Curator’s Choice

Dining Under the Stars – Diner en Blanc NYC

Diner en Blanc NYC 2019

Imagine attending a fancy ball where all the guest wears white.  In the most beautiful rows of tables with beautiful place settings such as illuminated balloons, elaborate candlesticks, and, of course, fresh-cut flowers, individuals are dining under the stars.  Well, that is Diner en Blanc, a Parisian inspired dinner party that started in 1988 with a mere gathering of friends that has turned into an event of the year in over 70 cities around the world.    

It is always fun to dine with friends.

While the result is a fabulous evening, you do have to work a bit before you get to the fun part.  With that in mind, here are some logistical details that you might want to know.  If you think you want to attend, sign-up now for the waitlist because the only way you can partake is by being approved from the waitlist or an approved member invites you.  I live in the popular Diner en Blanc city of NYC, so I was on the waitlist for three years.  I know it sounds crazy, three years.  The cost to attend is $43.  In addition to wearing white, this means your Sunday best; you also must bring a full table setting.  Your linen napkin is key because throughout the evening, the dinner guest will break into a napkin waving frenzy as a gesture of approval or to thank the musicians.  Yes, there is fantastic live entertainment.

Images of hot, dressed in white, attendees waiting to learn the dinner location. Man, it was hot.

The event is held in a secret venue.  That means you arrive at a designated location to depart for the dinner with your group.  Since in NYC it is a nightmare to walk me down a busy street, imagine doing that walk, and a train ride, with a group of 30 strangers hauling table settings and food wearing our finest of white attire. 

Important logistical note, you must order your champagne and wine, those are the only drinks of the Parisians, in advance through the Diner En Blanc website.  If you don’t want a dry evening (check out the play on words) do this for sure.    

From my experience, these are my dos and don’ts for the evening.

Do:

  • Read the detailed email that you will receive once you register.  This will share your meetup location and time, along with other key insights. 
  • Wear white, but the outfit should be elegant, but you might not mind getting it stained or even rained upon at the event.  Just as the entertainment got going, the skies opened upon us.  I think a cocktail dress or flowy evening pants are perfect.  I would say a white jumpsuit, but you must factor in the porta-potty reality.  Ugh, not a fan.
  • Get creative.  Jazz up your outfit with an over the top (another play on words) hat.  I wore a fascinator with a few feathers and a veil.  While it was a very classic look, I felt like everyone was wearing a fascinator.  Note to self, no fascinator next year.
  • Also, go fancy with your table setting.  This will make your pictures and the evening that much more special. 
  • Bring a clear rain poncho.  If it rains, you can still stay dry and see your outfit.  As a gift for my table guests, I bought a pack of disposable ponchos for $9 on amazon. 

Don’ts

  • Bring a ton of bulky, heavy items.  Since there is a chance that you might have to walk or even climb stairs, you want to think about carrying items that roll-up and are lite in weight.  Go with the rule that you bring what you can carry.
  • Because it is an evening filled with excitement, don’t go crazy with the amount of food you bring.  Sure, bring enough food to share, but this isn’t Thanksgiving in the park. 
  • If you are a diva, like me, you must remember that this is an evening with a ton of moving parts.  Hence, there is something bound to go wrong.  When it does, smile and go with the flow.  Have an extra glass of champagne to take the edge off. 

For all these reasons, I give a big thumbs up for the Diner en Blanc experience.  Enjoy an evening of elegance under the stars.  Cheers!