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