This past week, as my trip to Vancouver continues to extend itself, I stumbled into an invite to Dîner en Blanc. If you’re unfamiliar with the event, this invite-only picnic originated in Paris 25 years ago and is now celebrated the world over in cities including Montreal, Versailles, Milan, Singapore, Barcelona and Sydney. This isn’t your typical checked-cloth and charcuterie gathering. China, silverware and crystal place settings are required and guests show up dressed to impress. In Vancouver, the event is orchestrated by The Social Concierge, the boys behind other fabulous events like Deighton Cup.
Exclusivity and a white on white on white outfit? So fresh. AND, so clean.
You can’t put on an event for upwards of 3,000 people without complaints, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t dish out a few along the way. As a girl whose event efforts usually involve outfit prep and turning up, the thought of organizing a three course meal, table and chair rentals, and lugging it to a secret location seemed a bit exasperating. And, frankly, it was. There seemed to be a large lull in the evening as we left our apartment in Yaletown to head to our meeting point, just to get on a bus and be carted back to Yaletown – a mere 2 blocks from where we had been 90 minutes earlier! Not only that, but everyone has social media in their pocket at all times, and the locale was captured being setup throughout the day with the #DEBvan, eliminating all elusiveness. Sure, it would break tradition, but why wouldn’t they bypass the meeting places, save on the buses and coordination, and just have the destination email blasted out shortly before commencement?
Of course, it isn’t fun to haul your baskets, dishes and furniture around town, but this did separate the veterans from the rest of us with their wheeled contraptions. Although it’s brilliant to see the individuality of guests through their food and table settings, perhaps invitation prices could be upped slightly or the bus monies allocated differently in order to have the larger items provided in uniformity and ease. After a gorgeous evening of champagne, music and friends, the teardown and lugging of furniture home was a major buzz kill.
All of that aside, as the pictures can attest to, the evening itself was stunning. We were greeted with beautiful Parisian music, followed by numerous musicians until the night peaked with a DJ set. There were aerial performances and contemporary dancers, and many cute white settings to capture pictures of the night. Two traditions carried over the 25 years from Paris are the napkin wave and the group sparkler session once the sun has set, the latter being an absolute highlight!
My notes on Dîner en Blanc?
- Ordering red wine is just a bad choice. Stick to bubbles and vin blanc.
- Have a good douche-radar. All men will be wearing white belts and shoes so this easy way to decipher is out the window.
- Pack as light as can be and avoid bulky items. If you can get your hands on a white trolley to transport your items with ease – do it!
- Ladies, a secret outdoor picnic locale means stilettos are a bad choice. Stick to wedges or hook yourself up with these babies.
- Don’t set your sparklers down on your linens until they have cooled off.
- Grass stains are a real thing. Sit in your chair.
- Bring a group of people who are up for a good time, and willing to put in some effort to get there. Boys who are willing to carry your furniture are always a good choice as well.
All in all, it was a great night – I would like to check this event out in a different country to see how it plays out differently. Moscow anyone?
Photo cred: @kerrylawrencephotography