4
Oct
2016
Welcome to Diner en Blanc Dallas 2016 (Photo by Carissa Byers Photography)

Dîner En Blanc

Welcome to the world's most elegant all white picnic at Diner en Blanc (Photo courtesy of Carissa Byers Photography)

Welcome to the world’s most elegant all-in-white picnic at Diner en Blanc (Photo courtesy of Carissa Byers Photography)

After weeks of anticipation, the most sought after secret event, Le Dîner en Blanc finally arrived. Pedestrians walking near the Dallas City Hall last Friday evening, stood agape to witness an intriguing scene unfold.

This passerby is probably wondering what's going on at Dallas City Hall as I take a selfie with a Diner en Blanc Glamazon (photo by Carissa Byers Photography)

This passerby is probably wondering what’s going on at Dallas City Hall as I take a selfie with a Diner en Blanc Glamazon (photo by Carissa Byers Photography)

Busloads of people clad in pristine white, holding white tables and chairs and baskets of food started arriving at the Dallas City Hall. 2300 people transformed the dull concrete courtyard of the Dallas City Hall into an ethereal procession of picnicking angels. Welcome to the second Annual Le Dîner en Blanc!

Parisian table setting is an ode to the origins of Diner en Blanc.

Parisian table setting is an ode to the origins of Diner en Blanc.

Le Dîner en Blanc is a secret epicurean gathering which originated in Paris in 1988 as a simple gathering of friends. After a stint overseas, founder Francois Pasquier, invited friends to a dinner party at Bois de Boulogne, a popular public park in Paris. Everyone was encouraged to bring a friend and to wear all white in order to recognize each other. The tradition has lasted over thirty years and has turned into a global phenomenon. (Watch the whole event play out in the video below)

Le Dîner en Blanc International, run by Pasquier’s son, Aymeric and partner Sandy Safi spans over 60 cities across the globe. There are several rules to adhere by; dress in white from head-to-toe, BYO white tables and chairs, gourmet picnic dinner and be respectful to the city’s public spaces. Guests are told to congregate at meeting point where buses await to escort them to a secret locale.

Beautiful table settings at Diner En Blanc (photo by Carissa Byers Photography)

Beautiful table settings at Diner En Blanc (photo by Carissa Byers Photography)

Upon arrival, the guests worked fastidiously lining up their tables and chairs in family-style communal lines. Elaborate table settings from flowers to artful sculptures held centerpiece over the white tablecloths.

 

Waving the napkin with 2000 people was a beautiful sight to see at Diner en Blanc (photo by Carissa Byers Photography)

Waving the napkin with 2000 people was a beautiful sight to see at Diner en Blanc (photo by Carissa Byers Photography)

In true Dîner en Blanc style, the event official began with a signature wave of our souvenir Southwest Airlines Dîner en Blanc napkin. Imagine, 2300 people dressed in white, waving in unison, turning this government building courtyard into a sea of fluttering, butterfly wings. Magical!

r en Blanc attendees (photo by Carissa Byers Photography)

Diner en Blanc attendees (photo by Carissa Byers Photography)

Diner en Blanc Dallas is hosted by three local meeting and event planners: Karen Raehpour (Just Show Up! Meetings and Events), Rachael Kissel (RK Meetings and Events), and Marti Fox (Global Goals, Inc). The trio were also responsible for the inaugural Dîner en Blanc Dallas which was held on the Continental Avenue Pedestrian Bridge last year.
Gorgeous costumes everywhere at Diner en Blanc (photo by Carissa Byers Photography)

Gorgeous costumes everywhere at Diner en Blanc (photo by Carissa Byers Photography)

The people watching was the most interesting aspect. The care people went to with their handcrafted costumes made them look like sculptural pieces themselves. Some were decked out in wigs, fascinators, a variety of hats and a Parisian parasol or two. Anything goes as long as it’s tres chic.
Bubbles from Moet Chandon at Diner en Blanc (photo by Carissa Byers Photography)

Bubbles from Moet Chandon at Diner en Blanc (photo by Carissa Byers Photography)

And the same held true with the food they brought, some plated like restaurant dishes.The wine and champagne flowed freely as did the conversation with strangers sitting around you. It was truly like performance art with each person having their own unique role.
Dancing at Diner en Blanc (photo by Carissa Byers Photography)

Dancing at Diner en Blanc (photo by Carissa Byers Photography)

We enjoyed jazz music from The Hip Van Winkles band and then dancing began after dinner when DJ took over the dance floor.

 

The Southwest Airlines booth was so much fun making a slow motion video (photo by Carissa Byers Photography)

The Southwest Airlines booth was so much fun making a slow motion video (photo by Carissa Byers Photography)

Sponsor booths added more fun to the night. Southwest Airlines was my personal favorite where we got to make a fun short video in slow motion. Lots of people were giddy with excitement. Or maybe it was a couple of glasses of  Apothic wine, who have taken on the role of official wine sponsor for all the US Le Dîner en Blanc series.

 

Fireworks to end a wonderful Diner en Blanc event (photo by Carissa Byers Photography)

Fireworks to end a wonderful Diner en Blanc event (photo by Carissa Byers Photography)

DFW Mercedes-Benz Dealers  to the glam as they allowed guests to hop in a luxe ride and were treated by stars by the photographers. The finale ended with a spectacular Pyrotex fireworks show. And for those who didn’t turn into a pumpkin at midnight, OMNI Dallas hosted Le Dîner en Blanc’s after party. If we didn’t have kids to go home to, we would have booked a night there!

Party people at Diner en Blanc (photo by Carissa Byers Photography)

Party people at Diner en Blanc (photo by Carissa Byers Photography)

Witnessing all this made me realize that Le Dîner en Blanc goes beyond a secret soiree. It is a whole experience of community and friendship. All the hours of thought and preparation that went to the menu and the fashion were incredible. And the reward of everyone gathering together for the same purpose was incredibly heartfelt.

View from the other side of Diner en Blanc (photo by Carissa Byers Photography)

View from the other side of Diner en Blanc (photo by Carissa Byers Photography)

If you’d like to attend the next one, sign up now at Le Dîner en Blanc. Tickets are handed out in tiers. “One of the best parts about buying tickets to a Diner en Blanc event in any city is becoming a member, and with that automatically getting an invitation the following year, explains Rachael Kissel, co-host of Diner en Blanc Dallas. Co-host Marti Fox adds “Members receive their invitations as part of Phase 1 plus they also get the option to refer a friend, colleague, family member who may have a chance to purchase tickets during Phase 2”. Phase 3 then opens up to those who sign up on a first come first served basis. This year’s event sold out within an hour to 2300 lucky people. Guidelive reported 10,000 others were on the waiting list.

Till then, À bientôt!

All photos and video courtesy of Carissa Byers, an incredible talent and wonderful friend. Book her for your portraits because she makes everything beautiful. 

 

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