Chicago Boathouse Rehearsal Dinner

After reading all your helpful comments, I took your advice, and let my in-laws-to-be plan the Rehearsal Dinner. I stayed out of it completely and low and behold – YOU were all right.  Not only did my in-laws choose an amazing venue but they have completely taken ownership of the event and planned some very special surprises. Knowing how much we wanted something near the lake, our in-laws chose the Belmont Yacht Club boathouse in the heart of Chicago to host our rehearsal dinner.

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Not only is it near the lake, it is literally in the lake; the room is surrounded on three sides by water and has a magnificent view of the city skyline.   It was such a treat for us and our guests!

As for our rehearsal, seeing the (what I began to call) “infinity aisle” again at St. Mary of the Angels, two days before my wedding, induced my wedding jitters.  But our wedding party’s awe-struck reaction to our majestic church was enough to assure me that it may be well worth it.

Chicago Wedding Rehearsal
{St. Mary of the Angels, Rehearsal, June 10, 2010 –  It looks like I may have been barking orders, nerves!}

Dinner followed at the boathouse and was the perfect place to highlight our beautiful city; you may or may not know that Chicago is really a beach town in the summer!

Chicago Boathouse Rehearsal Dinner
{My husband and I (in the middle) with some members of our wedding party at the Boathouse}

Our rehearsal dinner began  like many others, starting off with a wonderful slideshow, which was supplemented by several very heart-warming toasts (and roasts) made by members of our wedding party.  However, one of the highlights of dinner, and a great surprise to us, were the West African dancers my in-laws hired to perform as a tribute to the years David and I spent as Peace Corps volunteers in Africa.

West African Dancers
{Dancing with the West African dancers are our rehearsal dinner–what a great surprise!}

The dinner was so fun, no one wanted it to end, so we all decided to hit the town and celebrate some more!  One of the best decisions we made was to have rehearsal two days before our wedding.

Shenanigans Chicago
{The Last Dance (certainly a very different type of dance than our First Dance ;) at Shenanigans Bar: My husband and I dancing together for the last time as an unmarried couple.}

Throughout the wedding and afterwards, it became clear to me that it was the personalized details, not the extravagance, that made the biggest impact and made out wedding so special.  The Polish, African, and Chicago touches were things that made our wedding different from everyone else’s, because it reflected only us—not any other bride and groom—and those are personal details are what guests are still talking about.  Thanks to blogs like EAD, I trusted my judgment, even when everyone else was telling me “You SHOULD” do something else (i.e. more bridal).  So trust your gut, and own it!

Next up: Morning of the wedding