The LK Events team receives a number of questions around Rehearsal Dinners and we thought we would share some of our favorite tips!
While who to invite to your rehearsal dinner has seemed to change over the years, etiquette dictates that parents, siblings, grandparents and any other person involved in your ceremony should be invited to attend the rehearsal dinner. That’s it!
Now we know that many couples that get married in Chicago either have extended family or friends that are traveling to attend the wedding. Why not host a Welcome Reception after the rehearsal dinner? This can be done at the same location as the rehearsal dinner, at the hotel where you have your primary room block, or a new location. You can host drinks and appetizers or you can have a cash bar and take this time to greet your guests.
Typically, the rehearsal dinner follows the rehearsal and both occur the day before the wedding. However, we are seeing different trends with rehearsals happening two days before the wedding. In Chicago, many museums and raw space venues will not have the availability for you to hold a rehearsal in their space, so a quick “rehearsal” can occur at the dinner location or prior to the ceremony on the day of the wedding.
Chicago has an endless supply of locations for a rehearsal dinner. Restaurants vary from a casual location like Lou Malnati’s or Little Goat Diner, to a more sophisticated location like Quartino or The Crown. Depending on the size of your rehearsal dinner, you may want to opt for renting a space like Chez, the Madison Ballroom at Chicago Athletic Hotel, or Gallery at GreenRiver. During the warmer months, you may even want to have your rehearsal dinner on an evening cruise on Lake Michigan with someone like Chicago’s First Lady or Odyssey Cruises.
The flow of a rehearsal dinner is typically more relaxed. This is the best time for the father of the groom to make a toast. Additional groomsmen and bridesmaids may also want to say a few words. During the dinner is when a slideshow can be playing in the background, or you can take some time before dessert to highlight a slideshow.
Your invitations for the rehearsal dinner should be mailed about 6 weeks prior to the wedding. These should always follow the wedding invitations and never be sent out before the wedding invitations have been mailed.
While the rehearsal dinner is the beginning of the wedding celebration, the theme and color palette do not have to match the wedding day’s celebration. You can make this a unique celebration! Do not forget to think about music, décor, and documenting the celebration with either a photographer or videographer!
May you have the best celebration from beginning to end!
XO, LK Events