Diner en Blanc is a basically a flash mob-esque dinner concept started almost thirty years ago in France by Francois Pasquier. Now thousands of guests are invited to dinner, in all white, at a secret public location. The exact location is kept secret until the very last minute. Attendees bring everything–chairs, tables, decor, and food–and when it’s all over they pack up and disappear as if it never even happened.
Fast forward almost three decades and Diner en Blanc is taking the world by storm with there now being events spanning 5 continents in over 40 countries and countless cities. It’s the pinnacle of bougie events.
Last year I was lucky enough to have a good friend (Hey Ally Cat!) who was serving the event as a table leader. I say lucky because getting registered to go Diner en Blanc is akin to breaking into Fort Knox. Or whatever super secure building you prefer.
Registration for Diner en Blanc happens in 3 phases. Phase I is for people who attended the previous year, who purchased an absentee membership, or who’ve received a direct invitation from a table or group leader. This is what I got. Those with Phase 1 invitations are able to register first and are more or less guaranteed attendance.
Phase 2 is for those who have been sponsored by someone in phase one.
Phase 3 is basically for people on the waiting list. You don’t want to be Phase 3 if you can help it.
Each person invited brings a guest. The guest does not register, their name and email are included in the invitee’s registration.
When you register you’ll assign yourself and your guest to a table which has a leader (table leader). Each Table Leader will have 25 tables assigned to them or 50 people (including their guests) and a specific meet up location.
Diner en Blanc costs roughly $40 per person (up from $37 last year) plus the $9 membership and transaction fees. You’re probably wondering what the cost covers and the answer is not much. The membership and transaction fees cover training and operational costs and the remainder is your entry only. Guests are responsible for bringing everything else required however plenty of those items (including dinner) are available to rent from suggested vendors. I’ll get into what to bring and where to get it from in another post.
Long story short, you’re paying for an experience and I can’t pretend like it isn’t an epic one.
Arriving at Diner en Blanc
My guest and I opted to take the Metro down to our designated meeting spot. Traveling into the city was entertaining because even just two people dressed in all white carrying a cart full of stuff signaled that something was going on. People were intrigued. By the time we stepped off of the train there were hundreds of people clad in white heading to the event. It was definitely cool to see masses of strangers in white converge together. We found our Table Leader (Hey Ally!) and met with the rest of our group before walking a few blocks to the still secret location.
Eventually, we arrived at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial and everyone immediately began putting together their tables and decorations. Like I mentioned early, pretty much everything you need for the event can be purchased or rented from them. This was the time to pick up food boxes, wine, and table or chair rentals.
Once everyone gets their tables set up and are seated, they officially kick off the event. There were string instruments being played, maybe a welcome message (can’t remember), the ceremonial waving of the flags, and then everyone was given sparklers to light after dinner. Imagine a sea of white tables surrounded with guests seating in white waving white dinner napkins and holding sparklers. Epic!
After dinner, it was time to party!! There was a DJ set up and a dance area. This was a great time to meet new people or connect with friends who attended but were seated in other areas, and of course dance! If I had one complaint about Diner en Blanc last year it was that the music left a lot to be desired. Nonetheless, we still had a great time. The event was finished around 10 pm so we packed up all our things, tossed our trash, and rolled out. It was as if we were never even there.
My final thoughts about Diner en Blanc are that it’s fun, worth it despite the cost and effort, and definitely ranks top 3 on the list of bougiest events ever. It’s even better when you attend with a group of friends. Although I will say I have seen people who used Diner en Blanc as a first date opportunity. I’m not sure if I’d be that brave but I can see how it’d be a fun way to get to know someone. If Diner en Blanc is an event you see yourself going to again, it’s worth it to make the investment into purchasing your own items (table, chairs, etc) because you’ll use them again. I’ll be returning to Diner en Blanc again this year but as a Table Leader and I can’t wait to see the new location. My last thought about Diner en Blanc is that I love how global it is. I hope to be able to attend a Diner en Blanc event in another country soon because travel is life.
Have you attended a Diner en Blanc event? What Country? City? Or would you be interested in attending? Comment down below!