Thursday, my dad called when I was on my way home. He worked his way through a lengthy to do list (Lucky’s birthday, Christmas plans, getting together with Lucky’s mom, oh, and they want to host the rehearsal dinner).
I’d seen the rehearsal dinner coming, since his wife had mentioned it when we had dinner at their place–and planning stuff is right up her alley. So he said they wanted to host it but wanted more info and our thoughts.
I was adamant that we invite out of town guests, even though they were hesitant. Virtually all of the out of town guests are my family, and I feel like if I make you fly in to town, I ought to buy you dinner. And I like my family; I want to see them for more than our likely-to-be-a-blur wedding reception. Since we were planning on hosting it if they hadn’t offered, I felt comfortable saying that was a requirement for us and we would be happy to pay for it. But they said they were ok with that, especially once I explained*.
So my dad told me they’d be happy to, if I could get them a rough number that would be great, but no hurry at all.
Sunday night, I got an email asking for a firm maximum count.
And Monday, an EPIC email from his wife. Numbered list:
- Location (Chicago since the rehearsal is there or Oak Park since guests are staying there)
- Start Time
- Guest Count
- Place (complete with no less than NINE recommendations that she had already contacted)
- Bar: Consumption or Open. How much does everyone else on the list drink? (I told my dad we didn’t think we had to provide alcohol. His family will feel differently, so he thinks its necessary. Mike suggested just doing beer & wine, but again, my dad’s family would shoot that down. Ironically, we’re pretty sure that with the exception of the groomsmen, most of the other guests barely even drink.)
So I replied to that one and started on a more precise guest list. It wasn’t my intention to pre-invite everyone to the rehearsal dinner, but to invite anyone who was in town already. We’ll see how that pans out. I do think many of my family members on both sides plan on making a longer trip of it, although my mom’s side at least is more likely to stay AFTER the wedding than arrive before.
Tuesday, I got an email saying we would have three contracts shortly and we could choose our venue from those. We need a space that will acommodate at least 50 people (it’s all my big family), and since our ceremony is on the Magnificent Mile, that’s where our rehearsal will be–proximity to that is a big bonus. And, of course, we don’t want to spend more than we have to!
The results came in and our
three four finalists, as chosen by my dad’s wife are…
La Madia: Downtown Chicago, relatively close to the church, although some people would probably want cabs.
source: La Madia
It’s a neat space, but with a $3200 minimum it’s a little steep, and their full stage space (couldn’t find a photo of that space) is billed as semi-private.
Pizzeria Serio: On the North side of Chicago, a cab or car ride from the church (in rush hour traffic)
That balcony looks like fun, and it has a $1500 minimum, but the location makes it a drag.
Rockit Burger Bar: This is the Wrigleyville location, which will be cab/car/train from the rehearsal. It’s also RIGHT across the street from Wrigley, which would be a disaster if there was a Cubs game that night)
Source: Rockit Burger Bar
It’s a great space (I’ve been to a party there) but with a $3250 minimum AND a long trip there…
Gino’s East: 4 blocks from church, right off the Magnificent Mile
They have a variety of packages and a $1500 minimum, not a bad deal! They have three private rooms on the top floor. The graffiti all over is their thing, even though they recently moved into this location.
After one last email, outlining five MORE choices (labelled as “ridiculous” “ridiculous” “pretty pricey” “shower venue” and “booked”), she gave us their pick: Gino’s East. Honestly, the biggest sell is the convenience. Although many of the out of town guests will be staying in Oak Park (because they’re all my family and that’s where both my parents live) if they’re in town that early, I’m sure they won’t mind tourist time downtown, and a dinner in the city is way more exciting than one in the suburbs, right? (Or, for that matter, our neighborhood on the North side.) So we’re going with a private deep dish pizza party at Gino’s East, and it will be delicious.
What did you do for your rehearsal dinner? Any other pizza-lovers?
*My grandma, who passed away two years ago, would hex me if I didn’t. My cousin didn’t invite out of town extended family to her rehearsal dinner because her fiance had a big family too, and my grandmother, who was invited, informed her she would probably be too tired to attend. 3 days out. Clearly because she was pissed. I got a facebook invite to the rehearsal dinner two days before, but of course I’d already made my travel arrangements. Anyhow, my grandma may no longer be with us, but I still wouldn’t dare her disapproval. About this at least.