With all the work you and your fiancé put into figuring out where to seat your great aunt, your parents' friends, and his college roommates, why not give your guests something a little more playful than traditional table numbers to guide them to their dinner seats on your big day? You don't need to look further than the city itself for inspiration. Chicago is brimming with details locals will love and out-of-towners will love learning about. Below are five fun ways to incorporate the Windy City into your seating chart!
They say Chicago is a city of neighborhoods, so what better way to capture your hometown's unique spirit than with tables named for all its cutest corners? Have your girlfriends gather around the Uptown table, your groom's out-of-town cousins at the Bronzeville table, and your childhood neighbors circling Old Town. Take the neighborhood theme a thoughtful step further with centerpiece details that represent each community, like the colorful Art-Deco-style prints from local Etsy artist Chris Gorz of StudioChris, and then tie it all together with a fun map of the city outside the dining room doors to help direct people to their seats.
Between His Royal Airness' legacy, Da' Bears, and all of those Stanley Cup parades, this is a city that takes its sports seriously. If you and your fiancé do too, Chicago sports-centric table names may just be a slam-dunk. For a smaller reception, a Cubs table, a White Sox table, a Bulls table, Bears table, and Blackhawks table may be plenty (just be sure the head table scores the name of your favorite team). But if your guest list is long enough to fill Wrigley Field, get inventive. Stock a Ditka table with a bowl of stick-on mustaches or a Jordan table with teeny toy basketballs.
Maybe you didn't feel serving hot dogs for dinner was appropriate considering the occasion. That doesn't mean a foodie bride and groom can't pay homage to their favorite Chi-town eats. Name one table for Chicago-Style Hot Dogs, another for Deep Dish, another for Italian Beef. Too artery-clogging for your tastes? Try Chicago's sweeter side: The Blommer Chocolate Company table (yep, the one that makes River North smell like warm-baked heaven), the Ferrara Candy Company table, the Garrett Popcorn table and the Eli's Cheesecake table would all work too — especially if you stocked some goody bags or champagne flutes filled with each treat for guests nearby.
Not every out-of-town guest will get a chance to do an architecture river cruise or double-decker bus tour over your wedding weekend, but you can give them your own version with tables named for famous landmarks. Scout out local photographers' images of the Chicago Theatre sign or Buckingham Fountain at art fairs around town or make a date of it with your fiancé to snap your own selfies at the Bean, Oak Street Beach, the Garfield Park Conservatory, and anywhere else that means something to you — frame it! Write up a quick history of each spot and why it's important to your love story to make it extra special.
For movie-buff couples, Chicago-set cinema has a lot to offer by way of inspiration. Include classics like The Blues Brothers, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, or The Fugitive if you feel so inclined — or stick with local love stories like While You Were Sleeping, Sixteen Candles, Return to Me, or even When Harry Met Sally (sure, they go the wrong way on Lake Shore Drive in the opening scene, but it's rom-com royalty). Feeling especially inspired? Why not recreate the movie posters with your fiancé for a personal touch? Point guests in the right direction with a "Now Showing" board in your venue's lobby.