Getting Ready for Dîner en Blanc

What you need to know before attending this special event.

10628309_745554525506176_6983613751679512920_nIf you’re one of the lucky guests attending Dîner en Blanc in Vancouver, you’re in for a treat. It is a magical evening, but getting ready for this event can be a lot of work! The key to enjoying the Dîner en Blanc experience is to be prepared.

From finding the perfect outfit, to the hunt for chairs and a table, to packing everything properly so you can carry it to the secret venue, there is definitely a lot to consider. We asked a few Dîner en Blanc veterans for their tips.


Kate MacDougall – Publicist for Dîner en Blanc Vancouver
For me, finding the right outfit is key. Not only do you want an outfit suited to transporting your picnic, table, chairs and settings, you want to look and feel great for this magical event. Start the search now before all the whites are gone! Lots of local boutiques have great sales on one-of-a-kind pieces right now. And, speaking from experience, bring extra sparklers.


Christie Lohr – Style Nine to Five
Do something fun with your hair! I did a mini side braid last year, and the year before I wore a white fascinator. Have a TON of fun with your outfit. We rarely get to go all out in Vancouver, so here’s your chance!

10563019_738145506247078_3424752494787029677_nStyle Calling Tip
Get organized early, especially with the ‘Must Have’ items, like your table and chairs. These will be difficult, if not impossible to find the week of the event.

598345_537349779659986_1218719233_nMichelle Morton – Freelance Journalist
Dîner en Blanc is an evening when magic comes alive, so wear something you’ve always dreamed of! This Parisian event is an opportunity to dress up and have fun with fashion. This year I am not looking at trends, but inspiration from the enchantment, the ‘je ne sais quoi’ in the air. Romantic pieces such as lace, bohemian silhouettes and florals are beautiful options to play with, but don’t be shy to top off your look with an eccentric piece such as a fascinator, or body chains if you want more edge.

Style Calling Diner en BlancSteven Schelling – Publicist for Dîner en Blanc Vancouver
In my experience, putting together an all-white outfit is a breeze. The tough part is sourcing white chairs. The table is easy because as long as it’s to regulation size (between 28” and 30” square), it can be covered with a white tablecloth. But the chairs require some prior planning, unless you want to be spray painting folding chairs from the Salvation Army the night before — and I certainly don’t want to be doing that. Ikea is a great one-stop shop for the chairs as long as you go early. Last year, they were completely sold out 2 weeks before Dîner. Check out the NisseTerje and Mälarö


Ladies – you have no idea where Dîner will take place. Keep that in mind for your shoe choices. Last year, we were on grass in David Lam Park. The poor women in stilettos were tipping, bobbing and weaving all night, even before they started in on the Champagne. Flats or wedges. Trust.

Style Calling Tip
Make a group effort! If you’re sitting with friends, divide and conquer the list of things you need to bring. One person brings the plates, cutlery and glassware, another person brings the flowers, table cloth and cloth napkins (which is a MUST for the napkin wave) This will make packing everything a lot easier.

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If you plan to go every year, best to buy a small portable table that you can reuse instead of renting. If you do need to rent, a&b rentals has a great selection. Make sure to have a mini trolly and picnic basket for your food and utensils. I found some great deals at home sense this year that would be perfect and the summer selection is full of non-breakable items in white or clear.

Vancouver B.C.  August 21, 2014 Hundreds of Diner en Blanc dressed in their finest white's to take part in the exquisite gathering on a spectacular evening in  David Lam park in Vancouver on August 20, 2014.  The annual traditional was originally started in Paris, and is now a big success.    Mark van Manen/PNG Staff  Photographer    see Mia Stainsby Vancouver Sun /Province News  and WEB    00031251A [PNG Merlin Archive]Laura McIntosh – Social Media for Dîner En Blanc Vancouver
Wear what you’re most comfortable in, but inject your creativity. Standing out in a sea of white can be hard, but if you focus on the details that make your outfit unique, you’ll be able to amplify those and distinguish yourself from the crowd.

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Dîner en Blanc is a feast for the eyes. Make sure you take time to walk around and visit other tables after dinner. It’s so fun to see what guests have created. You’re also bound to see other familiar faces, so be sure to bring your phone to take photos!

Think through your shoe choice! Carrying everything to the surprise location in stilettos is impossible. 
My advice? Wear your flats, then change into your party shoes when you have arrived and settled in.

11219102_913700948691532_674309019665716266_nStyle Calling Tip
Arriving at Dîner en Blanc is exciting, but there’s a lot to set up. Have a game plan for when you arrive so you can set up your table quickly and effortlessly.  If you buy a new table or chairs make sure you know how to set them up. You don’t want to realize at the event that you need an Allen key to put your chairs together!! (Oh Ikea…)

DeB_2014_Tys and JordanTyson Villeneuve – Dîner en Blanc Organizer
My best advice would be to be your most creative self! In addition to that, make sure you explore the entire secret location space when you’re there, and meet new people while you’re at it.

11825620_928920793836214_310826133204137583_nJamie Malloy – Table Leader
White, white white! If you only have a black table, you have a white table cloth around. If you only have a red basket, you have a white bag or sheet to cover it. Everything must be white.

10639447_10152724296175530_1967846021692579222_nCrystal Carson – Stylist and Table Leader
I think Dîner En Blanc is the perfect time to relive your 1980’s fantasy movie costume. Repurpose your best friend’s wedding dress, add whimsical accessories to a simple white dress. Just like the event you want to look magical, so think ethereal and out of this world.

10463046_928920767169550_3258898928548610881_nStyle Calling Tip
Get creative with your table design. A centre piece is a must!  Last year we brought a bouquet of white hydrangeas and placed white grapes and vanilla cupcakes from Sweet Bake Shop around it. Every year guests go all out to make their tables look unique and beautiful.

Viranlly Liemena
For the gents, find a summer friendly fabric like linen and cotton-linen blend, they will keep you cool! Just because it’s the summer, that doesn’t mean you can be sloppy. It’s a chic dinner after all.

10563019_738145506247078_3424752494787029677_nJennifer Pistor – Style Blogger
Be sure to add texture to your outfit.  A dress with lace or some well appointed accessories can add a lot more interest to an all white ensemble.  Don’t be afraid to add a bit of whimsy with metallic temporary tattoos or a floral crown too.

IMG_5437Jordan Kallman – Dîner en Blanc Organizer
Go further on the contribution scale then you ever have before – Whatever you think is normal, go further. Contribute more than you’re taking out of the event.

10672360_748453818549580_4452633031394705442_nStyle Calling Tip
Dîner en Blanc is all about the experience, and the dinner portion plays an important part! If you’re sitting with friends, why not share a meal? Don’t forget dessert! Macarons would be perfect.

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When it comes to accessories and smaller white pieces, investment items are a great option. Consider buying white garments that you can wear in the fall and over the holiday season. White is always super chic, and with all the summer sales, white is a great option as an investment piece.

10389137_10152264098306048_1658381994758569371_nNadia Albano – Beauty Expert
Wear self tanner! – I find that I look and feel better with bronzed skin, especially when I’m wearing white!  Invest in a great self tanner (my favorite is St.Tropez) to create that “just got off the plane” glow.

1175523_558747500853547_1048314268_nElsa Corsi
There is nothing stylish about a forest fire! Choose battery operated candles for your table so they stay lit all night.

1150997_562309917163972_2026109482_n-1Style Calling Tip
When the sun sets, be sure to clean up your table. Don’t pack up until the end of the night, but put away any uneaten food and garbage before it gets too dark. Towards the end of the evening, everyone will be dancing, mingling and getting ready for the finale, the sparklers!  You don’t want to be scrambling at the end of the night, trying to pack up in the dark. 
When everyone is ready to depart the location, ensure your group can pack up quickly, and not leave anything behind.

Dîner en Blanc is taking place Tuesday, 25 August 2015
Do you have a Dîner en Blanc tip? Share it in the comments below

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Images courtesy of Dîner en Blanc