It’s almost time again for Diner en Blanc D.C. 2017 which will be taking place on August 26th at a still undisclosed location. I recently recapped my first time at Diner en Blanc last year and can’t wait to attend this year this time as a Table Leader. No matter which location you are attending, this guide will have you prepared to do Diner en Blanc right. I’m going to take you through everything you need to know and need to purchase to make your experience a great one.
Disclosure: There are some affiliate links below, but these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used.
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 plus the $9 membership and transaction fees. You are 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.
RELATED: Diner en Blanc D.C. 2016
What to Pack
Remember that you’re at a table for two so you’ll need two of most things to set the table properly.
- White dinner plates (Check your local Dollar Tree)
- White Cloth Napkins
- Silverware (Check your local Dollar Tree or Walmart)
- Wine Glasses (Check your local Dollar Tree) Don’t bring your good china, if it breaks you’ll be mad.
- Trash Bag
- Paper Towels
- Hand Sanitizer
- Juice* (not req’d)
- White Tablecloth (not plastic)
- Flameless candles
- Table decor –show your personality. Don’t be that person with the dry table top!
- Collapsible Table – Don’t make the mistake of bringing a table that doesn’t collapse, this includes ones that only fold the legs. They are hard to carry.
- Folding Chairs
- Bottle opener* If you’re purchasing alcohol
- Your I.D. to enter and pick up any pre-ordered items
- Camera — Capture the moment
- Wet wipes – These come in handy for wiping off things before repacking at the end of the night.
Pro tip: Suggest doing a potluck for those interested in your group to your table leader. This will drastically cut down on the amount of food you need to bring with you. You want to travel as light as possible.
- Wear ALL White. It’s called Diner en Blanc for a reason. Make sure your attire is elegant, this ain’t your neighborhood cookout.
- Get some kind of cart or wagon to carry all of your items. I can’t express how many people we saw struggling to carry their things for about 15 minutes. People dropping things constantly. It’s not worth it.
- Wear comfortable shoes. You ARE going to be walking–while carrying things–keep this in mind. Ladies, fight the urge to want to slay the game with heels. This ain’t that kind of party. If you must wear heels, bring a change of shoes.
- Bring water. Consider freezing it halfway prior to the event so it’ll be cold throughout.
- A full dry run of your table set up. Make sure you know how to put everything together.
- Make sure all your items (table cloth, chair/chair covers, napkins, decor) are white unless they are being covered in something white or stowed away. For example, my wagon is black but it will be stowed completely under my table during the event so it’s ok.
- Print out your ticket confirmation
- Leave early to arrive at your meet up location. Remember you don’t actually know where your final destination is until you get there. I ended up being late last year due to traffic and it’s a headache to coordinate catching up. Give yourself a cushion.
- Bring a TIDE bleach stick in case of spills.
- Prepay for any public transportation costs (if applicable), there will be thousands of people using it and your time is short.
- Have fun! Make new friends!
Pro Tip: If you’re like me and can’t appreciate cold food, wait until just before you leave home to pull your food out of the oven or off the stove. Wrap it good and place it into an insulated bag and your food should be at the very least warm by the time dinner is ready to be served. Last year I brought chicken wings and they were nice and warm at dinner.
- Wear any other colors. Accents/jewelry in silver or gold is allowed.
- Wear beige, cream, ivory or any other variations of white. Wear white. Dassit.
- Bring more than you need. Don’t make this harder than it needs to be, keep it simple.
- Bring your own alcohol, it’s not allowed. Wine is available for pre-order through the DEB website.
- If you’re bringing your own food, be cautious of food that can stain your clothes.
- Wait until the last minute to secure your outfit, decor, or supplies. White can be hard to find sometimes.
- Bring paper plates and cheap plastic cutlery. Remember this is a classy affair.
- Be late to your meet up location
- Ask your Table Leader for the specific location— #IssaSecret
- Try to go without some type of wagon or dolly, you will regret it.
Direct Links for Supplies
Below are direct links to items I personally purchased and used for Diner en Blanc. For everything else I provided recommendations for where you can find those items to purchase without breaking the bank.
I LOVE this table. It’s so simple to assemble (3-4 steps) and collapses into a very small package that can fit almost anywhere. I actually keep it in my truck during “cook out season” because you never know when you might need a table. Your table for Diner en Blanc must be between 26″ and 34″, square. Remember you are one of a group of 25 couples who will all place their tables together so they can’t be all random sizes or the long table will look crazy!
Similar to the string lights, these flameless candles are another simple way to brighten up your table –without the risk of burning your table down.
If you have folding chairs that are not white, you can use these chair covers to be compliant. You can also just use them if you would like your chairs to have a more sleek finish. I purchased my folding chairs from Ikea which were priced at $7.99 each.
Diner en Blanc is a rain or shine event, so depending on the weather forecast in the city you’re attending you may want to bring along an umbrella. Your umbrella must be, you guessed it, white or clear.
This wagon was the best thing I could have ever purchased. I mentioned before that it’s absolutely critical for you to have some sort of collapsible wagon or dolly to easily transport your supplies. It doesn’t get any easier than this. This wagon folds up completely and will fit nicely underneath your table and in your trunk.
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