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Paris Meets L.A.: Diner En Blanc 2015

“The fondest memories are made when gathered around the table.” 

~Author Unknown

 

We were in a panic.

The event date came out two and a half weeks before the dinner. Our registration was a mere week before the dinner. And we got in. And promptly panicked.

Diner en Blanc, an annual tradition that started in Paris, is shrouded in mystery. Thousands gather for a giant pop-up picnic at a secret location not disclosed until you are on the bus to the event.

Needless to say, I was intrigued. And needless to say, we were strapped for time. We had to rent tables, find pullies (because the table and chairs were heavy), get our all-white outfits together, figure out accessories, and figure out the food. Not to mention the rest of life that continued occurring with no regard for our time crunch. My friend Tyra (yep, two Tyras) and I scrambled to get our lives together in time. And by the day of the event, we were both kind of over it. All of this trouble for a dinner… Was it really worth it? We figured no, but we would go along for the ride.

We were totally wrong.

It was thoroughly mesmerizing. Our expectations were far exceeded. By partway through the night we were already planning our attack for next year. Not to mention the night ended with a full-fledged dance party. But let me back up.

 

The Mystery Location

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At the beginning of the night, you have no idea where you are going. There are several meet-up points throughout the city, where you board coach buses to be taken to a secret location. Because some on our bus wanted to be surprised, our leader didn’t disclose the location. So we spent the better portion of the hour-long bus ride (thanks LA traffic) guessing. LA’s location: Pershing Square.

BarrisTourista-Pershing Square Diner en Blanc Los Angeles 2015 BarrisTourista-Pershing Square night Los Angeles Diner en Blanc 2015

 

I would have chosen a different downtown location, like the Walt Disney Concert Hall, but as it turned out Pershing Square worked. The Square, under the skyscrapers and the night lights was magical. And the sea of white was amazing to see.

 

The Scene… And the Centerpieces Barristourista diner en blanc los angeles 2015

Thousands came out for the event and it was truly a sea of white. So the premise is communal style dining, with uniformly sized tables set them side-by-side to create rows of diners. But the tables aren’t provided. Guests have to lug their own tables, two white chairs, tablecloths, centerpieces, and food to the event. And manage to set all of that up in all white. But before that, you have to get it all loaded up in your pully/hamper/handtruck/cooler and get it on to the bus. It was madness. I can admit I threw up a few prayers that I wouldn’t be soiled before I even made it to dinner. My advice: Get an insulated picnic basket and a white clothes hamper on wheels (genius idea I wish I had thought of), a pully for your table and chairs, or a table in a bag.

Need Diner en Blanc supplies? Check out the special Diner en Blanc category my Amazon store for all the equipment you need!

 

BarrisTourista-Diner en Blanc Los Angeles 2015 Peacock centerpiece BarrisTourista-Diner en Blanc Los Angeles 2015 centerpiece fish

 

But once the tables were set up, it was magical to see. Rows and rows of white. And the centerpieces were insane. From mini Eiffel Towers to flowers to goldfish to 4-foot-tall peacocks, people took their centerpieces seriously. In our attempt to just make it to the party, we didn’t even have a centerpiece. Again, we were just happy to get ourselves there. But we know for next time.

 

The Outfits

BarrisTourista-Diner en Blanc Los Angeles 2015 Headpiece BarrisTourista-Diner en Blanc Los Angeles 2015

All white everything is what it’s supposed to be. White clothes, white shoes, with maybe a touch of silver for accessories. In true LA fashion, there was some definite extravagance. Like see-through, lace dresses. And headpieces. LA came dressed to impress.

BarrisTourista- Diner en Blanc Los Angeles 2015 Tyra

BarrisTourista-Diner en Blanc Los Angeles 2015 headpiece

My outfit consisted of white sandals (flats, because you must know thyself), white linen pants and a Moroccan-inspired sheer tunic-like shirt with silver accents. And to set it off, I adorned my twists with a white and silver crystal headpiece. (Get a similar look here.) The outfit was comfy and cool, given that it was 100 degrees earlier in the day. Even with a thin lining, the linen pants were very movable.

 

The Food

BarrisTourista-Diner en Blanc Los Angeles 2015 cheese and fruit

People also did it up big time with the food. Again, we were just happy to be there. We had some delicious salads, and my buddy Tyra put together a cheese and cracker plate with fresh fruit for our first course.

BarrisTourista-Diner en Blanc Los Angeles 2015 appetizers BarrisTourista-Diner en Blanc Los Angeles 2015 dessert

We were clearly the amateurs. These people take their Diner en Blanc seriously! Our new friends Debbie and Corey had a 5-course, homemade meal, complete with garnish and mugs with their names on it. Five courses! And to our other side was a chef who put together a cheese, and olive spread that would rival the finest Italian restaurants. Next year, we too shall have courses!

 

The Fun & Fellowship

BarrisTourista-Diner en Blanc Los Angeles 2015 tyra BarrisTourista- Diner en Blanc Los Angeles 2015 tyra

Before we got to the bus pickup, we had NO IDEA it would be a dance party. Thousands of people vibing to Latin-inspired music and dance hits. And there was a live violinist playing an electric violin along with top hits. It was magical.

Everyone let loose. People took photos, including us, as we did a mini photo shoot. People sweat. It was unavoidable given the dancing and the heat that still loomed. We drank, we sang, we danced, and we were merry. And four hours later, we packed up and hopped the bus back to the depot. Some stayed on for the after party at a secret location nearby.

All in all, it was a magical, enchanting, and lively night. We had a blast. And we will be back next year… definitely more prepared. I highly recommend going if you have the chance. We met some awesome new people and are looking forward to next year already!

BarrisTourista- Diner en Blanc Los Angeles 2015 two tyras

Heading to Le Diner en Blanc in Your City: How You Should Do It

  1. Buy a table in a bag: The hardest part of the event was the setup and take down of the table, along with loading and unloading it onto the bus. Some friends used the Tall Aluminum Table in a Bag because it rolled up and made for super easy transport. You can also purchase the chairs that Diner en Blanc recommended on Amazon. But if you do rent your table, get a pully/hand truck to secure it in place. And don’t forget to get extra bungee cords because the one that comes with the pully IS NOT ENOUGH.
  1. Get a white hamper to put your food, linens, centerpieces, whatever, in. This was a genius idea that we saw and we will be employing next year.
  1. Get a beautiful headpiece. Many women had head adornments of some sort to set off their outfits. It definitely made me feel more elegant.
  1. Wear comfy shoes. We got lucky and didn’t have to walk, but they stated that we may have to walk up to 15 minutes to the location. So even if you change, make sure to have some walking shoes that you can drag things in while making your way to the destination.
  1. The picnic basket doesn’t have to be white (at least in LA), but it’s a nice touch. Our basket was silver and was insulated for hot and cold food. And it had flatware, plates, and a corkscrew included. There is also a backpack version of my basket that was pretty cool and allowed you to free up your hands for other items. But you cannot bring the cups and napkins that are included in the kit, as plastic cups are prohibited.
  1. And finally… Check out my Amazon store, where you can get numerous items all in one place…and with Prime shipping! Click here!

Main photo and daytime crowd photo credits by Tyra Donatto

 

(This post contains affiliate links that allow me to make a small profit from purchases through the links.)

barristourista

I am a lawyer. I am a journalist. I am a writer. I am a photographer. And I love to travel.

36 comments on “Paris Meets L.A.: Diner En Blanc 2015”

  1. Look at the decor beautiful. I am so scared of white everytime I wear it…something happens. I stopped because I fear it so much but everyone looks so beautiful.

    1. Kita, I am the same way! I don’t wear white because I stay dropping things on myself. But I actually managed to get through the whole evening with no accidents. It was a minor miracle LOL

    1. Mia, Charlotte does appear as though it will be having one this year, but the date hasn’t yet been released. You want to go to their website and get on the waiting list ASAP so you can get an email about signup. You must be on the waiting list in order to sign up when the time comes (there will be a set buy in time and date). Good luck! And if you do get in, shop my Diner en Blanc store: http://astore.amazon.com/barrist04-20?_encoding=UTF8&node=12. 🙂

    1. Miami will be so amazing since it is already a very white-clothing city LOL. Check out the Diner en Blanc section of my Amazon store: http://astore.amazon.com/barrist04-20?_encoding=UTF8&node=12 . It has so many things you need to make the event easier, especially in that Miami heat and humidity. And I seriously saw so many amazing ideas that I wish I had thought of before the event that I had to include them in the store (paying it forward)!

    1. Girl not the subway! Lord have mercy! And in all white… no!!! Then how did they keep the location a secret? Yes, I learned a lot and before the night was even over we were discussing ways to do it better next year LOL.

  2. I mentioned on Twitter, but my girlfriend went to the one in DC (didn’t know there were other locations). I believe this was their second year going. I never understood the magnitude or what it was about so thank you for this detailed post. It sounds like a lot of work, but worth it in the end 🙂

  3. EVERY YEAR I tell myself I’m going to attend tis attend when it comes to Chicago and every year something comes up. It’s definitely on my bucket list, hopefully this year I can attend <3

  4. Well WOW! LOL I am half amused, half impressed, and half thinking you are all some crazy people haha please don’t be offended. I am seriously thinking I would pass out from exhaustion half way through! I mean so much work to go out to eat right? I guess the atmosphere and meeting so many people would be cool but its also sort of like the culling or zombie squad with everyone dressing the same, I’m thinking cult like stuff LOL but in all seriousness – I am impressed you went for it, and it amazes me people are SO organized to bring their own centerpieces! WOW!
    Nothing like this here in the sticks where I live but I guess us Kansans do throw some pretty amazing BBQ’s haha.

  5. That is pretty much the coolest thing ever! I have never heard of anything like this, but I wish they did one in Boston – I wan to go!

  6. Wow! I love that you are all dressed in white and that its a secret until you get on the bus! What an amazing event to be apart of! I would this was so cool!!!

  7. What a fun event. I’d love to do that one day. It would be so cool to not know where you’re going and be on a bus all with people in the same boat.

  8. It looks like a lot of people participated in this event, and it’s impressive that they all carried along tables, chairs, etc to the same place – all dressed in white. That white peacock centerpiece is so beautiful.

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