How To Plan, Prep and Pack For Diner En Blanc

Diner en Blanc: The Ultimate Dining Experience in the Most Unusual Spaces

What is Diner en Blanc?  Dîner en Blanc was born in Paris. This all-white chic picnic is no ordinary picnic.  You must get invited by someone who is already a member or you can join the Houston Waiting List to receive an invitation. Guests must wear white, bring a table, chairs, decor and food.  Ç'est Magnifique!

I had a MEMORABLE time!  The vibe was strong and stimulating.  Looking over the crowd, all you see is an ocean of white.  The tabletop designs were very stylish and the various menu items prepared looked so enticing against the white place settings.  

Being a professional in the party industry made planning for this event fun and exciting. I used the same steps as if I were planning a cocktail party for a client.  You may think this is going to be a lot of work having to bring EVERYTHING, but it doesn't have to be if you are organized.  I'm going to walk you through the steps on how to plan, prep & pack for a fancy picnic for two.  

Diner en Blanc Houston 2016 - Minute Maid Park

STEP 1 - REGISTRATION

These tickets go really fast, so don't PROCRASTINATE! 🙂

What are the key rules of the event?

  • In order to participate, guests must be a member or be sponsored by a member from the previous year, OR they must sign up on the official website's waiting list.
  • Once confirmed, each guests' participation in the event becomes mandatory, regardless of weather conditions, as Dîner en Blanc is a rain or shine event.
  • Participants arrive and then depart in unison by chartered bus or organized public transportation.
  • They take all of their belongings with them at the end of the night.

Must-bring items?

  • A table and two white chairs.
  • A picnic basket including a white tablecloth and napkins, gourmet meal items, cutlery, dishware, and glassware.
  • Wine or Champagne must be purchased through Diner en Blanc wine sponsor. Beer and hard alcohol is prohibited.

Dress Code

  • Participants must wear white (and white only) and be dressed elegantly.
  • Originality is always encouraged as long as it stays stylish and denotes taste.

STEP 2 - MENU PLANNING

When planning your menu, keep in mind this is a picnic for two.  You won't need a lot of food, so you can get a little creative with your menu.  There is no stove or microwave to warm up your food, plus you'll be outside, so you may want to think about foods that keep well at room temperature, unless you're bringing a cooler to keep food cold.  If you live in Houston, a cooler is a great option.  Sometimes it 85 degrees at night.

TIP:  I used foil pans with lids to keep my food.  Clean up is easy and this is something you don't have to repack just toss in the trash, unless you have leftovers.

PREPAID WINE & CATERINGDiner En Blanc offers a prepaid catering service for convenience, check website for details. Outside wine, beer or liquor is prohibited, but you can pre-purchase your wine selections with Diner en Blanc's wine sponsor. You can pick up your dinner & wine at the secret venue. Make sure you observe the assigned deadlines for these services.

Feel free to visit my Pinterest board, All White Dinner Party Inspirations ,for more recipes. Here are a few delectable and easy suggestions to help you create the perfect menu:

STEP 3 - DESIGN & DECOR

DEB encourages participants to get creative with their tabletop design.  Every year you can expect to see over-the-top table decorations. REMEMBER, you have to carry these things to and from the picnic site and you won't know how far you have to walk, so less is more. if it's your time, I would suggest keeping it minimal and simple.  You don't want to get overwhelmed.  Visit my Pinterest board, All White Dinner Party, for a little inspiration.

Dinner is in the evening, so lighting can really set the mood.  You can incorporate strings of battery powered white lights, table lanterns or white battery operated candles. When deciding your tabletop design, create a mock-up at home.  This will help you to stay organized, plus set-up time at the venue is short, so you must be able to move quickly with confidence. It will save you time and frustration.

Below is a gallery of photos from around the web that demonstrate fabulous tabletop designs created for Diner en Blanc:

TIP:  Set up a mock setting to get an idea of what works and what won't work.

STEP 4 - PACK IT UP

TABLE AND CHAIRS - Your table and chairs are your bulkiest items, I suggest using a folding cart.  This made my experience and my mood (lol) a whole lot better. I was also able to pack some of the other items I had to bring.  Here's the one I used.  This portable dollie is great as well, make sure you get the bungee cords to hold your items in place.   Whatever you decide, it has to fit underneath your table, so it needs to be compact.

Camping tables in a bag are great, they roll-up, light-weight and easy to carry. The table does not have to be white, as it will be covered with a table cloth.  

You can also rent your tables, chairs and linens at your local party rental store.  This option works well for those who don't want to purchase tables, chairs and linens.

PICNIC BASKET/INSULATED TOTE

You'll need to put all of your items in something easy to carry around and DEB highly recommends a picnic basket. If you don't bring a rolling cooler, I'd highly suggest a tote bag cooler or a Styrofoam cooler. We were able to put all of our food items in the small cooler and everything else, in the tote bag.

Of course, you can use what you have, but for things you don't have, I've sourced the internet for items I found on Amazon.com, DollarTree.com & Walmart.com:

TABLES & CHAIRS:

TOTES & BASKETS:

COOLERS & CARTS:

TABLE LINEN:

 

The Essentials

  • 1 - Table (square 27" to 36")
  • 2 - White Chairs (other than white, use white chair cover)
  • Picnic Basket / Rolling Cooler
  • White Tablecloth
  • 2 - Napkins (white, cloth)
  • Dinner for Two
  • Cutlery/Service-ware
  • Dinner Plates (glass, porcelain, white or clear, no plastic or paper)
  • Wine/Beverage Glasses
  • Wine or Champagne. Beer and hard alcohol is prohibited.
  • Water/Non-Alcoholic Beverage

Decor & Miscellaneous:

  • Décor (white)
  • Votive candles (battery operated)
  • Food Containers
  • Water/Beverage
  • Trash Bags (for trash and dirty dishes) 
  • 1 Sharp Knife (if needed for your food)
  • Paper Towels (for clean up)
  • Wet Wipes/Antibacterial Wash
  • Bottle Opener
  • Ice Packs
  • Rolling Cart

STEP 5 - DAY OF

DAY OF - On the day of, bring your confirmation letter and your Photo ID, they will check.  Make sure you have on the appropriate apparel. IF IT"S NOT WITHIN THE GUIDELINES, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE.  WHITE APPAREL, NO BEIGE, NO TAUPE.  These rules are strictly enforced.

You will depart from your designated location and transported by bus to the secret location.  After you arrive, your Table Leader will guide you to your designated dining area.  You begin to set-up your table and after a certain amount of time, everyone will wave their white napkin in the air signaling Diner en Blanc has begun. 

I hope this post was helpful and I look forward to seeing you at Diner En Blanc Houston.

Bon Jour!

 

NOTE:  This editorial is not affiliated with or sponsored by Diner en Blanc.  All opinions are my own from my personal experience with attending Diner en Blanc in Houston

EGG-treme Decorating

Here comes Peter Cottontail....with a basket full of stylish Easter eggs!

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Our friends at Evite, where they believe “Life’s Better Together”, has asked their Influencer Network to share our memories and ideas on gathering with family during Easter.

My fondest memories of Easter is dying eggs with my sister, my mom and my grandmother. Going to the drug store to get the decorating kits has been quoted, by me and my sister as "the best day ever", LOL! 

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{Click here for classic egg dying recipe}

Why not turn this great family pastime into a party! Invite friends over, serve up some sassy appetizers, pop open your favorite wines and let the decorating commence! 

To get the word out, I created an invitation with Evite's "Design Your Own Invitation" feature.  This feature allows you to insert your own pic to get your guests "egg-cited" about the fun they are about to "egg-perience". Ok, I promise, no more egg puns. 😉

Evite-Card

If you don't think you can eat 3 dozen eggs :), dress up your lovelies in an egg carton wrapped in clear paper or sheets of tissue paper, tie it up with a fancy ribbon, attach a tag and give as gifts to your neighbors and friends.  You can also use baskets stuffed with straw, plastic egg cartons, boxes...whatever lights up your bulb.{smile}

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Not in the mood to cook eggs because you may not be able to eat them all (lol),  feel free to venture off and use wood or plastic products shaped like eggs.  These items can be reused again for next year or put on display as your own original art collection. 

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This Easter, take your eggs one step further with different decorating techniques.  Step outside-the-box and create unique designs using acrylic paint, decoupage, glitter, chalkboard paint, markers, stickers, crayons, pencils, stencils, watercolors and Kool-Aid.  

Decorating eggs are easy and inexpensive to create.  You can get supplies from the supermarket, craft store or your pantry.

Here's a few of our favorites from across the web:

Domestifluff-sparkledotegg
Domestifluff
ED_angrybirdeggs
Angry Birds
HeyJenRenee-koolaideggs
Kool-Eggs (dyed with Kool-Aid
AndPuppyMakesThree-plaidegg
And Puppy Make Three
Claudine Gervais-chalkboard eggs

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This post was a partnership with Evite. I was compensated by Evite for my time in developing this post. All opinions are my own.

Evite

Entertaining with Style: 4th of July

Red, White & Ooooo!

Row of patriotic cupcakes with sprinkles and American flagsThe 4th of July is one of my favorite summer celebrations and it's easy to design. You already know color scheme, all you have to do is add a lotta style!.  And there is no such thing as over-kill!   It's all about love and freedom! 

We surfed the internet and found a few tabletop designs we thought represented Independence Day with style!  Check out a few of our internet favorites:

Place Setting by Party Elements
Place Setting by Party Elements

 

Hostess With The Mostess
Hostess With The Mostess

 

Anders Ruff
Anders Ruff

 

Between Naps On The Porch
Between Naps On The Porch

 

Party City
Party City

 

Kara's Party Ideas
Kara's Party Ideas

Using Clear Vases and Containers for Simple Centerpiece Designs

85077faf98800b8264cdae737c9bb6a5Decorating with clear containers is a simple, yet elegant way to create a fabulous centerpiece designs.

Using fruit, such as lemons, limes or oranges, in a clear vase helps stabilize tall arrangements and adds color and texture to the mix.  

Select a clear glass vase and add a pillar or floating candle. Choose décor filler, such as sand, rocks or glass pebbles, that will complement your design.

 

 

 

 

Pier 1 Imports Tasting Party Collection with Michelle Karam

Professional Chef Michelle Karam of www.DishesByMichelle.com introduces the Pier 1 Imports Tasting Party Collection.

Presented by Pier 1 Imports. To learn more about the Pier 1 Imports Tasting Party Collection visit www.Pier1.com

Pier 1 Imports Tasting Party Collection with Michelle Karam