Private dining room with wood table for rehearsal dinner | PartySlate
The Best of | Chicago | Weddings

Best Chicago Venues for Your Rehearsal Dinner [Guide]

Private dining room with wood table for rehearsal dinner | PartySlate

Looking for the perfect Chicago venue for your rehearsal dinner? You’ve come to the right place. PartySlate helps couples and party hosts of all kinds find the ideal venue — be it a fashionable rooftop bar with dramatic views of the city skyline or a family-owned restaurant passed down from one generation to the next. Of course, rehearsal dinners require a venue that can deliver a spectacular…that’s right…dinner. 

It’s true: Nothing brings people together like sharing a delicious meal. While we love the high energy moments that happen on the dance floor or during a cocktail hour, we will always appreciate the intimate conversations that happen at the dinner table.

A rehearsal dinner, especially, gives you a chance to reconnect with your family and closest friends before your wedding day. It’s the time for sharing favorite stories, inside jokes, and heartwarming memories. From heartfelt champagne toasts to precious moments spent lingering over cups of coffee (and dessert), a delectable dinner reminds us that life (and love) are always worth celebrating. After all, as famous Chef Julia Child once said, “A party without cake is just a meeting.” 

A rehearsal dinner, especially, gives you a chance to reconnect with your family and closest friends before your wedding day.”

Luckily, Chicago is a foodie’s haven. The Windy City boasts world-renowned restaurants and tucked-away neighborhood gems. From the bustle of Chicago’s downtown Loop to the laid back (and Cub’s-loving) North Side, almost every street corner offers a place to sit down for a mouth-watering meal. But no need to get overwhelmed. We’ve narrowed down the best Chicago venues for your rehearsal dinner.

Find a Top Chicago Venue for Your Rehearsal Dinner (by Neighborhood)

As any Chicagoan will tell you, Chicago is a big city full of small neighborhoods. In fact, it’s easy to live in one neighborhood without ever stepping foot into the next (after all, you have everything you need within a few city blocks). But that doesn’t mean we encourage you to stay put.

Chicago is a grand city that’s worth exploring (and photographing). Each neighborhood features its own “personality” and sense of style. Sophisticated trendsetters might look to host a chic rehearsal dinner in the West Loop; while “Movers and Shakers” will want to be at the center of things in Chicago’s dynamic Loop. River North is bound to attract artists and night owls; whereas the Gold Coast beckons lovers of luxury.

So What Does This Mean For You?

After selecting the unique neighborhood that’s right for you, it’s time to find that perfect venue. Check out the following articles on some of the best Chicago venues for your rehearsal dinner — organized by neighborhood.

And of course, don’t forget to find your talented team of wedding event professionals on PartySlate, along with inspiring photos and trends that will help you plan your dream rehearsal dinner ( and wedding). 

But Wait, There’s More…

Read on to find some of the most asked questions pertaining to Chicago Venues for a rehearsal dinner

Is the rehearsal dinner at the wedding venue?

You see, the rehearsal dinner is usually a smaller and more intimate affair than the wedding celebration. As such, it will not necessarily require the same amount of space (or amenities) as the wedding venue.

Search for a space that facilitates good conversation and intimate gatherings. While you probably won’t need state-of-the-art technology for a rehearsal dinner in Chicago, you may want to choose a private room with enough audiovisual equipment to accommodate any toasts or speeches.

Because the sit-down dinner is the primary activity of the evening, you will also want to select a venue that provides delicious catering and bar services.

Moreover, you may want to accommodate your guests by selecting a venue that’s close to your block of rooms or ceremony venue. Luckily, there are plenty of Chicago venues for your rehearsal dinner in the neighborhood of your choice.

What usually happens at a rehearsal dinner?

Look: For couples, the wedding day is a whirlwind of activities. At most, couples will get to spend a few moments with each of their guests.

The rehearsal dinner, however, affords both guests and the couple an opportunity to connect before the bustle of the big day. With that in mind, rehearsal dinners in Chicago are often more relaxed and intimate than the actual wedding day.

The evening is primarily focused around the dinner table and conversation. Often close friends or family members will give a toast or share fun stories about the couple.

The evening usually concludes at a reasonable hour. After all, the next day will be full of lots of activities and emotions. It’s important for both the couple and their guests to get a good night’s sleep.

Should I hire a photographer?

Sure, almost everyone has a smartphone these days (and an Instagram account), but nothing beats a professional photographer.

For your wedding day, your photographer will mostly focus on capturing you and your partner. The rehearsal dinner offers an opportunity for the photographer to take photos of your most cherished wedding guests — family and close friends.

Besides, you’ll want to let guests fully experience and enjoy the evening. A professional photographer allows your guests to sit back and relax (while still taking the occasional selfie or two).

What is the etiquette for rehearsal dinner invitations?

Good Question: For the sake of staying organized and stress-free (after all, planning a wedding can be stressful), it’s best to send out separate rehearsal-dinner invitations to your selected guests.

Because the rehearsal dinner is a catered event, it’s also important to know how many of your guests plan on attending (along with any food allergies).

Your wedding invitations & print company can create separate rehearsal dinner invitations that either follow or deviate from your wedding invitations.

The rehearsal dinner is its own separate party, so don’t be afraid to choose something with a different color palette or theme. The rehearsal dinner is a great opportunity to get creative and have fun.

Do you give favors at a rehearsal dinner?

While it’s not expected or required, giving your guests a small party favor is always a great way to show appreciation for their love and support.

Some of our favorite ideas include sweet and delectable take-home treats (such as chocolates with cute labels or themed packaging). We also love unique and creative ideas like 24k-gold-infused water (yes, you read that right) or custom swag.

Remember, there’s no right or wrong idea. The goal is simply to show your guests some love.

What are some fun ideas that I can incorporate into my rehearsal dinner?

In case you be wondering, the rehearsal dinner is the perfect time to get creative. It’s intimate or more relaxed nature offers more opportunities for thinking outside the box and forging your own path.

Typically smaller Chicago venues also offer the chance to create intriguing décor vignettes such as a balloon installation or cute welcome signage.

It’s also an opportunity to focus on the details. Consider hiring a design team to create beautiful centerpieces or personalized table settings.

We also love the idea of including unique activities that encourage guest interactions. Consider setting up a game station such as a chalkboard message center or casino table.

For a really fun and unforgettable party, go so far as to create a theme like this Art Deco-themed rehearsal dinner with its black-and-gold details and geometric linen.

Look: When it comes to your rehearsal dinner, there’s no limits to the imagination.