Honestly, I've never read a thread where so many posters either haven't read the OP's posts or haven't taken in what the OP posted.
She has clearly stated that he is fine with a party, either a celebration with his parents and a cookout or going out to a restaurant. He just doesn't want a HUGE expensive party.
The only question I see is whether or not to surprise him. I say - why not? And to the OP, have fun. Ignore all the posters here who are impugning your motives.
Excuse me, but do you really think, on an etiquette board, it's appropriate to advise a poster to ignore the advice of others?
Yes, I do believe we've all read the OP's messages. Believe it or not, some people really do *not* like suprises. If he's saying that he's fine with the usual informal (planned) gathering, I see no reason to try to embellish the occasion.
Actually, bibbety was right on the money. The reason I asked was really to find out what people's opinions were on surprise parties in and of themselves. I didn't realize everyone would get so distracted by other things and completely misread my posts! We're not drowning in debt. In fact, we live on what my DH makes, my income is "gravy" -- we're just trying to be in an even better financial position when we start a family. And he never said he didn't want any kind of party at all, just not a big shindig (rented hall, catering, 50 guests...).
Believe me when I say this, but when you put a post on this board, you open yourself to all sorts of questioning and clarifications, especially if you don't say everything to begin with, and especially
if you are actually committing an etiquette error or faux pas. I've posted something many times and then the post completely gets derailed from my original intention or question. I've just learned that is what to expect when I post on this board.
I think that the problem you ran into was that you didn't make it clear in your OP that you were looking for opinions on surprise parties in general. You posted about specifically about your DH, whom we don't know, and then proceeded to make comments that made it sound like he wouldn't be all that thrilled with this idea, both the money aspect and the party aspect. The comments were based upon lack of information.