If you were in Dallas and “in the know” last year, you will recall that the inaugural Dîner en Blanc (pronounced “dee-nay in blanc” /// “di.ne ən blaŋk”) Dallas 2015 was the event that you HAD to attend. If you’re like me, you missed it, and immediately regretted it! Let’s not all get down about it, though – before this post is over, you’ll know exactly how to get your chance at attending the TBA 2016 event. I recently had the chance to speak with Karen Raehpour, local event planner and 1/3 of the planning team behind Dîner en Blanc Dallas. With Earth Day just a few days away, we talked about how this event encourages and has rules set up for it to be an inherently sustainable function. Dîner en Blanc’s sustainability doesn’t come off as pretentious, as some view “green” folks and their habits to be. It is just a natural element that makes the event classy and unique. Let’s see how!
What is Dîner en Blanc?
Dîner en Blanc is an all-white dress and tablescape pop-up dinner party that takes place in an undisclosed natural and public outdoor space (it is undisclosed until the night of the event when attendees arrive to said location by bus). Guests bring everything they need for the dinner portion (more about this detailed in a later question) and unique entertainment is provided on site. There’s also a massive dance party!
Dîner en Blanc was started over 25 years ago in Paris by François Pasquier in an effort to meet and dine with all of his friends at once after having been away for a while. The event has organically grown from his handful of friends that started it all in Paris, to a coveted multi-city international event attend by thousands of people worldwide today.
What was the inaugural Dîner en Blanc 2015 event in Dallas like?
The inaugural event was held on the Continental Avenue Bridge and park in Dallas with the beautiful Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and night sky full of stars serving as the backdrop. The people of Dallas really made the event as spectacular as it was – the wildly beautiful and imaginative tablescapes that they designed and their beautiful outfits helped create the scene. A live fireworks show and live music also set the party off in a great way!
How does Dîner en Blanc promote sustainability, and did Dallas comply during its inaugural year?
There is no plastic or paper allowed at the event, so guest must pack real dishes for their picnic. Cloth napkins are provided for every guest by Southwest Airlines, a huge sponsor of the event. The idea of leaving the event space exactly as it was once everyone leaves by omitting chances to litter due to the rules against paper and plastic makes the event sustainable. Also, buses (public transportation) meet the attendees at certain location points and bus them in, so it takes away from the overall carbon emission that would occur if everyone drove all the way to the event.
What do Dîner en Blanc guests bring with them to the event?
The standard list of things you need to bring include:
- 30″-32″ square, white, roll-top/pop-up camping table that is able to be carried in a bag (like this)
- 2 light-weight, portable white chairs (like this)
- tableware and cutlery (all real dishes – no paper or plastic)
- food, if you choose to cook rather than take part in the catering (only 25% of people purchased from the caterer last year)
- picnic basket
- something to carry all of your supplies on (like this cart)
- tabletop decorations
What materials are allowed (or not allowed) on participants’ tables?
- cloth napkins
- serving bowls
- serving cutlery
- NO PLASTIC
- NO PAPER
- NO OPEN FLAME (instead, bring battery operated candles if you would like a candlelit dinner)
Is it expensive to attend Dîner en Blanc?
Not really! It is very reasonable considering the grandeur of the event. Tickets cost $37 per person, and there is an $8 Dîner en Blanc International membership fee. The membership fee ensures that you are on the invite list for the next year’s event, and is good for the rest of your life! Therefore, for 2 people, the cost is less than $100 for entry, the bus ride from your specified point to the undisclosed event location, fireworks, live music and entertainment, and a dance party.
Why is the concept of bringing real tableware (glasses, dishes, cutlery) part of Dîner en Blanc?
Dîner en Blanc is all about coming together as a community, as friends and family to enjoy public spaces and areas that we most times just view in passing without actually taking in their beauty. The dining portion is to mimic the gallantry of days gone by, remembering a time when dining was an true event. Dining was like a show put on by the hosts! It was elegant, sophisticated, and not just a quick meal. Real tableware reminds us of this and is a sign of respect for the meal. It is truly a festive moment and experience.
What items should people start gathering now for Dîner en Blanc Dallas 2016?
- Order a table soon! You’d hate to wait until the last minute to search for such a specific type of table (see here again)
- Start searching for your outfits. (I will be posting a sustainable and thrifty way to do so, soon!)
- Determine if you want to cook or purchase from the caterer. If you want to cook, start planning your menu.
- Figure out your packing logistics – packing light and easily is truly an art form. Don’t let your load of items weigh you down because you didn’t plan how to get them on and off the site properly (see cart again).
How can my readers get tickets to Dîner en Blanc Dallas 2016?
- Step 1: Get on the interest list!
- Step 2: Vigilantly check for the email telling you when you can actually register for the event.
- Step 3: Register as soon as it is available to you!!!
- There are 3 phases, and registration is open to each phase at a different time.
- Phase 3 is for the general public. If you don’t register within the first 30 minutes of this phase being opened, you most likely will miss out! IT SELLS OUT FAST!
- Remember: EVERYONE IS INVITED, NOBODY’S NOT INVITED. Being on the waiting list only means that you have to wait for your registration phase to open up. Everyone has the same chance to attend, but tickets are limited and first come first served.
Will I be seeing you at Dîner en Blanc this year? Where do you think it will be hosted? I can’t wait to see what Karen and the other ladies behind Dîner en Blanc Dallas 2016 come up with! I’m even more stocked that it is an inherently sustainable event and meant to mimic the dining experiences of times gone by, making old things new again – just like the Old World New motto! Register, get on the invitation list, register on time, and I’ll see y’all there!
xoxo, dolls & dudes