With Diner en Blanc coming up tomorrow, I thought I would share my thoughts about my experience when Chris and I went.

For those of you who don’t know much about Diner En Blanc, let me give you the lowdown – this event takes place once a year in a secret location.  In order to attend, you need to be invited by a table leader, be “sponsored” by someone who has attended previously or you can register online…or show up as a plus one like I did.  The rules are quite strict.  You are to wear only all white.  You are asked to bring a table with a white table cloth, two white chairs, white cloth napkins, cutlery, dishware and gourmet dinner items.  There is an option to purchase dinner (although the people at our table that ordered food didn’t seem too happy with it).  Alcohol can also be purchased at the event.

It’s pretty much a pop-up picnic in a Vancity public space.  The location stays a secret until the very last moment.

A sea of thousands of people show up donning head-to-toe white and expecting the unexpected.  It’s quite the sight to see.  There are some amazing surprises throughout the night and usually live music and dancing.  The night is one of great elegance and decorum. It’s a wonderful evening to mingle, admire the style and originality of others, meet new people and experience something unlike anything else.  My favorite moment of the night was easily the lighting of the sparklers after dark.  Simply breathtaking…wow.

There were some downsides to the event in my opinion like searching for an all white outfit, dishes, cloth napkins, picnic basket, etc. if you don’t already own these items.  I went on a search for white shoes every day for a week prior to the event. Seemed to be impossible to find as it sounded like everyone had the same idea before Diner en Blanc. The morning of I finally found a pair that I ended up buying that were about a half a size too big.  Luckily, in our case, we were invited from a table leader and the group had already arranged for the table and chairs to arrive for us so we didn’t have to worry about that.  Watching a dressed up crowd of people (including women in heels) dragging their table and chairs for our somewhat long walk felt like a lot of trouble.  We opted to take our own meal and the invitation mentioned that it should be “gourmet”, so add coming home from work to get fancy and having to prepare food before attending to the list.  I feel like the event would be much more enjoyable if it was on a weekend instead of a weekday evening.  Lastly, after all the work you put into bringing your own items, I should mention that you pay to attend this event.

Although I’m glad we had a wonderful time and I was thrilled to check it out after years of hearing about it, I don’t know that I would go back again.  It just felt like a lot of trouble to me when we went.  I do recommend that everyone try it at least once because it’s also an evening I’m happy I got to experience.

Diner en Blanc originated 30 years ago in Paris as a small event with a handful of friends.  It’s evolved into a unique phenomenon enjoyed all over the world.  I am happy to say I checked it off the bucket list.