties thrown for me, and I loved them! I've thrown a few small ones, but nothing as big as a trip or anything like that. You've officially inspired me.


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