Diner en Blanc 2014: Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago

First things first, I’m a realist. No, I won’t inaccurately quote Iggy through this whole post, but I thought I should preface it with this phrase. It sums me up pretty well. I don’t get all mushy when I see babies, I never fantasized about my wedding, and I have learned not to get too over-excited about events. Until now.

I volunteered for Diner en Blanc because it just sounded…different. It wasn’t your typical dinner and a movie, cocktails and card games night with friends (which are both fine, but I like to mix it up when I can). As a mom of two in the ‘burbs, things don’t get too crazy, people don’t go too far outside the lines. We live our lives day to day, schlepping one kid to pre-school, another to a Mommy and Me class, rounding off the day with a scintillating trip to Target (Tar-jay if you want to get Fancy).

Diner en Blanc was one night to break the mold, step out of your comfort zone, and truly go for glamor and class (and here I thought both had died since dinners at my house consist of semi-naked children smearing food all over).

Honestly, it was one of the most intriguing and magical (yes, I used the word magical, a word I have never used to describe ANYthing before) evenings I have ever had. The night started weeks prior, picking out a dress, a back-up dress, accessories, shoes, tablescape, china, and of course nails:

Diner en Blanc: Noktivo Manicure with Gold Caviar Accent

Thank you to Noktivo Spa for offering an awesome discount for our attendees! I added a little gold caviar to my manicure.

The whole day of the event was dreary, muggy, and a torrential downpour on and off. I had many a participant text me asking if the event was cancelled, but I told them rain or shine, we will be drinking wine!

Here I am in the car, driving downtown through flooded streets, with rain rocking our car and wind blowing our truck sideways. The whopping 30 minutes that my hair was curly for the night:

Diner en Blanc: Wavy Hair and Pearls

As we pulled up to Castaways, the rain slowed to a slight drizzle, and the clouds parted to reveal slivers of sunshine. We gathered together for pre-event photos- what a gorgeous background to kick the night off!

Diner en Blanc: North Avenue Beach

Diner en Blanc: Walk to Lincoln Park Zoo

Diner en Blanc: Bridge Over Lake Shore Drive

At precisely 6:05, the table leaders started the journey to our secret destination. We walked north along North Avenue Beach, dodging puddles and righting toppled carts. Over the bridge and through the park, we eventually arrived at…Lincoln Park Zoo. Attendees were giddy over the revelation of our event’s location- the zoo is one of the most picturesque locations in all of Chicago.

We set up our tables along the pond, forming one long line of gorgeous table settings. China, crystal, lace, candelabras, and silver adorned each intricately decorated place setting.

Diner en Blanc: Table Set-up

Diner en Blanc: Shot of the Bridge Over the Pond

The tables spanned all along the pond and even over the bridge- here is a shot from the top of the bridge, with the skyline in the background:

Diner en Blanc Chicago 2014

There were strolling musicians, gift bags, an amazing photo booth (that our group kind of took over, sorry!), lounge, and the best part- a DJ mixing up dance songs for a massive, white-clad dance party on the bridge.

Diner en Blanc: Photo Booth with the Gals

Diner en Blanc: Group Photo Booth Shot- Fotio

Diner en Blanc: The Dip

So thrilled I got to spend the evening with the love of my life, friends new and old, and enjoy a tradition that we will carry on each year until our hair matches our outfits. Thank you to the directors, who put their heart and soul into this event, and thank you to those that truly got into the spirit of it.

Diner en Blanc: The 'Dub Girls

Diner en Blanc: Fashion in White
Dress- Ralph Lauren, Pearls- vintage, Bracelet- The Limited, Earrings- Banana Republic, Lipstick- MAC Ruby Woo, Shoes- BCBG, manicure- Noktivo Spa

Also, a big thanks to Rent the Runway for the awesome discount they provided for all of our attendees. If you used their services, please let me know- I would love to feature you in a post! Just comment below!

Can’t wait for next year…



  1. August 29, 2014 / 12:59 am

    Wow – this really looks amazing… I am definitely going to have to try to attend next year! (Also, your description of yourself at the beginning again makes me think we have lots in common!)

    • August 29, 2014 / 1:17 am

      I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to have you there! And yes, I think we have more in common than we know- September shopping date for sure!