I am a researcher by nature, must be the History BA and law degree, so I immediately hit google to find out everything about this diner en blanc concept. It started 25 years ago by a man in Paris who wanted to picnic at the Eiffel Tower with a group of friends and family. They wore head to toe white to easily spot each other. Well it’s grown beyond friends to a meeting of 1,000 plus strangers at locations around the world, who come together to share a meal in beautiful places in the host city.
What I THOUGHT
So after my research, this is what I THOUGHT the event would entail
- We meet at a pre-established drop off point then the pile into a chartered bus with all of our supplies to head to a surprise location for the dinner. In cooler greener cities, they use mass transit, but Houston ain’t that cool yet.
- We wear our fabulous white outfits including big floppy white hats or even fascinators.
- Wine of my choice. I like the cheap stuff, don’t judge me.
- Picnic appropriate foods, like cheese, crackers, or prosciutto. Plus a cupcake, because I love cupcakes.
- White linens and table decorations
- And table for two with one of my favorite girlfriends!
What it ACTUALLY Entails
Boy was I wrong! Now this may not be the case for all of the diner en blanc events around the world! After forking over a fee, I learned that the Houston event requires all of the below!
- Bring my OWN table table that is within the dimensions of 24 and 30 inches. i.e. a card table. But make sure it can easily be hauled because YOU have to carry it.
- Bring my OWN white chairs. Who has white chairs??
- Food of your choice. But you are encouraged to have several courses.
- A picnic basket that is supposed to be spray painted white. HA!
- White plates, that can NOT be disposable plates. Even though this is a picnic.
- All white linens, including white linen napkins for the ceremonial napkin wave at the beginning of the evening. I have no qualms with this.
- An “elegant” white outfit. They want you dressed for the Opera.
- Wine that can ONLY be purchased through the diner en blanc online store. Wine that goes for $20 in said online store but 8 bucks at my local Target.
- No glass whatsoever or real candles. Yes plastic, non-disposable glasses and electric votives for an elegant event.
- A dolly or cart to haul all this stuff three blocks from the drop off point. I guess I can reuse it.
- Clear ponchos and/or an umbrella, because rain is in the forecast. This event is rain or shine and they have already rescheduled it once because of Houston flooding.
- Table decorations. I’ll probably grab some white flowers at Trader Joes and call it a day.
- Oh and a $45 fee, presumably for the charter bus that shuttles you to the undisclosed location and whatever entertainment they include.
- A WHITE trash brag to dispose of your own items. At that point does it really matter if it’s white or not?
- AND I am sure I am missing something.
I hate to sound so negative about this event, but there is just SO much work that goes into this. I say all this to say that this event isn’t as simple as it appears. Consider yourself warned! There is a lot of planning involved and it can be pricy! Unless you are a person who just happens to have all of the above random things you are going to end up shelling out some funds.
My mother happened to have a white linens and a picnic basket that I’m gladly borrowing. I have plenty of white wardrobe options, but I needed a new white blouse, yes need, don’t argue this point. My crate and barrel plates do not travel well, so I purchased some picnic type plates from Target and white linen napkins. I am using my own silverware and praying I don’t lose any! I had to buy a dolly from the container store ($40) to haul all of this stuff. AND I am currently scrambling to find a place I can rent tables and chairs from by Sunday. I hope that this event lives up to the hype and I can write an exciting post come Monday, but until then… 🙁
My prep stuff, still more things needed though!
1) 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
* For the visual folks check out my diner en blanc board on my blackgirlswhobrunch Pinterest page. Also read my review from after the event*