LE DÎNER EN BLANC: A Survival Guide

She's your Queen to be. A Queen to be forever.  A Queen who'll do whatever his Highness desires.  She's your Queen to be.  A vision of perfection.  An object of affection  To quench your royal fire,  Completely free from infection To be used at your discretion, Waiting only for your direction.  Your Queen to be.
She’s your Queen to be.
A Queen to be forever.
A Queen who’ll do whatever his Highness desires.
She’s your Queen to be.
A vision of perfection.
An object of affection
To quench your royal fire,
Completely free from infection
To be used at your discretion,
Waiting only for your direction.
Your Queen to be.

What an amazing evening I had last night at Le Dîner en Blanc-New York! Mystery, beautiful city landmark, dinner, wine, champagne, and dancing with lovers & friends–all dressed and picnic-equip in elegant white glitz & glam. *Sigh* what more could a girl ask for?! *Dramatic pause*… now, if only the days leading up to the most romantic event of the year were just as magical.
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Le Dîner en Blanc (pronounced Dee-neh uhn Blan and blanc means “white” in French) is a members and their invites-only pop-up picnic. Thousands of guests meet up at different meeting points in the city and then… suddenly… the secret location is announced and blanc-clad guests swarm the ferries and subways to the venue for an unconventional and unforgettable gathering. As you can imagine it takes an extraordinary amount of coordination from event staff to pull this off and they do a great job communicating via their Facebook page and website; HOWEVER, just the very nature of the event and it’s requirements will give ‘people like me’ a couple weeks long anxiety attack. This was my first year attending and to my shock and chagrin I learned you have to provide your own white table and chairs, food, table linen and décor, and figure out how to lug all this stuff on a public transportation adventure… in the summer… wearing all white… during rush hour… and be “elegant” at the end of it all. Well played organizers; because finding the perfect attire wasn’t hard enough lol. So me being me, I over-analyzed every last detail, overdosed on research, and essentially wasted a lot of time trying to be the perfect Le Dîner en Blanc patron. After all, I heard there were 35,000 people on the waiting list for 3 plus years. I felt honored.

Here’s some of the stupid sh*t I stressed over and a recap of my amazing night where none of that stupid sh*t mattered (aka Le Blanc Underground F.A.Q.’s)…

PICNIC UTILITY: Amazon Prime was my best friend last week. In the end, I decided to purchase my table and chairs because most of the suggested rental places were too far and there was no way in hell I was going through this search again next year.

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Les Winners. The table came folded in a small bag with handle. Set-up was a breeze. Everything was lightweight.

ATTIRE: If I had to do it all over again, I’d skip the malls and head straight to the boutiques for my unique white ensemble.

COLOR CHECKPOINT: I was not stopped & frisked by the White Police searching for colored contraband. Wait, that sounded terrible lol. What I mean is that it was not the end of the world that some minor things weren’t white/silver. I totally imagined being tackled by security at the entrance over things impossible to find en blanc. Shoe soles, black bands on fedoras, off white pieces, gold jewelry, etc. Some people were totally out of dress code and were allowed in, but don’t be that person.

TRANSPORT: Forgive my pre-mature pessimism over the “dreaded transport”; I’m just a New-Yawka AND a Capricorn, so I didn’t stand a chance of getting a free-spirit right out of the womb… aaannnd getting to the location was even more of a nightmare than I expected. I seriously don’t know how no one suffered from heat stroke, we had to take 2 trains (omg the stairs), BUT we worked together and there was a great sense of community. Oh wow, now that I say that out loud, I think that was the point.

K.I.S.S. YOUR DECOR (keep it simple, stupid): I was romanced by dozens of photos of designer tables and costumes from prior years. In reality, your small table fits just your plates, wine, and food. I advise limiting design to things that are functional like your dinnerware, ice bucket, and electric candles. Maybe you can squeeze in a small centerpiece. Let’s just say I’m glad I saved my receipts. Also, guests with elaborate headpieces were few and “about that life”. I was ready to go full Elizabeth-Taylor-in-Cleopatra throttle; but for a hassle-free evening where you’re actually present, K.I.S.S. your crown too. My headpiece was a $13 Ebay find.

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Nevermind that I did this at 3 am; setting my table at home was a great use of time! This picture was my guide for easy set-up and I avoided carrying extras. Faux petals, candles, origami bags, fruit hammock, wine glasses, and vase, all came from the dollar store. Napkins were $1 at Century 21 and I learned how to fold them on YouTube. The wine bottle prop is actually an umbrella I’m going to sell at Lit. BookBar–and yes, that’s measuring tape. (If you’re reading this you’re OCD too.)

FOOD: The meal was high up there on my Top-10-for-Nothing list of worries. I didn’t want anything cold and I needed it to be aesthetically appealing on my table. The event allows you to purchase food, but it was a little too pricey for my budget. BYOB is prohibited, so I only pre-ordered a bottle of their cheapest white wine (delish!) and took a couple shots of Pinot Negro (Hennessy & Red Bull) en-route. I made salmon, yellow rice, cabbage & bacon, mixed veggies and salad and everything made it from the Bronx to Hudson River Park nice and warm in an insulated bag.

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I know. I did that, right?! (I’m so pissed about the spoon being in the plate.)

MISC: The crew wasn’t seated together, but we were still accessible to each other all night. There were 5000 guests, so definitely have your phone charged to link up with your friends/Hardly anyone changed out of flats into their heels/A mentally and physically strong date is really useful for the haul.

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The moral of the story is get over yourself and enjoy all life has to offer.

Au revoir,

~1st Noëlle

Follow me on Instagram @1st.noelle for more of my fabulous Le Dîner en Blanc-New York 2015 videos & photos.

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7 comments

  1. Noëlle, my company GoodShuffle wasn’t at DEB NYC but we’re at DC, and will likely be supporting Boston and Charleston if yourself or any of your readers are having a hard time finding their table/chairs and other white place settings. Check it out at http://www.goodshuffle.com/debdc

    Hope to see you there!

    Like

  2. Great article. I’m heading to DC Diner en Blanc and this helps me put it all into perspective (and will save me a ton of time too)!

    Like

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