I attended my first Dîner en Blanc back in 2014 when it was held at Centennial Park and I remember distinctly being overwhelmed with the preparation for the event. I can guarantee you that your social media feeds would be flooded each year with images from the event of all the perfectly set tables and crisp white outfits. The most common question I receive is ‘how do you get tickets to Dîner en Blanc’ and what do you do when you manage to nab yourself a spot at these exclusive events. So if you are a virgin to the event then keep reading because I’ll provide you all the tips you need to prepare yourself for Diner en Blanc.
So, what is Dîner en Blanc?
To put it quite simply – it’s a flash mob dinner party that is set at a secret location (revealed on the day of the event, usually minutes before the start time when you meet at a designated meeting spot) where attendees are required (not optional) to dress in all white.
Partygoers will bring along their identically square tables and white chairs, along with utensils and food to set up for an evening with a few thousand of your closest mates.
Depending on the event organisers in your city, you may be able to purchase your food and wine to be collected at the venue. For Sydney-siders, bringing your own food is optional but alcohol is prohibited and can only be pre-purchased and collected on the day from the event sponsors. The reason being that we have strict alcohol laws in Australia and we just like to ruin the fun for everybody.
How do you get invited to Dîner en Blanc?
So you’ve seen pictures of your friends last year and are now intrigued as to what all the fuss is. It’s now time to score yourself an invite/ticket to the event. There are two ways you can do this:
- Sign up to the waitlist – this isn’t a guarantee that you will be able to purchase tickets but it’ll notify you of when phase 3 ticketing becomes available and it is on a first in, first served basis. This is actually how I got my initial ticket to the event and let me tell you, the process was quite stressful because tickets were sold out within 15 minutes! Be prepared to set those alarms and reminders, have all your card details ready and type like the wind.
- Ask a friend who is a member to sponsor you – each year; members (those who have attended the previous year and chosen to renew their membership) are allowed to sponsor one person to attend. That person will receive an email invite for phase 2 ticketing where they can purchase their membership and ticket to the event for themselves and one other guest. Once you become a member then you are automatically invited to phase 1 ticketing for the next year.
What to do I bring to Dîner en Blanc?
Yourself, a mate/partner and your best white outfit and dance moves. Jokes, here is a list of what I’ve found as necessities over the years.
- 1 x Square Folding Table – your organiser should advise you of the size this needs to be and will most likely have suggestions of where you can get such a specific sized table without having to embark on a DIY job.
Sydney-Siders Tip: I purchased my table from Bunnings here.
- 2 x White Folding Chairs – these chairs need to be primarily white and best place to find this is probably Ikea (here).
- White Table Linen – this includes tablecloth, napkins and chair covers if you can’t find white foldable chairs.
Sydney-Siders Tip: I purchased cheap linen from Kmart and treated them as disposable because it just made life easier that you didn’t have to carry everything home to wash.
- 1 x Foldable Dollie Trolley – there’s nothing worse then wearing your best white outfit and then having to lug around chunky tables, chairs and baskets to the venue. Make your life easy and get a trolley with cords to hold your bulky items.
- 1 x Picnic Basket/Cooler – the former looks great in photos but the latter is more practical so it’s entirely a personal choice on this one.
- Dinnerware for Two – you will need a set of plates, knives, forks, spoons and I would recommend plastic because it just means you can throw it out at the end of the night.
- Dinner for Two – this is again personal preference but my suggestion would be to pack things that won’t leak and explode in your basket/cooler.
- Decorations for the Table – be practical with this one because you only have so much room so if you bring a huge flower centrepiece, there will be no room for much else on the table. Bring battery operated candles over real ones because the venues are always outdoors and having to worry about candles blowing over and setting your insta-worthy table on fire is the last thing you want. Bring a bottle opener, rubbish bags, wet wipes and a small vase with flowers if you can be bothered.
- Sparklers & a Lighter – a tradition once the sun sets is that all attendees light a ginormous sparkler but you also have the option of bringing your own if you think one isn’t enough.
- Printout of Ticket & ID – this is a must and don’t forget your ID on the day because some organisers are incredibly anal about this one.
- Camera – if you want to capture this magical event then make sure you fully charge up your camera/phone before it so you can gather some snaps and show off to your mates 😉
- White Umbrella/Clear Ponchos – you’ll need to prepare for all weather conditions and sometimes you might be unlucky enough and get caught in a slight drizzle so better to be safe or be prepared to see a little too much of each other.
How much should you expect to spend?
Depending on which country you’re in you’ll be expected to pay for the membership registration/renewal fee which ranges from $10-$15 (for Aussie’s it’s $12) and then each ticket is roughly $50-$70 (for Aussie’s it’s $60). Then you will just need to budget for food, alcohol and investing in the base equipment the first year. I still have my table and chairs from the previous years so think of it as a cheap investment.
To give you a rough idea – I spent around $450 the first year of DeB, which included the following: registration, tickets, hampers, alcohol, table, chairs, dinnerware and decorations. My outfit was separate to this cost.
I think I’ve covered the basics here of what you need to know and will be doing a styling piece of what to wear to Dîner en Blanc in a post because this one is getting monstrously long and I’ve probably lost about half of you already!
Happy planning and tell me if you’ve attended any other DeB’s around the world because I would love to hear about your experiences!