This year, I finally secured an invitation to Diner En Blanc; an invitation-only gathering of all-white clad guests in a secret location that’s entirely BYOM (Bring Your Own Materials). The event originated in France thirty one years ago and has an absolutely phenomenal aesthetic.
Being a first-timer, I was worried about getting everything right, but I ended up being well-prepared.
Prior to this whole shindig, you’ll need:
– A square table that’s between 28” and 32”. I used this camp table from Amazon and it fit the bill. It was also incredibly easy to assemble.
– Two white folding chairs (these from Flash Furniture were perfect)
– A white tablecloth
– Two white cloth napkins
– Two white dinner plates
– Two white dessert plates
– Silver (not plastic) forks, spoons, and knives (don’t forget dessert spoons!)
– A white or clear umbrella (just in case!)
– Clear raincoats (Again, just in case!)
– Smartly packed food for two
– A subway card (as someone who swore off the subway a long time ago in favor of Uber, I really had to remember this one!)
– A large white bag to carry your items
– White garbage bags
– Wine opener (preferably white or silver)
– White lights for the table
– Two bottles of upscale water
– White table decor (flowers, vases, etc. – it’s best to get creative!
– An all-white outfit, complete with white shoes (make sure not to mix cream and white!)
– A silver lightweight cart with white bungee cables to smoothly transport your items
The most exciting part is that the end location is secret, meaning that you have absolutely no idea where you’re going to end up! There are checkpoints all around the city where you meet up with your table leader and check in. Then, you’re led into the subway and corralled to your end location.
Don’t worry! Traversing through the subway with all of your stuff is part of the fun – as long as you have your stuff smartly packed, of course! When preparing, focus on being chic AND mobile!
Our meet up point was Greeley Square, where tourists gawked at the mysterious crowd of all-white-clad people waiting by the statue of Horace Greenly. One bystander proclaimed that we were all members of the Illuminati, which gave everyone a good laugh.
After rolling through the subway and getting off at Chambers street, we followed our table leaders west, where an open span of Battery Park awaited us through the trees:
From there we were directed to our section and formed a line to setup. The goal is to setup your table with others so that your row looks like one long table overall. This being my first time attending, I am happy to say that this went off without a hitch! Our camp table was incredibly easy to assemble and after unfolding the chairs and setting the table, we had our own dining oasis:
Pro-tip: tuck all of your packing/transporting materials under your table to make things look more chic! Due to our easy assembly, we even had time to relax and look around as the remaining rows finished setting up their tables.
After everyone was assembled and seated, the dinner was kicked off by a ceremonial napkin wave:
We made friends with our neighbors over their beautifully prepared scallops and gaspacho while the table on our other side played matchmaker for my single friend.
Also one thing to note is that the event is not BYOB! If you would like wine, you would have needed to register in advance for pickup at the event via the Diner En Blanc website. We ordered a bottle of Chardonnay this way and it was an excellent choice:
There was also live entertainment from Broadway performers and an opera star, which made a nice backdrop to our meal. Plus, some of the surrounding outfits were downright incredible. We’re talking elaborate feather headdresses and embroidered dresses. I even spotted a Chrysler Building headpiece!
And then, the skies opened and it began to rain. The amazing thing about Diner En Blanc is that the event is rain or shine, meaning that you should come prepared with your dress-code appropriate umbrellas and raincoats! Here we are continuing our meal with a purchase I had made that very day – a white Kate Spade umbrella:
Plus, the crowd had begun singing New York New York at the very moment, which made it all that much more hilarious. Once thunder struck, however, we were instructed to pack up our things and vacate the park. Still, we were there long enough to have an amazing time. Plus, I’m more than ever prepared for next year. I can’t wait until the next one.