Much to my delight, I had the privilege of attending my first ever Diner en Blanc last week here in San Diego. I was left in awe of the beauty, spectacle and camaraderie I experienced that night. After trying for years to snag a coveted invite, I finally got my chance this year and my husband and I were thrilled! I found myself doing a ton of Google searching as soon as I confirmed my registration. What do we wear? What do we bring? What expectations should I have of the event? I’m going to do my very best to answer all of these questions and more for those of you who may be heading to your first Diner en Blanc event soon! I’ll also share some of the photos I took at Diner en Blanc San Diego on October 15, 2015.
How Do I Get Invited to Diner en Blanc?
Ah, yes. The million dollar question. There are a few ways to get yourself a spot at a white folding table amongst thousands of your city’s loveliest people. One of the ways, and the way I got in, is to put yourself on the Diner en Blanc waiting list. There are no guarantees, and I personally waited a couple of years before my name was finally drawn in the Diner en Blanc lottery, but it’s often your only chance! It is my understanding that there were about 11,000 people on this year’s list for San Diego, and just over 2,000 people were invited to actually attend.
Another possible way to attend would be to know someone who is a registered member who is willing to “sponsor” you. This might be a longshot since members each only get to sponsor one person and most people have probably already utilized their sponsorship opportunity. Before you ask, I have already used up my sponsor spot! Once you attend, you can also become a member and then choose your one person to sponsor (who then can attend next time and also bring a guest). Your last option? Well, find someone who needs a date to Diner en Blanc of course!
What Do I Wear to Diner en Blanc?
Let’s keep this one simple. Wear white. Not cream, not off-white, not nude, not silver. WHITE! Skip the dress with black stripes, forget the nude pumps, ditch your colorful statement necklaces. Buy white dresses, white shoes, white hair accessories, white jewelry, everything must be white! Though many people go rather casual, I would recommend getting dressed up, maybe even wear something a bit bizarre if you can, it makes it all the more fun! We saw light up shoes, a lot of masks, angel wings, you name it.
Being the Amazon addict that I am, I pretty much bought everything on there. I have young kids and driving around store hopping isn’t really an option, so I made good use of my Prime Membership! Amazon Fashion has some great options for everything you and your date should need, no matter your budget. If you prefer shopping in person, try to find your clothes during the spring or summer, there wasn’t much left leading up to the October 15th event here in San Diego thanks to that “no white after Labor Day” rule! For more details on exactly what I purchased, see my shopping guide below.
What Do I Bring to Diner en Blanc?
There are of course the basics that you’ll need to bring, a table, white chairs, white tablecloth, white napkins, glassware, silverware, table decor, food, wine, water, corkscrew, trash bags and candles or lighting of some sort. You might also want things like an umbrella in case it rains (white or clear), some baby wipes or towels for spills and cleaning dishes after, a white sweater (for the ladies in dresses), and of course a dolly or rolling cart of some sort to carry everything in. If you end up in a pedestrian group like we did (which is likely your first time attending), then you may end up walking quite a distance. We had to walk from the Seaport Village trolley stop down through Seaport Village and out to the Embarcadero Marina Park. It was about a 15 minute walk and we were SO thankful we had prepared for it.
Also, if in a pedestrian group, don’t forget comfy shoes for the walk. You can change into your fancy shoes once you arrive on site. When shopping for table decor, have some fun with it! We regretted being so basic and just throwing ostrich feathers in a white vase and bringing a few candles and other small white decor.
We saw some amazing table displays and loved what they added to the ambiance of the event. Get creative! Of course, you need to be able to cart it all in, so do keep that in mind. The hanging umbrellas on the top right of the picture below were a crowd favorite. They were nowhere near where we were seated, but everyone around us was talking about them!
Diner en Blanc Shopping Guide
In case you need a little bit of guidance with your shopping, my shopping guide below contains links to everything you should need for a successful and fun Diner en Blanc experience. Obviously, you probably won’t want the same exact dress as me, but things like the chairs and folding hand truck/dolly are definite must haves! I shopped around for good prices so you can save some time if you decide to go with the same items!