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Dîner en Blanc is an all-white pop-up dinner party that began in 1988 in Paris. François Pasquier invited a group of friends to an elegant outdoor dinner, asking them to dress in white so they could find each other.
The dates have been set and invitations sent in most cities and if you are amongst the lucky ones to have grabbed a spot from the waiting list, here are some tips to survive Dîner en Blanc that you should know.
Buying Your Ticket for the Ultimate White Dinner Party
Every year, people see the announcement, get on the waitlist and either forget to log in or get frustrated because they are unclear so let's talk about the process.
It's all done in phases so if you get a phase one invite, you can pretty much guarantee that you are in. Phase one is generally leaders, volunteers, previous attendees/members and special guest. Phase two includes those who were invited/sponsored by members in phase one. The final phase, 3 are remaining tickets offered to those on the waiting list. With each phase you are given a special code along with a date/time to log in to purchase. When I was a first time attendee, it was very stressful but I am happy to report that the process has improved tremendously. I highly suggest that you complete your registration early as tickets sell quickly and once your phase is over, you can no longer register. In addition make certain you know your log in to eliminate any delays.
And it's not a bad idea to check in with any other friends who might be attending in case you want to sit together. During registration, you select a group leader based off the departure location, then a table leader and this is how you can guarantee that you will be with friends. No worries if you miss this part. Some of my favorite memories were with people that I had just met.
I have memberships in Philadelphia and other cities as this is an event that I really enjoy. I also encourage people to try for cities that are less popular to experience it for the first time. You can get on the waitlist for other cities by registering on the Le Diner en Blanc website for the city that you are interested in. Select your continent then country then city. Look for the area on the right to log in or create an account. The cost per person ranges from $30-50 which covers transportation plus $10 for membership. Tickets are purchased as a pair and everything is based on 2 people throughout the process.
Check Your Email
Once you have joined the waitlist and/or received your invitation, it is important that you check your email often. The details to register are included in the invitation. Set an alarm to remind yourself as these tickets are first come, first served and if you are in high demand area, they will sell out within hours.
You must continue to monitor your email after registration for messages from your table leader and for meeting updates. Remember the location is secret. and you will not know until you arrive. You will also have the option to ask questions of you table leader.
Follow the Rules
Sounds simple but each year, people seem to try to do their own thing. It's not worth the aggravation so pay close attention to all the emails that are sent out and ask questions should you have any. This event is amazing because of the attendees. There are very few events that you will attend will people from all walks of life come together for a beautiful evening.
Bring a Fun Date
Your invitation is for two. Choose a date that is open minded and ready for fun. You will most likely be sitting at a table with people you don't know so use this time to get to make a new connection. Also remember that you aren't certain of the location so you both will have to carry your supplies for the evening and a complainer can make for a miserable evening. The past few years the temperatures have been high which makes whining easy and patience low. Leave the Debbie Downer home for everyone's sake.
What to Bring
Leading up to the event, you will receive several communications on what is acceptable for use. Waiting to the last minute can be a nightmare. Amazon has been my go to for the event because not any folding table will do. If you prefer to shop in physical stores Ikea, Target and Walmart offer some great bargain items. You can even use the pick up service if available in your area. Keep your items light because you do have to carry it all. Dollies or luggage carts are a great option for transporting just keep in mind that you might have to climb steps.
Folding Table: keep it lightweight. Make certain to check the dimensions. Color doesn't matter since it has to be covered.
Chairs: Must be white unless covered. Simple folding chairs work best.
Linens: Tablecloth and napkins must be white and cloth. There are lots of places to find pretty ones. This is an easy way to add elegance to your display. Think lace, eyelet, or even layering a couple cloths to create a unique look.
Lighting: Wick candles are not allowed so opt for battery operated lighting. Flameless votives are easy to use and can add some flair to your display when placed in lightweight decorative items. String lights are also an easy way to make use of your table space.
Flowers: Every year the displays range in size but they add such a nice touch to the table and smell heavenly. Some cities allow for bold colors so check before you buy.
Food: Even if you opt to purchase the cater meal ahead of time, bring some extra to be safe. A cheese tray and desserts can be shared with your table mates. It doesn't need to be a four course meal just filling at best. With a busy evening ahead of you, don't stress yourself over preparing a big meal. Just remember to bring zip lock bags for leftovers or be prepared to trash it.
Place Setting: Avoid plastic unless it can pass for the real thing. Jazz up your napkin rings with lights or flowers.
Decor: You will be tempted to buy lots of things to have the best table display just remember that you will have limited table space. Do a test run and home and see what actually fits. Most times you only have space for functional items.
What to Wear
All white! Simple right? It's so simple that this is often something that is put off to the last minute. Unless you have a back up in your closet, don't do it. White clothing is dwindling as the season changes so start bookmarking sites not.
Leave those fancy heels at home. Remember there will be lots of walking and you have no clue what the final destination will be. Coming from a true stiletto girl this was a hard pill to swallow but you will think me later. If you feel like you must have them, grab a pair of white flats for walking and setting up. Nordstrom has lots of options for both men and women.
This event is no place to carry your big purse, in fact, I say less is more. All you really need is a few bills, credit card, state issued ID, portable charger, mobile phone and lipstick. A simple clutch or crossbody bag is more than enough.
Once you're all set up and the festivities have begun make certain to enjoy every minute of it. Take a walk around, catch up with friends, snap some selfies, see the table decorations and also the venue. Each event is different and the activities vary but most importantly have fun!
Are you attending the annual Diner en Blanc? Tag me in your instagram photos @TomikaTalks so I can see how jazzy you look.