What a night! Just picture this–2500 people dressed in white for a fine dining event in the middle of the street leading to 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. I should mention it cost us $30 a person and we had to bring everything from table to food.
Diner en Blanc is a popup dining event where everyone dresses in white and no one finds out the location until you arrive. I bet you are so confused, Diner en Blanc works like this-
- Be lucky enough to successfully complete registration (and pay your $60 per couple)
- Find an elegant white ensemble for you and your date
- Find a table, chairs, and all needed plates/glasses/napkins
- Arrive at preassigned meeting place to be lead to dinner
- Travel to dinner location and set up your table with 2500 of your new friends
Today’s Five on Friday is dedicated to what you will need for a Diner En Blanc event and where you can get it!
1. Picnic Basket
We lucked out and found our picnic basket for $4 at a Goodwill in Lancaster. Sure it had Mickey and Goofy playing baseball on the top but three coats of spray paint made the basket much classier looking. Before purchasing a new picnic basket, investigate your local thrift stores because you’ll never know what you will find. Side note: We noticed a ton of people using reusable grocery shopping baskets to carry their items in.
Diner en Blanc requires a specific table size (28”-32” square table) to accommodate all of the guests and it’s not an easy table size to find until we ventured into a sports store. Table problem solved with a roll up camping table! We spent about $40 on the table and know we can use it for other events besides Diner en Blanc. The best part about the table was it carrying case, the table rolled up and could be carried over your shoulder. As you can see from the picture, most people chose the camping tables.
You had the option for a catered meal (various price points) or to bring you own three course meal. We selected the bring your own meal option which (due to an incredibly busy week at work) was catered by Trader Joe’s for $21 total, not including champagne. We had goat cheese smothered in blueberries with fresh French bread, kale salad with edaname and dried cranberries, pasta in a cream sauce with asparagus and salmon, and macaroons with tiramisu.
4. Place settings
Plastic plates and plastic cutlery is a huge “no-no” at Diner en Blanc. I found a set of four small Bonjour Paris plates in black and white at HomeGoods for $7. Additionally, I found a long white tablecloth clearance for $5. I trimmed the tablecloth and used the excess for three white cloth napkins. I found our white dinner plates and bread basket at the dollar store. Silverware and little glasses for candles came for the thrift store. Our drinking glasses were clearanced at Marshalls for $1 apiece. If you are willing to search, you can find the items for a few dollars. I splurged on the Paris plates because we will use them. Many people brought floral centerpieces for their tables. I brought a bread basket because I know we’d rather have the bread than the flowers.
White clothing is not something I really own. Sure a white t-shirt but that’s about it, heck the tops I wore last night I needed to buy for other events where I needed to wear white (beaded top- rehearsal dinner, white cardigan- work event). I found a pair of white linen pants at Banana Republic for $25 (woohoo clearance!) and a pair of white khakis for Greg at Kohls for $24 (woohoo clearance again). With both items, I attempted to find a piece we could wear again and I think I succeeded. We found a minimal yield for white clothing at the thrift stores but succeeded with everyone else’s end of summer clearance sales. For talking with other people, they followed the method of finding white clothing.
Have a great Friday and find a Diner en Blanc near you!