The hubby and I were fortunate enough to be invited to Diner en Blanc this year. What’s that you ask? Well, in 1988 Diner en Blanc started in Paris when a Frenchman arranged a dinner party with friends and told them to wear all white so they could find each other. He did not reveal the location of the dinner till the last minute, and 28 years later the tradition remains. It has now turned into a chic pop-up-style outdoor dinner that happens all over the world. Country participation includes Spain, Mexico, Australia, South Africa, China and more. The dinner is invitation only and spots are limited which makes Diner en Blanc such an exclusive event. The only reason, the hubs and I were able to attend was because of his gracious coworker who invited us.
This year’s Diner en Blanc DC hosted 3,500 guests near the Lincoln Memorial. Simply Beautiful! Nothing like a sea of white and elegance, music in the air, and a beautiful cityscape to make you feel like you have been privy to something special.
Why You Should You Go
Do you remember in your college days how you would hang out with friends all night till the early morning just being free without a care in the world? That’s what Diner en Blanc made me feel like. I felt like I was reuniting with old friends for a night of laughter, good eats, and fun. We were all there to just have a good time and enjoy each other’s company like we did back in the day, before our 9-5 jobs, real bills, kids, and responsibilities. If you’re into any of that, then it’s definitely for you!
What to Pack
For your set up, the Diner en Blanc organizers email you an info packet of what you need to bring to cut down on the guess work. I was VERY thankful for that! It made packing things much easier. We also tried to cut down on our expenses by bringing things that we already had like white dinner plates, wine glasses, cutlery etc. It’s easy for things to get expensive with Dinner en Blanc especially the first time you go.
Since it was our first time we did end up purchasing a table, chairs, white table cloths and napkins as we didn’t’ already have those things. But the great thing is we will use these same items year after year so we are only spending upfront costs once.
A Checklist below
- White table cloth
- White dinner plates
- White cloth napkins
- Wine glasses
- Bottle opener
- Wine Chiller w/ice(it saves lives when it’s scorching out)
- Bottle of water
- Cutlery (NOT plastic – and/or serving spoons and knives if your meal requires it)
- Garbage bag
- Wipes (for your hands or plates etc.)
- Paper Towels
- Flameless candles
- Vase + flowers if you wish (I highly recommend)
- Any other table top decor that you think would work (as light as possible)
- Matches (for sparklers)
- Your meal, of course!
What to Wear
You wear white of course! Not ivory, not cream, not an ounce of color. From what I have seen in pictures people go from very dressy to simple. As it was August and quite warm out I opted for the latter with this asos number and accessorized with a DIY flower headband. Comfy footwear is recommended because you could be doing a lot of walking and depending on how far the location is from your meet up spot, you don’t want your feet to be hurting before the night has even started. We were fortunate enough to be close to the actual location so we didn’t walk too far. So my advice is to keep your outfit simple and leave the stilettos at home.
What to Eat
So the very cool thing about Dinner en Blanc is that they provide a full course meal for you and your guest at the budget friendly price of $50 a person. Now the convenience is priceless because you can just show up, set your table up and then you’re done, but if you’re going the cost conscious route you can do 1 of 2 things. The obvious thing is to prepare your own food. But if you do don’t go heavy, think Tapas style fare as it will be easier to transport. Think tapas or small plates like charcuterie, caprese salad, fresh fruit, fresh bread, etc. Option 2 is ordering from a restaurant and having it prepared to go. We were fortunate enough to have a friend who knows the chef at the Béarnaise Restaurant in Washington D.C. and we were able to order a pre-fixe menu of sorts which was great because we weren’t concerned with what to make etc. The food was AWESOME! I definitely will have to pay the restaurant a visit.
What to Expect
Now with any large-scale event, you should anticipate delays. We left our meeting spot a little later than anticipated and it took a little longer to get into the actual event grounds. We were only 4 blocks away from the Lincoln Memorial but having an event with 3,500 people comes with challenges. What is more prominent about the event is the experience that we shared. I had an awesome time and met some great people in the process! We shared, food, wine, stories and more and I appreciated that it was such a diverse group of people that attended the event from various different backgrounds. It made for an interesting and memorable night and I can’t wait for next year!