The buzz came in waves: Picnic dinner party. All white. Dancing. Wine. Surprise location. I was intrigued, and I needed to know more. But the secrets Dîner en Blanc keep are all part of the equation . . . the very fabulous, glamorous, unique equation.
To cure my curiosity, I got a chance to chat with Natanya DiBona, Dîner en Blanc (DEB) Philadelphia’s Co-Host, about the whitest event of the season. Turns out, curiosity is what lead Natanya to DEB in the first place. When her Aunt & Uncle told her about an invite-only all-white picnic in their city of Montreal, Natanya did some research & was instantly hooked, leading her to the co-host position of DEB Philadelphia.
DEB started 25 years ago in Paris, and has since grown to over a dozen cities around the world. The goal of the event is simple: give residents a reason to celebrate the public space of their city. DEB is essentially a pop-up picnic dinner party, in that invited guests (sign up for the DEB wait list here), clad only in white, bring everything with them! That’s right: your table, chairs, linens, china, and dinner are all coming & leaving with you. That personal investment, Natanya says, is what transforms the event. Everyone brings something to the table that they’re proud of or passionate about, and the event feeds off of that.
While the location of DEB is not revealed to guests until they’re walking to the event itself on August 22nd, last year, it took place in Philly’s Logan Circle. As you can see by the pictures, the night looked magical.
For the Philly lady, DEB is a must this summer. The weeks leading up to the event, as Natanya described them, generate a serious amount of buzz and build a tremendous community among Philadelphians. The excitement she described reminded me of kids the summer before they go off to college, trading tips on where to purchase dorm room necessities and Facebook stalking potential new friends down the hall. It seems fantastic, that is, if you get a spot . . .
Because DEB takes place in a public space with restrictions, not everyone who is interested can lawfully attend. But, I’ve got the lowdown on the thee phase invite process. Invitees for each phase will get an email this month with info on the date they can register. Phase 1 tickets are first offered to all of the registered guests of last year’s DEB (AKA you signed up for you & your date on the DEB website). Phase 2 tickets are offered to suggestions or recommendations of Phase 1 attendees. And then there’s Phase 3, the wait list. Don’t let the numbers swirling around out there about the size of the wait list discourage you from signing up. It does not matter what order you put your name on the wait list, everyone on there gets the same email with the opportunity to register at the same time. So, if you have not signed up yet, do it now and wait for that email!
In order to allow room for all of the invited guests, the DEB co-hosts must account for every inch of space, so there are some pretty strict guidelines on what can & can not come with you and on you. Your table (which, remember, must be carried by you!) must be at least 28” high x 28” square, and at most 32” high by x 32” square. Your clothing must be elegant – AKA no white jeans, shorts or baseball hats. Pretty reasonable, right?
1. Since the event is BYOB, 21 & over only, please!
2. Shop early for your picnic supplies & outfit! Not only do stores start putting out their Fall stuff soon, but other DEB invitees start their shopping!
3. DEB is open to & encourages all types of pairings. Mother & daughter, Aunt & niece, neighbors, etc. You must fill in the name of your date when you officially register, but don’t worry, you can always change it later.
4. When you sign up, you’ll need to pick your Pedestrian Leader. If you’d like to sit near another table or two, make sure you all pick the same leader.
5. For my ladies who hate to cook, DEB offers some options for pre-made dinners. Visit their site for more info.
Now that I’ve given you all of the info you need to know about Dîner en Blanc, what do you think? Will you be attending? I personally can’t wait! In the final moments of our chat, Natanya told me DEB is “an event that celebrates the city.” Count me in, Philadelphia. 🙂