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Surprise Party Ideas Requested

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Hi, I am helping my sister-in-laws prepare a surprise "tribute" party for my in-laws. They booked a nice place on the water in NJ so the menu is locked solid. But we need ideas for the party regarding what to do for the in-laws after they arrive. I suggested having the grandchildren give a speech and present their grandmother with a corsage, have the kids give a toast) but I can't think of anything other than a guestbook where people sign in and write them a note and have a posterboard with different pictures of the inlaws and family. Any suggestions for something different would be most welcome. Also, we have to provide the cake for dessert (to save cost). Does anyone have any suggestions for something unique for about 100 people. I am not sure what to do about the cake, flavor, size, what (if anything) to write on it that would make them feel special. Thanks so much!

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      1. Hi Folks--please keep your advice food-related. General party planning tips are off topic on Chowhound. Thanks!

        1. Be very careful and explicit with the restaurant about the cake -- there was a thread about a place on the westside of L.A. (Primitivo, I recall) where they charged as much to cut and serve a cake from the outside as it would have been to order dessert from the restaurant. And I understand the restaurant's point -- you are using their plates, their servers, their utensils, their facilities and time, and you are depriving them of the revenue from the dessert -- a little extra tip doesn't make up for all that.

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          1. re: nosh

            Thanks, Nosh. I will make sure we have everything covered with the restaurant. :)