We wanted to keep it a surprise right up until the dinner so we told Mom and Dad that we had made them a reservation for that night. We were all very sparse on details, just telling them what time they needed to be ready and that Taylor would drive them there. As soon as they got in the car, we started working. We had had a bit of a trouble-shooting process in terms of a table. There wasn't a single, regular-height table in the whole house besides the giant dining room table (that definitely wouldn't fit out the door), and four little folding tv-dinner tables. Taylor spotted this wood side bench table. It was covered with decorative things, and looked really heavy, but we thought it would be worth trying to move.
It worked! Andrew and I cleared everything off and it actually wasn't as heavy as we imagined. After that we finished setting the table and wrapping the lights on the railing. The finishing touch? The Django pandora radio station playing in the background. The whole time Grandma was posted at the window as a lookout, and we completed the to-do list by changing into our "restaurant" clothing.
It turned out that Taylor drove them all the way over the bridge into APC, and then into a few restaurant parking lots before turning around. Apparently Mom and Dad still had no idea of our plans. When Grandma spotted the car pulling in, we all lined up on the balcony to welcome them and wish them a happy anniversary as they walked up the stairs.
We each took turns going out to serve wine, check in, serve courses, clear plates, etc, and all the dishes turned out great. We in the kitchen ate a few bites here and there of what was leftover, and then made some crab cakes after it was over. I have no restaurant experience at all, but I would say that we were a pretty good team. Thanks again, Mom and Dad, and happy anniversary!
(photos by e.hunt, and r.hunt)