Ladies and gentlemen, get ready for my favorite event of the year: Le Diner en Blanc Chicago!
If you aren’t familiar with this fabulous fête, you can see a few of my previous posts to get the vibe. Basically, it is a chic pop up picnic held at a secret location in the city with everyone dressed elegantly in white.
This is the original concept, created in Paris nearly 30 years ago and is in fact an international organization with events in dozens of cities and multiple countries (DeB Nairobi, anyone? How about Shanghai? Or Sydney at the Opera House?). We all share the same set of guidelines, and the spirit of the event is to celebrate friendship and the beauty of your city.
I am here to give you the lowdown on how to prepare for this amazing event. The 2016 Chicago bash is sold out (official date is August 12th), but there are always last minute cancellations so I’m tell you there is a chance 😉
Here is the official 2015 Diner en Blanc Chicago video to give you a feel for what our city brings to the table:
First, you need a table and chairs. Yes, there are specific dimensions because with over 3,000 attendees, we can’t have someone bringing a dining room table.
- 28″ to 32″ square
- 27″-30″ high
Here are a few approved options on Amazon:
Coleman 4 in 1 Pack-Away Outdoor Table
Currently $49.99 with free Prime shipping; my favorite choice because I use it for parties at home and outdoor concerts/picnics
Coleman Outdoor Compact Table
Currently under $30; the most portable, it is lighter weight and is easy to assemble
As for chairs, here is what I purchased on Amazon. They will stand up to some chair dancing, if you feel inspired 😉
Hercules 800lb. Capacity Folding Chairs
Currently under $20 each; if you don’t have white chairs, pop a white sheet over your chair and tie with a white scarf.
As for your table settings, thrift store it! Diner en Blanc doesn’t allow paper plates, you gotta go for the real deal. I grabbed gorgeous china plates from Goodwill for less than a dollar, and spray painted a thrifted wicker picnic basket white (check out my haul here).
People go crazy with tablescapes- from massive candleabras (yes, candles are allowed this year!) to mini gazebos to towering floral arrangements, go big! Just make sure there is room on your table to eat. Here are some of the submissions for the best table contest from last year!
Now, this is where my personal style comes into play. Make it elegant (as in, no white jorts and wifebeaters please). Make it white. That’s it! We have a special discount through Rent the Runway this year in Chicago- get in touch with my gal pal Souk at RTR to hook you up.
Diner en Blanc attendees have an exclusive coupon code at Rocksbox to receive a month of free jewelry rental! Use the code DINERENBLANCROCKS; More info to come in a future post.
When it comes to shoes, keep ’em comfy! Bring a pair of flip flops or cute sneakers for the trek to the event. I just bought some white flip flops at Old Navy for $2.50. As for my heels, I want to be able to stay on the dance floor and hit up the after party without limping around. I grabbed some Aerosoles (ok, am I getting old??) with a ton of cushioning. You might laugh now, but I will be the one tearing it up until the wee hours without crying about my feet.
You can also jazz up a basic white dress by popping on a white hat, fascinator or clip! These adorable Etsy options are affordable and unique:
The Fabulous Food
I always order the catered picnic basket every year because it is amazing! Here is a sample menu from this year’s event, thanks to Paramount Catering:
La Fournette Baguette with Local Butter
Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad with Nectarine, Basil and Aged Balsamic
French Lentils with Tomato, Capers, Pickled Shallot, Feta, Mirepoix and Fine Herbs
Savory Gallette- Caramelized Onions, Cauliflower, New Potato, Preserved Lemon Pistou and Aioli
Berries and Whipped Cream
If you want to bring your own picnic, I highly recommend popping into any of Pastoral’s Chicago locations to stock up on the best gourmet goodies! Diner en Blanc Chicago attendees receive a 15% discount; check your confirmation email for more info. I will highlight some of my Pastoral Picks in an upcoming post.
Cheers to an amazing event! Make sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram @CJAllDressedUp to see coverage of the food, fashion and friendship this event brings.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you purchase through my post I make a small commission. It doesn’t affect your purchase price.