YSW Goes to Le Diner en Blanc

According to Wikipedia, Le Dîner en Blanc concept started in 1988, in Paris, when Frenchman François Pasquier invited a group of friends to an elegant outdoor dinner at the Bois de Boulogne, asking them to dress in white so they could find each other.

I first saw the photos of Le Diner en Blanc last year (2018). I was impressed with the ambiance, the glamour, and the stylish decor of this greatly anticipated event. I love engaging in unique experiences and this large outdoor picnic seemed to fit the requirement for a new lifestyle that I now define as “living my life in stages.”

To attend Le Diner en Blanc, you must be placed on a waiting list. Please note that, once you have been accepted (and received your invitation), you must follow the directions that they send to you, move as quickly as possible because tickets sell out quickly. The registration information below was taken from the organizers website:

Registration takes place in 3 phases:

Phase 1: Members from the previous year and friends of the organization and leaders

Phase 2: Friends “sponsored” by Phase 1 members

Phase 3: People who signed up on the waiting list

Cost: The price to register is very affordable, however, I don’t want to list the price in case it changes.

The event is always held outside in a spacious area that is kept secret until the actual day of the event. The guests do not know where they are going until they arrive at the destination. There are buses available for those who register very early; I waited too long  (4 days) to register, so the bus ride was not an option.

Everyone is assigned a bus leader and table leader. They answered questions promptly via email and seemed very patient when my husband and I landed with the wrong group by accident. Once you register you will receive updates and reminders from your table leader.

Check out the video

My advice:

The most complicated part of the experience is trying to walk to the location if you have a lot of items or a table that exceeds the dimensions of the recommended table sizes. I saw that a lot of men appeared to be a little irritated at having to transport much of the larger items. I recommend that you clearly explain to your significant other what this experience entails before accepting your invitation. The same thing applies to any friend or family member that you invite. You do not want to hear someone complaining throughout the experience.

Weather: It was scheduled to rain the day of the event, but, rain or shine, we were told that the show would go on. It was recommended that we get a white umbrella and a clear white plastic poncho. I picked mine up on the way, at the Dollar Store.

This was my back-up outfit

I checked the weather forecast for about a week before the event. I had scheduled a hair appointment that I eventually ended up canceling because I didn’t want my hair to get frizzy. I opted for a snatch back style with a big afro puff attached.

Style Ideas and Attire: They request all white from head to toe, not off-white or beige. I did see women in silver metallic shoes and accessories. One of my favorite places to get style ideas and fashion inspirations is on Pinterest. I saw a lace skirt on Pinterest and got the idea to wear lace. It just so happened that my seamstress had some lace fabric laying around. I had a lace dress made and accessorized with crystals and pearls. I recommend you prepare a back-up outfit just in case. It is very important to dress comfortably yet very chic. Seeing the super stylish fashions is half the fun. Also, please wear flat shoes for the walk to the site. Although preferred, your walking shoes don’t need to be white.

Don’t spend a lot of money. Find some custome jewelry, or shop at a vintage shop to find some unique items to make your ensemble POP!

Activity: There is the traditional waving of the napkins that signifies that it is now time to eat. They give out sparkles to all guests, which adds a sense of flare to the ambience. There was also some awesome music and plenty of dancing and mingling.

Food: You can either prepare your own food or select from a Diner en Blanc menu within a certain timeframe. I opted to order their food to avoid the fuss of preparation and transportation of food. My husband and I had salmon, rice, a tossed salad, and pastry – everything was delicious.

(Note: Your food is not delivered to you at your table. It is served in a box which you pick up yourself.)

Practice setting up your table before you arrive. You don’t want to wait until you get there to find out what doesn’t work.

Table Setting: Go ahead and invest in the Diner en Blanc 27 X 27 tables that they recommend. The tables are available on Amazon and they come with a carry bag, which makes these hassle-free tables all the more easier to carry around. Remember, your dishes should also be white.

(Note: The Dollar Store is a great place to look for decorating items. You do not want to invest in items that you won’t be using after the event is over. Also, you could ask friends or family to borrow some of the items that you may need. For example, I borrowed a friend’s picnic basket.)

Place setting: We ended up not even using the saucers, because, with the space allotted, function outweighed design etiquette; since, as the evening progressed, it was so dark that guests could hardly see your table setting after a while. Also, once you start eating, everything just goes all over the table in an attempt save space.

White Trash Bag: You are going to have to clean your table and immediate area.

Keep it Simple Sistah:

You want to avoid anything that may appear to be a hassle, which would include lugging oversized items, too much glass or awkward-size items.

To sum it, just keep it simple. People who attend Le Diner en Blanc the first time learn a nuanced approach that they then apply the second time around.

You can purchase your table here:

To get on the waiting list go to https://register.dinerenblanc.com/pittsburgh/en/register?


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