Diner en Blanc 2013 is just 12 days away. We had a sincerely magical experience last year (see photos and our blog post) and can't wait to take part in this year's event with double the number of people. Any guesses on where it will be??
As first-timers last year, it was a little stressful to understand all the details and collect everything we needed, but it all worked out just fine. If you're still stressing over Diner en Blanc preparations, here are 22nd & Philly's 7 1/2 tips to make it a perfect night.
1. Have fun and be classy. Join in the dance party, meet new people and savor every moment. Just act like an adult and respect the public space we take over and the people who put a lot of effort into pulling this off.
2. There is still time. Use the forum on the Diner en Blanc site and their Pinterest boards for ideas. We used bizchair.com for cheap, decent quality chairs last year, L.L. Bean for the table and H&M for most of our outfits. I planned our food a week in advance, making a main dish of pasta salad and buying some meat, cheese and bread at DiBruno Bros the night before. Cherry tomatoes came from our garden. No idea yet what food we're packing this year.
3. Do what works for you, not the next guy. At first I was concerned over how much money we spent getting ready for Diner en Blanc. But the table and chairs have come in handy several times since and were easy to store in our tiny city rowhouse. Our H&M outfits were affordable, entirely appropriate and didn't worry me about spills. Stay within your comfort range - you'll see everything from designer jewelry to $5 flip flops. The experience alone will make you feel like a million bucks and that's what matters.
4. Keep it simple and only pack exactly what you need. You really do have to carry everything. Hand trucks help, you will see plenty of them, but otherwise don't worry about an extra glass, third fork or even over-packing your cheese. Make sure you have enough food to constitute dinner but not induce a food coma or produce unnecessary waste. The people around you will share food/wine, so be willing to reciprocate. Don't forget bottled water or your trash bag, too.
5. Follow the directions. They sound complicated but exist for a good reason. It is fascinating to see how quickly Diner en Blanc goes from an empty public space to an organized dinner party; you'll appreciate all the rules after. Show up on time. Your group can't leave until everyone is there. Listen to your table assignment and don't try to join up with someone else last minute. It messes up the arrangement.
6. Don't freak out if you aren't next to your friends. While you are eating, the set up of Diner en Blanc really only allows you to talk to the people on either side of you. But there is plenty of time to get up, stroll around (we encourage this! go check out all the other table decor and outfits) and see your friends. Once dinner is over, it turns into a big party. Plus, you'll be BFFs with your table mates before you even get to dessert.
7. Abide by the two bottles of wine per couple rule. Wine is a wonderful thing but, honestly, do you really need more than an entire bottle to yourself? Diner en Blanc is a really unique adventure. You'll want to remember it the next day. But you might want to take off from work ;-).
7.5. And stick to white wine. Champagne works too. Who wants to be that guy/gal with the giant red wine stain on your pristine white outfit?
Follow these tips and hopefully you'll have as much fun as this guy.