Life of the Party: Return of the White

The world’s largest secret dinner party returns to Washington August 29 with a very strict dress code.

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The global phenomenon secret dinner party, Diner en Blanc, attracted over 1,300 guests all wearing white.  (Photo by Ben Droz)

The global phenomenon secret dinner party, Diner en Blanc, attracted over 1,300 guests all wearing white. (Photo by )

If you happened to stroll by the Yards Park at the Capital Riverfront on a warm end-of-summer night last September you may have seen 1,500 revelers donned in head-to-toe white, dining at white picnic tables with white tableware. You probably thought three things:

1. That is a lot of white.
2. Why is there so much white?
3. How can I participate in this awesome white fest next year?

Lucky for you, Le Diner En Blanc, the world’s largest secret dinner party is returning to the District in a few weeks on Saturday August 29, where more than 2,500 fashionable guests are expected. This uber-chic picnic maintains its exclusive buzz by not revealing the secret location until minutes prior to the event, but returning co-host assures us that the hosting committee has “once again searched the city high and low to find a venue that will ‘wow,’ as well as welcome more guests.”

Launched in Paris in 1988 by and a handful of friends, Le Dîner en Blanc has become a worldwide epicurean phenomenon, but the original essence of Dîner en Blanc remains: friendship, elegance and gallantry. Dîner en Blanc Paris now attracts nearly 15,000 people each year. What was a “friends and word-of-mouth only” event has grown into an international sensation celebrated on five continents. Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Montreal, Canada, Dîner en Blanc International is responsible for developing this secret posh picnic in over 60 cities and more than 25 countries. Each event is headed by passionate local organizers who fell in love with the concept and wanted to bring it to their city, giving this rendezvous a local flair.

To maintain the uniqueness of Dîner en Blanc while staying true to tradition, guests must observe certain requirements and follow a few key rules:

  • Previous guests are automatically invited, or a registered member from the previous year may invite a new member. You may also get on waiting list via the official website, where tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Thursday, August 6.
  • Once confirmed, each guest’s participation becomes mandatory regardless of weather conditions. This is a rain or shine event.
  • The dress code is elegant and white only. Originality is encouraged as long as it is stylish and tasteful.
  • Table settings must be all white.
  • To ensure that the location is kept undisclosed until the last minute, guests meet at assigned departure locations and are escorted by Dîner en Blanc volunteer.
  • In order to leave the event location as clean as when they arrived, guests are required to leave with all their belongings, leftovers and litter.
  • Guests must bring: a table, two white chairs, white tablecloth, picnic basket comprising fine food, proper stemware and white dinnerware and champagne or wine. 
  • Beer and hard liquor are prohibited.

The event is sponsored by Apothic Wine, Celebrity Cruises and Lanson Champagne White Label Sec.

See a full photo gallery from last year’s festivities here

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