Did you see a sea of white all over social media recently? Diner en Blanc, an all-white pop-up picnic, has been happening in major cities and I attended for the first time. Philadelphia closed down Broad Street as a mob of elegantly-clad couples set up to dine in front of City Hall. It’s more magical in real life than online. Like prom or a wedding, the evening went by in a blink of an eye. I’m already pumped to attend next year and learned a few things at my first go.
1. Get the table and chairs first. This event was a ton of fun and well worth all the work. For those not familiar, DEB is a BIG, outdoor pop-up picnic that requires you to bring your own table, chairs, food, and wine. All attire and decor should be white and upscale. I waited until the day of the event (typical) to find a table and chairs. Bad idea. Ikea was totally wiped out and so was everyplace else I could think of. So I had to use the tiny folding table and chairs I already owned (wrong color, size, and quite heavy). This leads me to the second thing I learned.
2. Pack light. The event requires meeting at a secret location and then being led to the event, so be prepared to lug your stuff. Lots of people had wagons and wheel carts. Running fashionably late worked in my favor and I got to meet my group at the second location, which was closer to our final destination. Next year my table and chairs won’t weigh a ton.
3. Bring a camera. Obvious, but I didn’t. A cell phone can take decent pictures, but this night was made for photos.
4. Hit up the photo booth early. This event went by too fast. By the time I remembered there was a photo booth the line was just too insane.
5. Put a little effort into the spread. A lot of people opted for catering. They’re smart, but part of the fun is prepping and crafting a yummy spread. Let me correct myself, it’s fun when you have time. I was short on that so kept it simple with wine, cheese, pepperoni, grapes, pita chips, hummus, and chocolate. Delicious, but excited to step it up for next year. Maybe I’ll do a whole guide on prepping next year. Someone please remind me!
6. Keep it classy with cloth napkins. After the tables are set the traditional napkin wave commences and it’s time to dine. I was the unclassy lady using a white paper towel. #Oops
7. Do two bottles of bubbly. I had two bottles of wine and left one home thinking we wouldn’t drink it. My date was kind enough to walk a few blocks to snag us another bottle. Hey, it’s only Diner en Blanc once a year, unless you venture to other cities for it.
8. Dress comfy, but classy and chic. As long as you’re wearing all white you’re good, but some people pull out all the stops. I aspire to plan ahead and do that. You’ve got stuff to transport and want to be able to eat, drink, and be merry. Needless to say I opted for flats. Sore feet put a damper on things.
What I wore: I waited until the day of the event for to prep everything, including my outfit and my date’s. I wore a clear statement necklace I’ve owned for years, a sale-rack MNG by Mango dress ($29.99), and Call It Spring gladiator sandals that were also on sale ($23.99).
9. Enjoy it all. At first I was a little stressed. You want to get to the secret location in time, find and stick with your group, and just get there. The whole thing is an experience. You’re in a sea of white, yet it feels quite intimate. It’s funny, there were a lot of people there I know that I didn’t run into or even see. There’s a lot going on – a little parade, runners, dining, dancing. Just soak it up. For this event I really spent it with my date, got to know our table mates, and caught up with a couple friends. I was nice to not really worry about Instagramming each moment in real time.
Cheers to experiences! That’s what it’s all about. Live it the moment. Be present. Enjoy what’s right now.
Have a fabulous weekend!
Did you attend DEB? Comment below or tweet me @JessieHoleva.
I attend Dîner en Blanc in Philly as well! I agree, finding table and chairs even the weekend before was super difficult, and I should’ve gotten them earlier!