*This post is part of a Diner En Blanc Series!  Check out the rest of the posts here!*

Despite my gripes from last year, I am back for more with Houston’s second edition of Diner En Blanc! This years event is set for Saturday October 15th.  *Fingers crossed* that we do not have a weather mishap that requires rescheduling like last year.  The Houston event is returning with new hosts this year and I expect it to be even better.  The new hosts have successfully hosted Diner En Blanc in New Orleans and Atlanta, so I imagine they know what they are doing!   With many lessons learned from last year I think I will manage to do this one smarter and CHEAPER. Check out my previous posts for the things you are required to have.  Here are some of my initial plans for this year:

Picnic Basket

My basket from last year broke during the event and it was not white which is against protocol *rolls eyes*.  I went and priced a new picnic basket and I could not believe the price of those things! Many of the nice ones were more than 100 bucks.  Hard pass on that! I found that cloth picnic baskets are significantly cheaper and more functional.  Also with the cloth picnic baskets you are more likely to find a white one.   My second thought though is to just grab a white reusable grocery bag (the Container Store has these too) and call it a day.  I am way more likely to use that again than a picnic basket! My suggestion here is do not feel pressed to purchase a fancy picnic basket just for this event especially if you have no plans to take a romantic picnic in the near future.  Keep it simple folks!

Food

Cooking my own food is not an option, because I AM LAZY.  Last year I grabbed prepared items from Whole Foods and Trader Joes for the picnic.  I am thinking of changing it up this time.  I am really thinking about ordering through Diner En Blanc directly.  This year they offer a vegetarian option for $27,  lobster rolls for $42 and beef tenderloin for $47.  All of these serve one person. While this costs more, the plus is it is less stuff to haul AND saves you on having to bring a picnic basket!  The portions are only made to serve one person, but it seems like A LOT of food as I am reading the breakdown.  I may order one of those and then fill in with some of my favorite things from Whole Foods and Trader Joes.  This will likely be more than enough for two people.  As you are planning your meal, remember the event is long and they really do want you to have several courses!

A slice of white cake from Dessert Gallery will still be my last course! YUMMY

A slice of white cake from Dessert Gallery will still be my last course! YUMMY

The food from Diner En Blanc does not come with plates or silverware.  I am again refusing to bring in my Crate and Barrel white plates because a) they are heavy and b) if one breaks I will have a conniption.  Last year I found some reusable white plates at Target for about a buck each.  I would recommend the same for anyone else who fears breaking their good plates!  They are not the prettiest but very functional.  Also, remember you cannot bring disposable plates, so plan accordingly.

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If you just HAVE to bring your good plates, I would grab these dinnerware storage sets from the Container Store.

Attire

Last year’s Diner En Blanc was held in May, so we benefited from seasonal white clothing being in stores.  With this October date many of us are scrambling to the internet to find good outfits for the occasion!  So I am going to let you in on one of my favorite internet secrets, a little website called BooHoo.com.  It is a online boutique based in the UK.  Decent quality clothes for the price and they always have some sale or discount going on.   Best of all, they have a LOT of white dresses right now even though they are out of season.  Since it is across the pond you will need to order fairly soon in order to have it in time.  I ordered two dresses just to be sure one of the options works.

Other options are websites/apps like Poshmark where people sell their own items directly.  You may be able to find a great outfit for a discounted price.  On the flip side, if you splurge on your outfit, you can recoup some of your funds by selling your outfit on on Poshmark afterwards!  Another wardrobe tip that I must impart, ladies bring a pair of flats and change into the heels once you are all settled!

Table and Chairs

This is where you spend the most money!  Remember last year I said I was getting a roll up table so I would not have to haul that heavy table again? Well my wallet said NAH on that.  For those going for the roll up table, they are grabbing this one (or this one)  which is sold at every camping store,Walmart and Target for about $40.  I cannot see myself using this table for anything else ever again therefore I am not buying it!! Instead I am going to rent like last year and sweat while I drag that table *heavy sigh*.  An HFBC colleague let  me know of a smaller rental company, Swift Events which has the table and chairs for under $14.23 to rent! You cannot beat that!  You usually can also rent linens if needed.   Also, please remember that you need to bring a dolly to haul these heavy tables.  I picked up one last year from the Container Store.

I am still keeping my eye out for this plastic table I saw a guy with last year.  It was this style of table, but within the size limits. It folded in half and had a cloth handle on it.  That seemed to be most ideal. If you see this table LET ME KNOW!

Wine

Once again, we are unable to bring our own wine! Wine must be purchased through the online store.  Just like last year they have the “Target special” wine for $25.  Since there is a prohibition on glass again, I am betting that the wine will come in a plastic carafe which makes for another good souvenir!  This event without wine should be illegal, trust me I did it last year and regretted it.  The cheapest bottle is the $25 bottle.  Buy it and thank me later.

Decorations

I am at a loss here partly because I failed miserably at this part last year.  My tablescape was not picture worthy at all.  I intend to do better this time.  Decorations are a key part of what makes this fun! While I refuse to overdo it with elaborate decorations that require hauling and bubble wrap, I am on the search for smart decorations that can make my table stand out.  *Sighs* off to pinterest I go!

That’s all I have for now! Please comment below if you have any tips or suggestions for this years event! We should all share the wealth :).

Update

Diner En Blanc List1) Foldable Table or Option 2 |2) Fancy Picnic Basket with plates and glasses | 3) Simpler Picnic Basket | 4) Luggage Cart to haul everything | 5) Cake stand | 6)  Tiered Dessert Stand | 7) Charcuterie Board or Option 2 | 8) Fancy Plastic Plates so you don’t break your good ones! (bring silverware from home though) | 9) Flameless Candles | 10) Foldable Chairs | 11) Vase, just add white hydrangeas or roses | 12) Drink Container for water or other drinks | 13) Shatterproof Wine Glasses | 14) Pintuck Table Cloth or a cheaper simple option | 15) Cloth Napkins | 16) Eiffel Tower Centerpiece more Eiffel Tower decorations!  | 17) Silver Charger Plates